In pictures: Countdown to 2018 Harrogate Music Festival

Headline acts for this year's Harrogate Music Festival have been announced and include MOBO winner Laura Mvula and the sell-out sensation the John Wilson Orchestra, writes Sue Wilkinson.

Thursday, 22nd March 2018, 2:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd March 2018, 2:00 pm
The John Wilson Orchestra. Picture: Chris Christodoulou licensed to EMI (s).

Drawing on the theme, Innovation, Harrogate International Festivals promises audiences will see through fresh eyes this summer.

Two time Mercury Prize nominee and MOBO winner Mvula tops the line-up. The soul singer was endorsed by music legend Prince after wowing critics with her debut album Sing to the Moon in 2013.

One of Britain’s most distinctive musical talents, Laura collaborated with the legendary Nile Rodgers, combining his upbeat sound with her thrilling harmonies for her album The Dreaming Room.

Music manager Charlotte Woods said: “With our theme being ‘innovation’ it’s exciting to have a truly ground-breaking artist like Laura Mvula.

“I think we’re all ready to embrace some sunshine and be reinvigorated by music and theatre, with perhaps a little dancing along the way. We can’t wait to welcome audiences, old friends and new.

“There’s also some amazing surprises still to announce for summer, so watch this space.”

The Festival will open, and close, with two acclaimed orchestras. The John Wilson Orchestra will breathe new life into Hollywood’s Golden Age with a special festival launch concert on June 17.

Featuring some of the best wind and brass players on the planet, their Hollywood-themed performances attract millions to tune in to the Proms.

A northern powerhouse, the Hallé Orchestra will deliver the festival finale with its musical director, the renowned Sir Mark Elder. Celebrating the 125th anniversary of Tchaikovsky it promises to be an unforgettable experience.

As part of the global celebrations of the centennial of Leonard Bernstein, Britain’s favourite clarinettist Emma Johnson will perform his classics including music from West Side Story.

Johnson, an alumni of Harrogate International Festivals’ Young Musician series, went on to become one of the UK’s biggest selling classical artists, selling over half a million albums worldwide.

Harrogate International Festivals has showcased young musicians for over half a century. Louisa Staples was shortlisted for Menuhin Competition aged 15. Be inspired by this rising star as the international strings prodigy performs Prokofiev, Debussy and Ravel.

The Force is with Oddsocks as the theatre troupe return to Harrogate with their trademark twist on The Bard, setting Shakespeare in space. The Tempest moves to a galaxy far, far away in a sci-fi musical adaptation performed in RHS Harlow Carr Gardens.

Angels have inspired flights of brilliance in art, poetry and music for millennia. British vocal ensemble VOCES8 perform A Guardian Angel with the queen of the Baroque violin Rachel Podger in a concert by candlelight that offers a little divine intervention.

The festival will also host the popular 1940s Day and a Long Table Dinner in Valley Gardens.

The full programme will be released in the coming weeks.


Launch event: John Wilson Orchestra, Sunday June 17 at 7.30pm

Oddsocks: The Tempest, Tuesday July 10 and Wednesday July 11 at 7.30pm

VOCES8 with Rachel Podger, Thursday July 12 at 8pm

Louisa Staples, Friday July 13 at 11am

Emma Johnson, Thursday July 26 at 7.30pm

Laura Mvula, Friday July 27 at 7.30pm

Hallé Orchestra, Sunday Jul y 29 at 7.30pm

Tickets for the highlight events on sale Thursday 22nd March. Box Office: 01423 562 303