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Southwell Music Festival offers a fresh, exciting programme

With grand symphonies, intimate chamber music, celebratory choral classics and soulful folk music, Southwell Music festival, which begins today, has something for everyone.

With the help of a wonderful ensemble of leading professional singers and players from across the UK and overseas, organisers strive to bring the very best music to the town.

The festival’s founder and artistic director, Marcus Farnsworth, said: “Each year we aim to give our audiences something fresh and unexpected, and I am particularly excited by this year’s festival firsts ­— from a spectacular symphony concert presenting the drama and beauty of Mendelssohn and Mahler to late-night folk in the minster, with renowned Scottish fiddler Aidan O’Rourke and award-winning pianist, organist and improviser, Kit Downes.”

Southwell Music Festival (15293597)
Southwell Music Festival (15293597)

He said the vital process of breaking down barriers between musical genres and cultures would be evident in the colourful and entertaining music from the United States, a significant feature this year.

At the major choral and orchestral concert on Saturday night, the festival presents Handel’s oratorio Israel In Egypt.

This dazzling semi-operatic showcase for the Festival Voices also marks the return of the Festival Baroque Sinfonia to perform the glorious orchestral score on authentic period instruments.

Marcus Farnsworth (15293595)
Marcus Farnsworth (15293595)

“Talking of dazzling virtuosity, we are also thrilled to present a celebrity recital by the brilliant violist Jennifer Pike with James Baillieu, one of today’s most sought-after accompanists,” Marcus Farnsworth said.

Southwell Music Festival is an inclusive event, with its percussion-based family concert, an opportunity for choral singers to sing Handel, and popular free fringe concerts across the town.

Free events make up nearly half the programme.

Marcus Farnsworth said the festival was an extraordinary community undertaking and none of it would be possible without the generous and sustained support of so many people offering help in very many different ways.

“We are proud to present this sixth edition of our critically-acclaimed festival, which combines substance, variety, virtuosity, and fun,” he said.

“Southwell will resound with music over the August Bank Holiday and we look forward to welcoming you.”

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