Tuesday 4 April 2023

Ryedale Festival 2023: 17 days of fine music across historic venues in North Yorkshire

Rievaulx Abbey
Rievaulx Abbey

The Ryedale Festival this year runs from 14 to 30 July 2023, with artistic director Christopher Glynn's programme presenting a remarkably rich variety of musical events across the region's historic venues. Things open with tenor Nicky Spence, Krystal Tunnicliffe piano, Ryedale Primary Choir, Ryedale Festival Community Choir and Kirkbymoorside Town Brass Band in Give to me the Life I love, community song cycle by Bernard Hughes and Hazel Gould based on RVW's Songs of Travel . Spence is one of the festival's artists in residence and he is also featured in recital with pianist Christopher Glynn in Britten's The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, and Tippett's Songs for Ariel as part of an eclectic programme including music by Quilter, Poulenc, Schubert, Purcell, Haydn, Byrd, Argento, Geoffrey Bush, Mervyn Horder, and John Dankworth. And Spence is also giving a masterclass.

Other artists in residence include organist Anna Lapwood, who gives two recitals, conducts her choir, the Choir of Pembroke College in a programme exploring how plainsong has inspired composers, and invites all to join her in open-access Come and Sing and Discover the Organ events. Also in residence is Korean violinist Bomsori Kim, and pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen.     

Visitors include countertenor Hugh Cutting, in a programme inspired by Michael A. Singer’s best-selling book The Untethered Soul, accordionist Ryan Corbett, the Mithras Trio in Mozart and Korngold, the King's Singers and Fretwork in a programme of William Byrd and Thomas Weelkes, both of whom died in 1623, violinist Roberts Balanas in a programme mixing Ravel and Arvo Pärt with his signature arrangements of Radiohead, Vulfpeck and Stevie Wonder, and the premiere of Balanas' Blurred Paths. Robert Schumann's Myrthen is explored by Harriet Burns, tenor Nick Pritchard and pianist Christopher Glynn in a programme that mixes the songs (in Jeremy Sams' new English version) with new poems by Kate Wakeling.

Anniversaries celebrate include the fact that William Byrd died the year Shakespeare's First Folio was published and there are candlelit concerts with the Ryedale Festival Consort, conductor Eamonn Dougan in Byrd's masses alongside readings from Shakespeare. Rachmaninoff's 150th is there too, with pianist Boris Giltburg.

Ryedale Festival Opera presents a pop-up production of Blow's Venus and Adonis, conducted by Eamonn Dougan, directed by Monica Nicolaides, whilst violinist Bomsori Kim joins the Orchestra of Opera North, conductor Jonathan Bloxham for a programme that includes Brahms' Violin Concerto and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4.  There is more Tchaikovsky with the Dudok Quartet performing all his quartets across three Russian-themed programmes.

The Ryedale Primary Choir is a new initiative for children aged 7-11, run by Caius Lee and launched this year in collaboration with the Richard Shephard Music Foundation. Children are having fun attending free music sessions in school holidays, where they meet and sing with professional musicians, especially Ryedale Festival Young Artists. The choir will make its festival debut by appearing on stage with The King’s Singers, having earlier worked with them in a masterclass. 

Full details from the Ryedale Festival website.

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