Stars line up for Northern Aldborough

Northern Aldborough Festival star - Angela Hewitt.
Northern Aldborough Festival star - Angela Hewitt.

ONE of the world’s leading pianists, Angela Hewitt, is set to headline this year’s Northern Aldborough Festival.

The Canadian pianist, who has been widely credited with re-defining the performance of Bach’s keyboard works on the piano, but who has gone on to triumph in a wide variety of repertoire, will take to the stage in St Andrew’s Church, Aldborough on Friday, June 22 to perform a programme of Brahms, Beethoven and, naturally, Bach.

Now in its 18th year, the Northern Aldborough festival announces its most eclectic programme yet, presenting Hewitt alongside jazz guitarist Martin Taylor, Baroque ensemble La Nuova Musica, avant-garde vocal group ‘juice’, the genre bending Pavão Quartet, and soprano Sarah Fox supported by the eight cellos of Cellophony.

Running from Thursday, June 14 to Saturday, June 23, the festival is held in and around the Roman village of Aldborough in North Yorkshire.

The festival opens on June 14 with the young opera company Charles Court Opera performing The Mikado, a production recently described as ‘wickedly funny’(The Guardian) and ‘dazzling’ (Daily Mail) in the press.

Martin Taylor, often labelled as the world’s greatest solo jazz guitarist, honed his self-taught and distinctive technique through years of touring with Stephane Grappelli. Among his fans is Pat Metheny, who described him as ‘one of the most awesome solo guitar players in the history of the instrument’.

He performs a programme of gold-plated standards on Saturday, June 16 with Canadian vocalist Alison Burns.

Cellophony’s programme with Sarah Fox on Friday, June 15 will include works originally composed for this unusual combination, including Bachianas Brasileiras no.5 by Villa-Lobos and Arvo Pärt’s L’Abbé Agathon.

The ensemble, returning after last year’s sell-out concert, is renowned for its virtuosity and panache.

Sarah Fox, a former Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Award winner, has performed all over the world for opera companies and festivals including The Royal Opera, Salzburg Festival and the BBC Proms.

Monday, June 18 will witness the Northern debut of La Nuova Musica in Handel’s Acis and Galatea. The Baroque ensemble, set up by counter-tenor David Bates, recently signed a five recording deal with Harmonia Mundi USA and is widely tipped by the critics as one of the most exciting to emerge in years.

The Pavão Quartet, a widely travelled all-female group whose discography includes bestselling releases of Elgar and Bax quartets and The Great American Songbook, will partner with clarinettist Matthew Hunt in quintets by Mozart and Weber on Thursday, June 21 before performing a programme of encore repertoire the following morning.

Other artists appearing include The Rhodes Piano Trio, harpist Sally Pryce, recorder player Chris Orton with harpsichordist Laura Tivendale and juice vocal ensemble.

The last night on Saturday, June 23 is an outdoor family concert with fireworks in the grounds of Aldborough Manor featuring the tribute band Re-take That supported by the St Aidan’s Swing Band.

Artistic Director Robert Ogden believes this to be the most diverse programme yet offered by the festival, but one that fulfils the festival’s aims of bringing exceptional music making to the region.

He said: “The single most important thing to me is that the quality of performance should be absolutely world class whatever the genre, and I believe that hearing these outstanding performers in our wonderfully intimate and historic venues should be unforgettable.”

l For more information, visit the festival’s Facebook page or email or visit