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  • Festival themes of Time and 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare

  • Sir James MacMillan is Composer in Residence with performance of four world premieres

  • Focus on the late music of Beethoven

  • A production of Handel's opera Alcina in new translation by John Warrack with young cast and players from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Experience Scheme

  • World premiere of a new translation of Schubert’s Winterreise by Jeremy Sams performed by Roderick Williams and Christopher Glynn

  • Actor Jeremy Irons and the Heath Quartet perform as Artists in Residence

  • 450th anniversary of the birth of Carlo Gesualdo is marked with a performance of Breaking The Rules by The Marian Consort

  • The festival’s Associate Ensemble, Royal Northern Sinfonia, offer two orchestral programmes

  • Series of late-night concerts featuring the music of Bach by candlelight

  • Popular contrasting Triple Concert returns at Castle Howard, with two Double Concerts at Sledmere House, and a series of Coffee Concerts across the area

  • A series of literary events – Ways with Words – celebrates the work of five female writers


  • Vocal highlights include performances by Tenebrae, Voces8 and the Marian Consort

  • Period performances from Rachel Podger, Kristian Bezuidenhout, The Alehouse Boys and La Serenissima

  • A series of workshops give local musicians the chance to work with world-class visiting performers

  • Key performances from Ryedale Festival’s Young Artists’ Platform

  • Ryedale500 scheme offers tickets to help more young people explore the festival


The Ryedale Festival announces its 2016 season that runs from 15 – 31 July and boasts a range of performances including a brass band to world premieres of music by internationally renowned composer James MacMillan.

The Festival focuses on themes of time with performances of Handel’s Alcina (16 & 18 July), Jonathan Dove’s The Passing of the Year (19 July, Voces8), T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets (19, 20, 21 & 23 July, Jeremy Irons with the Heath Quartet), Vaughan Williams’s On Wenlock Edge (22 July, Joshua Ellicott, the Heath Quartet and Christopher Glynn), Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time (24 July, Chilingirian Quartet, Andrew Marriner and Ian Fountain), Takemitsu’s Seasons (25 July, Joby Burgess), Grieg’s Holberg Suite (29 July, Kaleidoscope Saxophone Quartet), Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons (29 July, La Serenissima directed by Adrian Chandler) and Haydn’s Clock Symphony (31 July, Royal Northern Sinfonia). The commemoration of the 400th anniversary since the death of William Shakespeare is marked with performances by: The Alehouse Boys entitled A Shakespearian Tavern (15 July); Lucy Beckettintroducing Shakespeare’s Comedies and Histories (15 July) and his Tragedies (22 July); a performance of Prokofiev’s Three pieces from Romeo and Juliet (16 July, Fenella Humphreys and Somi Kim); the Royal Northern Sinfonia with Purcell’s Suite from The Fairy Queen, Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music, Mendelssohn’s Suite from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Walton’s Henry V Suite (22 July); Beethoven’s Sonata no. 17 in D minor The Tempest (23 July, Nick van Bloss), Robin Blaze and Elizabeth Kenny perform a concert entitled Shakespeare on my mind (27 July); Quilter’s Three Shakespeare Songs (27 July, Nicholas Mogg and Jâms Coleman); Beethoven’s Overture Coriolan and Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on Greensleeves (31 July, Royal Northern Sinfonia).

Other threads in the Festival include: the music of James MacMillan whois Composer in Residence, with many opportunities to discover his work, including four world premieres – Motet II with cellist Leonard Elschenbrioch (30 July), Motet III with clarinettist Andrew Marriner (24 July), Motet IV with harpist Catrin Finch (21 July), and Four Little Tributes with Royal Northern Sinfonia (26 July); and a focus on the late works of Beethoven with performances of his String Quartets (opp. 127, 130, 131, 132, 135 and 133) (19, 20, 21 & 23 July, Heath Quartet), An die ferne Geliebte (22 July, Joshua Ellicott), Diabelli Variations (23 July, Nick van Bloss), and Leonard Elschenbrioch with Beethoven’s Sonatas for cello and piano nos. 4 & 5 and Bagatelles op. 126 (30 July).

In addition to the world premieres, other performances of music by James MacMillan include: After the Tryst on 16 July with violinist Fenella Humphreys and pianist Somi Kim; The Halie Speerit’s Dauncers as part of the choral workshop with Voces8 on 19 July; Miserere on the 21 July performed by The Marian Consort in the chapel of Castle Howard as part of the Triple Concert; Kiss on Wood performed by the Yorkshire Young Musicians directed by Penny Stirling on 24 July; Cumnock Fair will be performed on 26 July by Royal Northern Sinfonia; the Royal Northern Sinfonia return to perform Tuireadh on 27 July, a work that remembers the Piper Alpha disaster in 1988; acclaimed choral ensemble Tenebrae perform The Gallant Weaver and In Splendoribus Sanctum at Ampleforth Abbey; Intercession will be performed on 29 July by Kaleidoscope Saxophone Quartet; A Radiant Dawn and The Lamb has come for us from the House of David will be performed during a short ecumenical service of thanksgiving for the festival performed by the Ryedale Festival Singers and conducted by the composer himself; and the final Gala Concert on 31 July will feature From Ayrshire, performed by the Royal Northern Sinfonia and conducted by James MacMillan.

There will also be two world premiere performances of new English translations of major works: Schubert’s Winterreise by Jeremy Sams,performed by baritone Roderick Williams and pianist Christopher Glynn (25 July); and Handel’s operatic fantasy Alcina by John Warrack, performed by a cast of young singers accompanied by musicians from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Experience scheme (16 & 18 July).

Ryedale Festival Artists in Residence, Jeremy Irons and the Heath Quartet perform four concerts that pair Beethoven’s late String Quartets with T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. The concerts take place on 19, 20, 21 and 23 July at various venues across the Ryedale area including Castle Howard, where Irons will return for the first time since he filmed the TV series Brideshead Revisited back in the 1980s.

The Marian Consort explore the music and life of the composer Carlo Gesualdo, whose 450th anniversary of his birth is marked this year. Blurring the boundaries between a one-actor play and a concert, Breaking the Rules explores Gesualdo’s world and his music. The Marian Consort provides the sound-track of Gesualdo’s mind triggering memories of his mother’s death, his disastrous first marriage and the murder of his first wife and her lover, and includes Gesualdo’s music including his Tenebrae Responsories and madrigals (20 July).

Ryedale Festival’s Associate Ensemble, Royal Northern Sinfonia present a programme of music inspired by the plays of Shakespeare with Purcell’s Suite from The Fairy Queen, Walton’s Henry V Suite, Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music and Mendelssohn’s Suite from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (22 July).

A series of late-night concerts present the music of J.S. Bach by candlelight with performances from violinist Rachel Podger (19 July), organist Ian Tindale(24 July), cellist Isang Enders (28 July) and clavichordist Julian Perkins (30 July).

Sledmere House and Church will be the venues for two short concerts on 17 July, both performed twice with the audience changing places either side of the picnic interval. The two concerts feature: mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge and pianist James Baillieu perform songs and ballads from 1923 – 1945 by British composers such as Howells, Quilter, Britten and Eric Coates, whose lives were affected by war; and Rachel Podger (violin) and Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano) perform two Mozart sonatas for violin and piano. 27 July sees a second Double Concert at the venue with Mozart and MacMillan performed by the Royal Northern Sinfonia in the house and the acclaimed countertenor Robin Blaze presents a recital in the Chapel accompanied by Elizabeth Kenny (lute/theorbo) featuring songs from original seventeenth century productions of Shakespeare.

The Triple Concert at Castle Howard takes place on 21 July with performances of Shostakovich’s Piano Trio no. 2 in E minor by the Phoenix Trio; a candle-lit performance from The Marian Consort of two settings of the Miserere from Allegri and James MacMillan; and a varied programme of music from former Royal Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales, Catrin Finch.

Ryedale Festival’s popular Coffee Concerts return with: Kristian Bezuidenhout on the fortepiano performing Mozart (18 July); Voces8 performing works by Alec Roth and Jonathan Dove (19 July); Joshua Ellicott (tenor), Heath Quartet and Christopher Glynn (piano) in three song cycles by Vaughan Williams (Songs of Travel and On Wenlock Edge) and Beethoven (An die ferne Geliebte) (22 July); pianist Nick van Bloss performs Beethoven’s Sonata no. 17 in D minor The Tempest and the Diabelli Variations (23 July); percussionist Joby Burgess performs works from 20th century composers including Takemitsu and Xenakis (25 July); guitar duo Laura Snowden and Tom Ellis perform works by Ravel and Mauro Giuliani among others (28 July); the Kaleidoscope Saxophone Quartet perform a selection of works from composers including Grieg and MacMillan (29 July); and Beethoven, Debussy and Chopin are the subjects of pianist Pavel Kolesnikov’s coffee concert at Duncombe Park (30 July).

As ever, the Ryedale Festival also presents festival talks and literary events including a series of events – Way With Words –that celebrates the work of five women writers. Way With Words features: Lucy Beckett on the works of Shakespeare (15 & 22 July); Claire Harman looks into the work of Charlotte Brontë 200 years on (20 July); Tessa Boase discussing her book The Housekeeper’s Tale and delving into the hidden life of one of the toughest jobs in the history of service (23 July); Jessica Duchen’s one-act play A Walk Through the End of Time performed by Dame Harriet Walter and Guy Paul, telling the story of how two people’s lives have been deeply affected by Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time (24 July); and Daisy Dunn talking about her research behind her book Catullus’ Bedspread: The Life of Rome’s most erotic poet (27 July). Other talks and events include: Katy Hamilton introducing A Meeting of Minds between Beethoven and T.S. Eliot (19, 20, 21 & 23 July); James MacMillan talking about music and creativity (26 & 28 July); and a festival exhibition curated by the papercutter and fine artist Charlotte Trimm reflecting the fairy tale and fantasy world behind Handel's Alcina featuring both her own works and that of other artists she admires (5 July – 2 September).

There will also be a series of free Festival workshops with sessions from vocalist Miranda Wright (18 July), choral group Voces8 (19 July), percussionist Joby Burgess (25 July) and guitarists Laura Snowden and Tom Ellis (28 July).

The Ryedale Festival Young Artists’ Platform is an important part of this year’s Festival with performances from Miranda Wright Singers (17 July), Yorkshire Young Musicians (24 July) and baritone Nicholas Mogg with pianist Jâms Coleman (27 July).

No Yorkshire music festival would be complete without the inclusion of a brass band and this year’s offering is no different. The Gala Opening concert features the brass ensemble Septura taking audiences on a musical tour of the seven deadly sins through the music of Rameau, Ravel, Shostakovich, Purcell, Prokofiev, Lassus and Rachmaninov (15 July). The final day boasts a performance by one of the county’s finest bands – Kirkbymoorside Town Brass Band – at a garden party held in the grounds of the Worsley Arms Hotel in Hovingham (31 July).

Once again, Ryedale Festival is proud to present its Ryedale 500 scheme, which offers 500 tickets for £1 to concert-goers under 25. These tickets are available for a wide range of festival events, offering young people a chance to explore the festival.

Full details of the Season including times and venues of each concert can be found in the Festival brochure.

To request a copy of the brochure and for further information please contact:

Libby Binks, Sharp Arts Media

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 07841 463 056

Notes to Editors:

Tickets on general sale Monday 9 May 2016

Ryedale Festival Box Office: 01751 475777

Ryedale Festival 15 – 31 July 2016

Every year, the Ryedale Festival welcomes outstanding performers from all over the world, both established and emerging, to perform a wide-ranging and distinctive programme in the many spectacular venues of Ryedale, North Yorkshire – an area marked by its history and its natural beauty.

The Festival enjoys a large, loyal and enthusiastic audience, the warm support of the local community and a growing reputation as one of the most exciting and enterprising in the country. Events range far and wide across the area and performances are given at the great houses of Castle Howard, Hovingham Hall, Duncombe Park and Sledmere, as well as in Ampleforth Abbey, York Minster, Helmsley Arts Centre, Pickering Kirk Theatre and many other local venues. There is also a popular series of Coffee Concerts given in the many beautiful, often remote, country churches of North Yorkshire and a series of literary events, talks, exhibitions, theatre, jazz and family events.

The market towns and villages of the region – principally Malton, Helmsley and Pickering – are of a muted loveliness, and seem not much changed for decades. Beautiful medieval churches and major stately homes abound. The surrounding countryside encompasses the North York Moors and magisterial Howardian Hills, as well as vast rolling landscapes and wooded valleys through which the River Rye flows

The Festival began in 1981 when four musician friends, Geoffrey and June Emerson, and Peter and Alex White, had the idea of launching a small series of local concerts. This first Helmsley Festival brought together more friends and other professional musicians, and made an immediate impact on the town and its surroundings. So popular did it become that after five Festivals a broader base was called for, and the Ryedale District Council stepped in with the generous support, enabling it to grow. Before long, events ranged far and wide in the area to make a true Ryedale Festival. Since 2014, Ryedale Festival continues to be solely funded by the generous support of its members, friends, patrons and sponsors. Artistic Director, Christopher Glynn, joined the Festival in 2010 and has gone from strength to strength, winning for itself a national, even international circle of friends and a growing reputation for the excellence of its programming, while broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 have also brought its work to a national audience.

Highlights of recent Festivals include visits by many internationally renowned soloists, chamber ensembles and orchestras. There is a long tradition of opera, invariably highly acclaimed by both critics and audience, together with strong support and enthusiasm for talented young performers.