It gives me huge pleasure to present the programme for our 16th festival, which, once again, features some of the world’s most eminent musicians. Returning artists look forward to performing in
one of their favourite venues, to one of the most appreciative audiences they are likely to encounter anywhere, and those here for the first time are likely to join the ranks of musicians asking to return at the earliest opportunity.
Making their festival debut is the Freiburger Barockorchester, widely acknowledged as one of the world’s finest orchestras. They are joined by Vox Luminus (here in 2016) for a performance of Monteverdi’s masterpiece, the Vespro della Beata Vergine 1610. We also welcome for the first time, violin & piano duo, Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien; Septura, a groundbreaking brass ensemble; and acclaimed baritone Roderick Williams, making his long overdue debut alongside one of his regular duo partners, Iain Burnside. Our final new face in 2017 is pianist Nikolai Lugansky, described by Gramophone as “the most trailblazing and meteoric performer of all”.
In addition to the stellar line up above we see the return of an equally brilliant group of regulars; our president Paul Lewis, Steven Isserlis, Richard Goode, The Academy of Ancient Music & Richard Egarr, The Takacs Quartet, Jack Liebeck, and renowned voice teacher David Pollard.
2017 is the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Festival Academy Orchestra. It’s hard to believe that the idea that Tom Hull and I hatched a decade ago has grown into what is now regarded as one of the UK’s leading training orchestras. Its great success is down to the huge commitment and countless hours of work put in by Tom & Ruth, and to the fact that most of the professional members return every year, giving the project a sense of continuity.
Having held ticket prices for six years we have had to increase them this time as, apart from the ongoing rise in general costs, we have the most expensive festival ever in terms of artists’ fees. Increases have been kept as small as possible, and student tickets remain a nominal £1. There is nowhere else in the UK where students can hear such superb musicians for such a sum.
If you have not signed up for one of the priority booking schemes previously I hope you will consider doing so this year. Increasingly, it is the only sure way of obtaining reserved seating for the most popular concerts.
We have decided to keep to the traditional postal system for the Patrons’, Friends’ & Season priority booking periods, and for those who like to send their General booking forms in early. As each period opens forms are processed in the order in which they were received, so please send them in ASAP.
As soon as the priority and early ‘General’ bookings have been processed we will then activate the online & telephone booking system. NB – unlike most other organisations we levy neither a booking fee nor transaction fee with our online system. I hope you will agree that the 2017 programme is one of the most exciting to date and I look forward to seeing many of you next May.Charlie Bennett, October 2016

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