Thursday 3 June 2021

Cheltenham Music Festival returns for 2021 with 21 world premieres and free stage concerts

Cheltenham Music Festival
The Cheltenham Music Festival is returning to live music with a festival from 2 to 11 July 2021 which includes 21 world premieres and a number of free stage concerts. Large-scale concerts include Kirill Karabits and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and Martyn Brabbins and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Other performers include the Carice Singers, pianist Steven Osborne, mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly, cellist Matthew Barley, pianist Ivana Gavric, pianist Imogen Cooper, La Serenissima, saxophonist Jess Gillam, the Albion Quartet and 12 Ensemble.

There will be world premieres of Matthew Whittall's new choral settings of Robert Louis Stevenson's Songs of Travel, Luke Styles' new work performed alongside Britten's Canticles, plus premieres of music by Lillie Harris, Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Jonathan Woolgar, Sarah Nicolls and Maja Bugge, and a UK premiere from Alex Freeman.

The Cheltenham Composer Academy returns this year from 5-9 July. The scheme supports early-career composers (aged 18+), offering them professional advice and mentoring. This year will see 12 composers working with Daniel Kidane to workshop, perform and record their works with The Carice Singers and a chamber ensemble from Chineke!

The festival continues its partnership with the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists with four lunchtime recitals at Cheltenham Town Hall, all broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, from the Consone Quartet,  mezzo-soprano Ema Nikolovska with tenor Alessandro Fisher and pianist Sholto Kynoch,  jazz guitarist Rob Luft with his Quintet, and the Mithras Trio. Other young artists at the festival include the Maxwell Quartet who will be performing a work by Dutch composer Joey Roukens.

Celebrating the centenary of the birth of Oscar-award-winning film composer Sir Malcolm Arnold, the Festival presents two screenings of his most famous films, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness and Whistle Down the Wind, as well as including his Concerto for two violins and strings in the BBC Nagtional Orchestra of Wales concert.  

There will be two Music and Mindfulness sessions, led by composer and guitarist Will Crawford. The sessions will guide audiences through the use of music in meditation and mindfulness practices to help manage stress and aid relaxation in everyday life.  

For those wishing to enjoy the local surroundings, a guided tour takes audiences in the footsteps of Hubert Parry around the countryside of Highnam, where he grew up. Led by George Parris, Director of The Carice Singers and Parry scholar, the walk sheds light on the composer’s life, listening to his music in the very setting which inspired much of his writing.

The Free Stage mixes the Cheltenham Music Festival with the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, hosts some of the best up-and-coming performers from the worlds of classical, jazz, indie, folk, Americana and beyond.

Full details from the Cheltenham Music Festival website.

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