An evening of sacred choral music at Ampleforth Abbey – 26th November

November 3, 2016

The Ryedale Festival is delighted to support a special evening of Sacred Choral Music – including the Northern premiere of Philip Moore’s Requiem – in aid of Soldier On.

This charity provides support and assistance to soldiers as they try to adapt to civilian life following injury and trauma.   Soloists Bethany Seymour and David Pipe are supported by The Ampleforth and Ryedale Concert Choir as well as the Ryedale School Cantarla.

Tickets at £15 at the door of Ampleforth Abbey on the evening of Saturday 26th November or from

Concert commences at 7.30pm.  

Click on poster to enlarge.










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A life-changing triumph in Yorkshire

August 11, 2016

Heath quartet 3 wWhen T. S. Eliot drew together his sequence of reflections on humanity and time under the title Four Quartets, it was with reason.  Structually and sonically the poems are indebted to the way that chamber music works.  And in their questing if impenetrable spirit they specifically owe something to the late quartets of Beethoven – which is why the big sell of this year’s Ryedale Festival in Yorkshire was a concert series in which the Heath Quartet played Beethoven’s music while actor Jeremy Irons read Eliot’s words.

To say this idea was inspired would be an understatement.  It was one of the most memorable projects that I’ve ever witnessed in a music festival:  the kind of life-changing experience that concert-goers always want but rarely find.

Jeremy Irons 2e wIn no sense was it easy listening.  The five quartet scores that comprise “late Beethoven” are an unfathomable mix of visionary contemplation, sweet caprice and rough power – with bizarre ocurrences that seem to step out of the composer’s time and into ours. That he was deaf by then, with a perhaps fallible sense of what he was doing, means we can’t be sure how much is accident, how much design.  But either way, the end result is genius.  And the same goes for the Eliot Quartets, which sometimes soar and sometimes stumble in their efforts to express the inexpressible, yet manage to convey the reader/listener on a route-march into his own being.  By whatever means.

The choice of the performer in both cases is to camouflage the problems or expose them.  And what gave these concerts their significance was that the four musicians and the actor took the riskier but more rewarding latter option.  Everything was done with an uncompromising honesty, the Heath acknowledging the grit that makes the oyster in accounts that were as physical as they were transcendental.  And in careful, quiet readings that suggested Eliot as a pioneer of mindfulness, Irons did a comparably honest job of grappling with his hard texts, making no attempt to plug the gaps in comprehension with default-mode thespian flannel.

That these concerts ran in places of extraordinary beauty – as does everything at Ryedale, which brings music into perfect churches, villages and stately piles across North Yorkshire – added to their wonder.  And it’s worth reporting that the first of them played in the grand saloon at Castle Howard:  the house that made Jeremy Irons famous when he filmed Brideshead Revisited there, 35 years ago.  He told me that he hadn’t been back since, that it was full of memories.  And if they didn’t feed into his reading of “Burnt Norton” (which like Brideshead, is about revisiting a great house and its ghosts), I’d be surprised.

Michael White, Catholic Herald, August 5th 2016.


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We’re back !

August 3, 2016

Pleased to say we now have telephones working again.

Thank you for bearing with us.

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Telephones are down at Ryedale Festival Office

July 31, 2016

Office Flood 2

that unfortunately, due to flooding in the Ryedale Festival Office, the telephones are down.  If you need to get in touch please use this email address:-
or leave a message on Twitter @ RyedaleFestival
or Ryedale Festival on Facebook.


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Christopher Glynn Ryedale Festival Artistic Director talks to the Yorkshire Post

July 18, 2016

My Yorkshire: Ryedale Festival’s Christopher Glynn on his favourite people and places

Christopher Glynn, artistic director of Rydale Festival.Born in Leicester, Christopher Glynn read music at New College, Oxford before studying piano at the Royal Academy of Music. He is now the 
artistic director of the internationally acclaimed Ryedale Festival.

What’s your first Yorkshire memory? Driving across the North York Moors as a child. I found the emptiness and bleakness exhilarating, and still do. Time seems to stand still there. I’m always moved by the many stone crosses on the moors, and fascinated by the history of the early Christian settlers who left them

What’s your favourite part of the county and why? I’d have to mention Ryedale, as I’ve got to know it so well. It’s a beautiful region in itself – especially the Howardian Hills and market towns of Malton, Pickering and Helmsley – but also a great base for exploring the North York Moors and Yorkshire Wolds.

Howardian Hills.jpgDo you have a favourite walk – or view? I love the walks in and around Sledmere. It’s a bit off the beaten track, but the views onto the Wolds are stunning and Sledmere House, with its deer park and beautiful adjoining church, is something very special. There are some David Hockney pictures which really capture the magic of the area.

What’s your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend, in out in Yorkshire? It would begin with one of the famous Ryedale Festival “Coffee Concerts”. They bring music to many beautiful country churches all over North Yorkshire – one favourite is Lastingham. Then lunch at a favourite pub followed by a long walk across the moors. In the evening, maybe another concert at Duncombe Park, followed by late-night drinks with some of the performers and audience members in Helmsley.

Read the full article

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Minster FM previews the Ryedale Festival

July 16, 2016

35th Ryedale Festival to get underway

ryedale festival heath quartet

1:29pm 14th July 2016

North Yorkshire’s 35th Ryedale Festival opens on Friday and runs until 31 July with concerts all over the Ryedale area. This year’s events range far and wide with performances at the great houses of Castle Howard, Hovingham Hall, Duncombe Park and Sledmere, as well as in Ampleforth Abbey, Easingwold’s Galtres Centre, Helmsley Arts Centre, York’s St Michael le Belfrey 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.

Topping the bill – actor Jeremy Irons will be performing alongside the Heath Quartet in four concerts that pair Beethoven’s late String Quartets with readings from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. The concerts take place on the 19, 20, 21 and 23 July at various venues including Castle Howard, where Irons filmed the TV series Brideshead Revisited back in the 1980s.

The 2016 Ryedale Festival will also see world premiere performances of four works by internationally renowned composer, James MacMillan. Motet IV for solo harp will be performed by Catrin Finch (21 July); Motet III for solo clarinet is an adaptation of music from his work Since the Day of Preparation about the Resurrection of Christ and will be performed by Andrew Marriner (clarinet) (24 July); Four Little Tributes will be performed on 26 July by the Royal Northern Sinfonia and was composed in honour of fellow composers Michael Berkeley, Sally Beamish, John Casken and the late Peter Maxwell Davies, who sadly died after this work’s conception; and Motet II for cello and piano will be performed by Leonard Elschenbroich (cello) and Alexei Grynyuk (piano) (30 July). MacMillan will also appear in a pre-concert talk on 28 July as he explores what place faith and mysticism have in artistic vision and how his Catholic faith has influenced his work.

Other premieres in the Festival include new English translations of Handel’s fantasy opera Alcina by John Warrack (16 and 18 July) and Schubert’s Winterreise translated by Jeremy Sams (25 July). On 30 July Leonard Elschenbroich and Alexei Grynyuk will also perform the UK premiere of a new work by Kensaku Shimizu.

Once again, the 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. Details of concerts featured in the scheme will be announced daily on the Ryedale Festival’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Christopher Glynn, Artistic Director of the Ryedale Festival, said:

“The Ryedale Festival exists to bring the highest quality music and arts to the people of North Yorkshire, and with the artists and musicians on offer in 2016 we are proud to be doing just that. Ryedale500 reflects one of the festival’s highest priorities – giving young people in Ryedale the chance to explore what the festival has to offer. We started the initiative last year and it was great to see how many young people took advantage of the offer – just one of many ways in which we aim to create a world-class festival for Ryedale that is also a community festival. We are confident that the Festival shows how classical music is alive and kicking, and presented to the highest standards, outside the UK’s capital.”

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Good News for Under 25’s

July 14, 2016


Under 25? Come and explore the festival for a great price…

Ryedale500 is a festival initiative to offer every year 500 festival tickets for £1 to concert-goers under 25. These tickets are available for a wide variety of festival events, offering young people a chance to explore the festival. Please phone or email the box office for more information. Details will also be announced daily on Facebook and Twitter.

  • £1 ticket  Offer applies to those aged under 25 at the time of booking
  •   Offer limited to two tickets per person, per event.

Ryedale500 tickets are currently available for the following events

8;   11,  19,  20,  21,   25 side aisles,   26,   27,   34,   39,   40,   41,   45 North and South Transepts,   48,   50

Please note on-line booking is not available for this special price.  Please contact the box office.

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From Classical Source Blog –

July 13, 2016

Ryedale Festival announces Richard Farnes and Sir William Worsley as Vice Presidents.

Today, Monday 11 July 2016, the Ryedale Festival announced that Richard Farnes, outgoing Music Director of Opera North, has been appointed a Vice President of the organisation. This announcement heralds the start of the 2016 Festival, which starts on 15 July and runs until 31 July with 54 events all over the Ryedale area.

Richard FarnesRichard Farnes’ 12-year tenure as Music Director of Opera North concluded at the Sage in Gateshead on 10 July at the culmination of Opera North’s widely praised production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Farnes is one of the most sought after conductors of his generation and conducted Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 at the Festival last year. Together with his acclaimed work for Opera North, he has had close associations with Scottish Opera, and has conducted for Glyndebourne, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, English National Opera, New Israeli Opera, English Touring Opera, and European Chamber Opera, as well as the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Symphony in Dublin, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Sir William WorsleyRyedale also announces the appointment of Sir William Worsley, as a Vice President. Farnes and Sir William join an esteemed team of Vice Presidents under the Festival’s President, Dr John Warrack, comprising The Abbot of Ampleforth; Sir Thomas Allen; June Emerson; Lord Berkeley of Knighton; The Revd Canon John Manchester; Peter O’Malley; The Hon. Sir Richard Storey; Martin Vander Weyer; and Mr and Mrs Peter White.

Richard Farnes said: ‘I am very pleased and indeed honoured to be appointed as a Vice President of the Ryedale Festival. I am happy to become a part of the team, especially if it goes any way towards promoting the Festival’s already high recognition and repute.’

Photo  Richard Barnes – Bill Cooper
Sir William Worsley – York Press

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Yorkshire Post previews the Festival

July 13, 2016

Ryedale Festival 2016: Classical music, Jeremy Irons and a Shakespearean tavern

Alehouse 2 wThere can’t be many festivals which mix the symphonies of Beethoven performed in a quaint country church to a recreation of what a Shakespearean tavern would have been like, before moving effortlessly into the poetry of T S Eliot, read by actor Jeremy Irons and then listening to Bach by candlelight in the middle of the English countryside.

But Ryedale Festival does just that and it has a pedigree to viral any, dating back to 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.

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, including workshops and a ticketing initiative to help more young people to explore the festival.

The festival enjoys a large, loyal and enthusiastic audience, the warm support of the local community and a reputation as one of the most exciting and enterprising in the country.

Castle-Howard---Ryedale-FesEvents 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 and workshops.

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 but here they are used as the perfect backdrop to allow audiences to discover and cherish some of the world’s most renowned composers and their work.

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.

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July 5, 2016

Wintringham church wW I N T R I N G H A M    C H U R C H
This beautiful and peaceful church, with an elegant spire, was built from the Norman period to the 15th-century.The oldest part of the church is the Norman chancel with its priest’s door and corbel table; the nave and west tower are of the 14th-century, although externally the tower has crenellated parapets and Perpendicular tracery of the 15th-century. The graveyard is filled with 18th and 19th-century monuments to the former inhabitants of this sleepy village.  The church is full of interesting furnishings including Jacobean bench pews, Medieval carvings and stained glass. Look carefully and you might also find green men, mythical beasts and sword markings. . .

Fanell Humphreys 2 wand PERFORMING IN THIS BEAUTIFUL CHURCH – 16th July, 11.00 am.
FENELLA HUMPHREYS (violin) and SOMI KIM (piano)
Franck’s passionate sonata for violin and piano was described by the composer as ‘a voyage of the soul’ and expressing a conflict between sacred and worldly love. It lies at the centre of this recital, alongside a piece by James MacMillan inspired by William Soutar’s poem The Tryst, three pieces from Prokofiev’s famous ballet music for Romeo and Juliet, and the dazzling virtuosity of Ravel’s showpiece inspired by gypsy music and folklore.

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