8 unmissable highlights at Cheltenham Music Festival

Cheltenham Music Festival combines magnificent venues with incredible in-person performances across a number of genres – celebrating its 77th year in 2021.

By Zoe Gater  |  Published
Some phenomenal performances will take place at Cheltenham Music Festival 2021.
Some phenomenal performances will take place at Cheltenham Music Festival 2021.

Promising 10 days of high-calibre artists, grand symphonies and rousing choral performances, Cheltenham Music Festival is an audible smorgasbord of delights.

Cheltenham Music Festival will take place from Friday 2 to Sunday 11 July 2021, celebrating its 77th anniversary and featuring a number of exciting guests, the festival also offers a stellar free line-up too.

While it’s been tough whittling down this year’s sensational line-up, SoGlos has rounded up eight of our unmissable highlights from 2021’s Cheltenham Music Festival – with tickets on sale now.

1. Classical Mixtape at Cheltenham Music Festival 2021

A unique highlight of this year’s Cheltenham Music Festival 2021, expect a magical evening of music at Classical Mixtape in the majestic Gloucester Cathedral, taking place on Monday 5 July from 8.30pm until 9.45pm – with tickets costing from just £3.

Sponsored by SoGlos, the wonderful sounds from The Chapel Choir of Merton College Oxford will explore the theme of remembrance and re-emergence through music from across the ages.

There won’t be seating in the venue, but there are rugs on the floor and visitors are welcome to bring along their own bean bags, yoga mats and cushions to relax on whilst soaking up the classical music performances.

Classical Mixtape will include a tribute to the Gloucestershire Regiment’s 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Imjin River and those lost to the pandemic over the past 18 months.

2. Propeller Ensemble: Loom at Cheltenham Music Festival 2021

Presenting a phenomenal and unique performance, adventurer and barefoot long-distance runner Anna Mcnuff is helping to create a living work, evoking the essence of Gloucestershire at Cheltenham Music Festival on Tuesday 6 July 2021 at Cheltenham Town Hall.

Taking place from 7.30pm until 9.15pm, the 12-piece cross-genre collective Propeller will combine field recordings, story, improvisation, folk, electronica and baroque music to create a unique sonic experience inspired by Gloucestershire’s lakes and rivers and their impact on the lives of those who reside near them.

3. New Generation Artists at Cheltenham Music Festival 2021

Join BBC Radio 3 at Cheltenham Town Hall from Tuesday 6 July through to Friday 9 July 2021 from 1pm until 2pm each day, to hear showcase sounds from four BBC New Generation Artists.

Beginning the series of lunchtime concerts will be The Consone Quartet featuring expressive interpretations of classical and early romantic repertoire; the following day will see a stunning recital of songs by Schubert, Schumann and Faure performed by mezzo-soprano Ema Nikolovska, tenor Alessandro Fisher and pianist Sholto Kynoch.

4. Dame Sarah Connolly and Dame Imogen Cooper at Cheltenham Music Festival 2021

Taking place on Sunday 4 July 2021, the renowned Dame Sarah Connolly and celebrated pianist Dame Imogen Cooper will be performing an intimate recital of songs at the Cheltenham Music Festival.

Concert-goers will be able to enjoy a rare evening with both Dame Sarah Connolly’s outstanding mezzo soprano, revered by audiences across the globe, as well as beautiful piano from Dame Imogen Cooper, who is regarded as one of the finest interpreters of classical and romantic repertoire.

5. Steven Osborne at Cheltenham Music Festival 2021

Renowned for being one of the greatest pianists of his generation, Steven Osborne will pay homage to the first impressionist composer Claude Debussy, amongst the most important composers of the early 20th century.

The performance will be happening on Saturday 3 July 2021 at Cheltenham Town Hall and feature pieces such as ‘Danse Bohemienne’, ‘Mazurka’ and ‘Deux Arabesques’, amongst other beautifully insightful playings.

6. La Serenissima at Cheltenham Music Festival 2021

Performing at Cheltenham Town Hall on Wednesday 7 July 2021, join the founder and director of La Serenissima (or ‘most serene’ named after Venice) Adrian Chandler and soloist Tabea Debus, for an explosion of 18th-century colour, melody and instrumental razzle dazzle.

This delightful evening of music will feature extravagant concertos by Vivaldi and his contemporaries.

7. Albion String Quartet at Cheltenham Music Festival 2021

Making their debut at Cheltenham Music Festival on Friday 9 July 2021, the Albion Quartet will present a delightful evening of string music from four musicians, all brought together by a shared belief in the visceral power of violin, viola, and cello.

This memorable performance is certain to be a Music Fest highlight and takes place at the stunning Gloucester Cathedral – featuring Haydn’s effervescent ‘Op. 20 quartet’; Freya Waley-Cohen’s ‘Snap Dragon’; as well as work from Shostakovich.

8. Awakening Shadow at Cheltenham Music Festival 2021

This year Cheltenham Music Festival will be hosting the world premiere of a dramatic new chamber opera, fusing original scenes by composer Luke Styles, combined with a complete performance of Benjamin Britten’s ‘Canticles’. This special performance takes place at Cheltenham Ladies’ College Parabola Arts Centre on Sunday 7 July 2021.

Themes of light and darkness emerge through the music at is highlights subject matters such as religious faith, sacrifice, birth, death and even humanity itself.

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