It must be a sign of advancing age that the 12 month gap between writing each Festival introduction seems to get shorter and shorter every year.
Nevertheless, I am as delighted as ever to present the programme for our 17th festival, which, as always, features some of the world’s greatest musicians.
This year we have a large number of returning artists but we always seek to bring new musicians to Chipping Campden when the opportunity arises. Making their festival debuts in 2018 are the world renowned Jerusalem Quartet, who will be flying in specially to perform here, and the brilliant pianist Stephen Hough, who I have been trying to get here for many years.I always knew 2017 would be a hard act to follow due to the stellar line up we had, but I hope you agree that we have an equally wonderful mix of outstanding musicians for 2018. One dilemma was how we would follow the astonishing Monteverdi Vespers that Vox Luminus and the Freiberger Baroque gave us, but I’m excited that we have managed to engage Tenebrae & the Academy of Ancient Music who are joining forces to perform JS Bach’s B minor Mass, one of the few choral works that can equal or even surpass the Vespers.  Another highlight is that our president Paul Lewis will be with us to perform, on separate evenings, three Mozart concertos with the Academy orchestra. One could go on but it becomes invidious to single out particular artists within the group of exceptional musicians who will be with us in May.
The Festival Academy Orchestra is one of the most significant components of the
festival and it is now widely regarded as one of the UK’s leading training orchestras.
It can only continue to operate because of the generosity of the wonderful hosts who welcome the musicians into their homes each year. We are always on the lookout for more hosts so if there are any people, particularly within Chipping Campden, who feel able to offer accommodation from Sunday 20th – Saturday 26th do please contact Ailsa Scott – ailsa@maxwells.co.uk. We have made a slight change to the lunchtime ticket prices this year. We have not altered the admission cost for these concerts since we started in 2002, yet over the years not only has the quality of artists we engage increased dramatically but we have also increased the fee we pay the young artists in this series. So for this year if you purchase a ticket in advance for all 6 lunchtimes it will work out at £5 per concert. Or they can be purchased on the door each day for £6.50 Student tickets remain FOC for the lunchtimes and a nominal £1 for all evening concerts. We believe there is nowhere else in the UK where students can hear such superb musicians for so small a sum.
Many of you will know that there has been an alteration to the layout, and the removal of some of the pews in the church. This has resulted in a slight change to the layout of the reserved seating in the rear of the nave and in the south aisle. We have redrawn the plan and also taken the opportunity to have a more logical sequence of row letters. The revised plan is printed at the back of this brochure.
Every year more and more people sign up for one of the priority booking schemes and, if you have not done so before, 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. To ensure that all members of these schemes benefit from joining, from 2018 onwards we are putting a maximum on the number of tickets that can be purchased for the orchestral & choral concerts, which this year will be on the 17th, 22nd, 24th, & 26th Full details are on the Patrons, Friends, & Sponsors page at the rear of this brochure As always, we operate 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, in early February, 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 like the look of the 2018 programme and I look forward to seeing many of you next May.Charlie Bennett October 2017

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