World's longest-running music festival hits Worcester this summer

Following the success of last year's event in Gloucester, Three Choirs Festival is travelling to Worcester this July and August 2024, bringing talented singers from across Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire to join some of the most exciting composers and musicians in classical music for a week-long celebration.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
Worcester hosts the prestigious Three Choirs Festival this year, bringing exciting composers, musicians and singers to the city. Image © James O'Driscoll.

The world’s longest-running music festival returns from Saturday 27 July to Saturday 3 August 2024, with Worcester hosting the prestigious event this year. 

The week-long celebration of classical and choral music features a line-up of internationally-renowned composers and musicians performing everything from beloved classics to brand-new commissions, with many concerts taking place at the spectacular Worcester Cathedral. 

This year's event commemorates 100 years since the death of church music composer, Charles Villiers Stanford; 150 years since the birth of Gustav Holst; and Master of the King's Music Judith Weir's 70th birthday, with special performances to mark each occasion. 

There's also a lively festival village outside the cathedral, with music from local performers on the community bandstand and the chance to see artists rehearsing at the cathedral for free, as well as street food and drinks to enjoy before and after concerts. 

Premieres and new commissions at Three Choirs Festival 2024

Image © James O'Driscoll.

Taking place on Sunday 28 July is the premiere of Nathan James Dearden's 'Messages' — a five-movement work for mezzo-soprano, choir, strings and percussion responding to 'The Cloud Messenger' by Holst, which is also being performed. Commissioned especially for Three Choirs Festival, the work is described as 'a series of choral landscapes' inspired by everything from ancient Mayan texts to the threat of nuclear war — with Judith Weir's 'Still, Glowing' and Respighi's 'The Birds' also on the bill. 

On Monday 29 July, it's the UK premiere of Sarah Kirkland Snider's 'Mass for the Endangered' performed by the Three Choirs Festival Chorus and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Drawing influences from her love of choral music from Gregorian chants to Mozart and Britten, this 'prayerful twist on the mass' promises to be a moving and poignant celebration of the natural world. The concert also features the English premiere of Cameron Biles-Liddell’s 'Yr Afon Yn Yr Awyr' — which translates from the Welsh as 'The River in the Sky' — alongside Judith Weir's 'O Sweet Spontaneous Earth' and Elgar's much-loved favourite, 'Serenade for Strings'.

Then on Thursday 1 August, it's the premiere of 'Ringed with the Azure World (Four Madrigals on Birds)' by Paul Mealor as part of 'The Angry Planet', which also features 'Lux aurumque' by Eric Whitacre, 'The Bluebird' and 'Three Motets' by Charles Villiers Stanford and 'The Angry Planet' by Bob Chilcott, all performed by the Three Cathedral Choirs. 

Unmissable concerts Three Choirs Festival 2024

Image © Mark Allan.

On Saturday 27 July, Three Choirs Festival marks 100 years since the death of Charles Villiers Stanford with a performance of some of his 'finest and most compelling music' in the 'Stabat Mater' at Worcester Cathedral, along with Grace-Evangeline Mason's enchanting 'The Imagined Forest' and Holst's 'The Hymn of Jesus'.

'Byrd Takes Flight' on Sunday 28 July features a variety of works by and inspired by Byrd performed by Corvus Consort and Music on the Edge; 'The Forgotten Scarlatti' sees the Armonico Consort perform two recently-discovered masterpieces, while Heath Quartet and GBSR duo perform new work from Luke Lewis and Joe Duddell alongside Tippett's 'String Quartet No 2' on Monday 29 July.

On Tuesday 30 July, the BBC Singers are joined by organist and TikTok sensation, Anna Lapwood, for a live recording for BBC Radio 3 of Kristina Arakelyan's 'Seascapes' interspersed with Benjamin Britten's 'Four Sea Interludes', followed by Poulenc's 'Figure humaine' and Judith Weir's 'In the Land of Uz'; and Elias String Quartet with clarinetist Robert Plane perform Brahms 'Clarinet Quintet in B minor', Haydn's 'String Quartet in G, Op 54 No 1' and the premiere of Judith Bingham's 'Clarinet Quintet' on Thursday 1 August. 

The Royal College of Organists present three recitals during the festival, with Drew Sellis performing at St Swithun's Church on Saturday 27 July; Sophia Membery performing at Great Malvern Priory on Tuesday 30 July; and Ashley Chow performing at St Martin's Church on Friday 2 August.

Saturday 3 August sees The Symphonic Brass of London perform a tribute to Holst and the composers who influenced him; then closing the festival is a spectacular rendition of Elgar's enduring favourite 'The Kingdom' at Worcester Cathedral, performed by a line-up of talented soloists, including critically-acclaimed tenor Toby Spence, with the Three Choirs Festival Chorus and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

The festival also features a series of atmospheric late-night concerts, with highlights including 'Midnight Sun' from The Carice Singers at College Hall on Saturday 27 July; the popular Lay Clerks in Concert at College Hall on Monday 29 July; organist Roger Sayer performing the music of Interstellar at Worcester Cathedral on Tuesday 30 July; the Lady Clerks returning for their second year with a performance at College Hall on Thursday 1 August; and pianist Sarah Nicolls performing a series of meditative piano pieces on her groundbreaking Inside-Out piano for 'Dreams in Flux' at College Hall on Friday 2 August 2024.

Family events at Three Choirs Festival 2024

Image © Ben Whatley.

Keeping the littlest classical music fans entertained, the Armonico Consort hosts a Family Come and Sing event on Monday 29 July, where the whole family is invited to experience Francesco Scarlatti's 'Dixit Dominus' and Vivaldi's 'Gloria' in this fun, interactive singing workshop, which is suitable for everyone with no musical experience required.

The Festival Players put on a family-friendly performance of Shakespeare's The Tempest on Tuesday 30 and Wednesday 31 July on the Old Palace Upper Lawn; 'The Blackbird and the Whale' takes children on a deep dive into the natural world using the flute, cello and piano on Wednesday 31 July; while 'Singing in the Rain' lets little ones conjure the weather using music in this workshop from the Lilliput Duo that's ideal for babies and toddlers on Friday 2 August 2024. 

For more information about any of the events, or to buy tickets to Three Choirs Festival 2024, visit


Three Choirs Festival


Worcester Cathedral, 8 College Yard, Worcester, WR1 2LA


Saturday 27 July to Saturday 3 August 2024


Times vary per event


Ticket prices vary per event


(01452) 768928

In partnership with Three Choirs Festival  |

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