Festival to celebrate beauty of the moors

A festival celebrating the beauty of the North York Moors will bring soaring classical music to historic churches across the National Park next month.

The North York Moors Chamber Music Festival, now in its ninth year, takes place from Sunday August 13 to Saturday August 26.

It has been shortlisted this year for a Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Award.

The festival will bring more than 40 classical artists to perform 50 different works in ten churches at Danby, Egton Bridge, Fylingdales, Guisborough, Helmsley, Lastingham, Lythe, Pickering, Sneaton Castle and Whitby.

The title of this year’s festival is Arcadia, and each themed concert celebrates different aspects of nature, with titles such as Prisms of Light, The Elements and Cosmos. Composers include Elgar, Schumann, Liszt, Beethoven, Fauré and Vivaldi.

Masterworks will be performed by notable musicians including The Cremona Quartet, Katya Apekisheva, Rachel Kolly d’Alba, Matthew Wadsworth and local mezzo-soprano Anna Huntley.

The festival’s founder and Artistic Director is renowned cellist Jamie Walton, who lives in the North York Moors.

His mission is to bring music to more remote locations and make it accessible for all, bringing communities together – tickets for all the concerts are just £12.50, or £5 for students and free for children under 16. He said: “Each year we take our audiences through a specific theme, exploring thrilling music within the context of the environment we are so privileged to be part of.

“August is when the moors are rampant with heather and the vast expanse of our National Park comes into its own.

“As we approach our tenth year, the festival is going from strength to strength.

“Last year we launched our own record label – Ayriel Classical. The aim of this label is to capture the excitement and spirit of the festival, building upon a discography to showcase the talent it attracts.

“We are due to release our next recording in September but festival-goers will enjoy access to exclusive limited edition copies before it is internationally released digitally.

Plans are also under way to equip and convert a barn into a recording studio upon the moors in time for our tenth anniversary, something we’re currently fundraising for.

“We’re delighted to have been nominated this year for a Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Award in the Tourism Event of the Year category – a real vindication of all our work over the last eight years.”

Cellist Walton – once described by The Washington Post as “a major cello talent” – has performed worldwide with orchestras including the London Philharmonic and Philharmonia, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

He is supported by a creative team including photographer Paul Ingram, artist Carol Tyler and filmmaker and photographer Frank Harrison.

As well as Walton, this year’s musicians include: Jill Allan (clarinet), Katya Apekisheva (piano), Simon Blendis (violin), Simon Browne (violin/viola), Thomas Carroll (cello), Meghan Cassidy (viola/violin), Quartetto di Cremona (quartet), Julia Doyle (soprano), Ruth Gibson (viola), Rebecca Gilliver (cello), Adam Johnson (piano/harpsichord/conductor), Cerys Jones (violin), Rachel Kolly d’Alba (violin), Roman Mints (violin), Emily Nebel (violin), Brian O’Kane (cello), David Pipe (organ), Victoria Sayles (violin), Charlotte Scott (violin), Virginia Slater (viola), Philip Smith (baritone), Simon Tandree (viola), David Tollington (French horn), Matthew Wadsworth (lute/theorbo), Dan Watts (flute/piccolo), Karolina Weltrowska (violin), Anthony Williams (double bass).