Bristol Gets Its Own Music Festival

United KingdomUnited Kingdom Bristol Gets Its Own Music Festival

The Clifton International Festival of Music (22nd – 30th June 2013) joins the vibrant festival culture of the South West in June with its inaugural festival, comprising inspirational music to invigorate, intrigue and delight both established classical music-loving audiences and those looking to experience this music for the first time.

The festival plays host to an array of musicians of national and international reputation including two of the world’s foremost early music groups, The Tallis Scholars and I Fagiolini. The Scholars close the festival on Sunday 30th June with a programme of highlights from across their distinguished forty-year career including Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli and Allegri’s Miserere mei Deus; performed within the glorious setting and sublime acoustic of Clifton Cathedral in the fortieth year of its consecration. This promises to be a truly memorable concert.

Early Music features prominently in this year’s festival with more beautiful Renaissance polyphony, sung by candlelight, at the start of the week by exciting new comers, The Erebus Ensemble. Baroque virtuosi Ars Eloquentiae, comprised of some of the country’s leading period-instrument specialists, show off another of our beautiful venues, All Saints’, Clifton, on Tuesday 25th with music by Bach, Handel and Fasch in what promises to be a wonderfully intimate and special performance.

One of the Festival’s core aims is to make music accessible to young people of all backgrounds; this is highlighted by Wednesday’s schools’ workshop, led by renowned conductor John Gibbons, during which over a hundred school children will rehearse and perform Karl Jenkins’s wonderfully vibrant setting of the Requiem. John Gibbons also conducts the European Premiere of Sir John Tavener’s Tolstoy’s Creed and leads the combined forces of I Fagiolini, Bristol Baroque Soloists and the Clifton Festival Chorus for a spectacular performance of the monumental flagstone in Western music, Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers.

Bristol’s young musicians (and, indeed, the older ones!) may also enjoy Friday evening’s recital, The Battle of the Organs, given by celebrated improvisers, Malcolm Archer and David Bednall. The duo will provide an evening of superb entertainment as they play classics of the repertory such as Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and improvise on everything from plainchant to Disney!

The Festival will bring a number of lectures and pre-concert talks to audiences in order that the music performed throughout the week might be given a deeperin Bristol for the first time since the Reformation context and its audiences a greater understanding. The BBC’s Jon Cannon heads the line up with an interesting discussion on centralised churches, given in the body of Clifton Cathedral. And history will be made when all eight offices of the Liturgy of the Hours are sung in Bristol for the first time since the Reformation.

At the Festival’s launch party recently, Bristol MP Stephen Williams had this to say: “Bristol is renowned for its Festivals. We have our balloon and food Festivals but what we don’t have is a music Festival which caters to all age ranges. Nothing beats hearing classical music performed live. I’m excited for people to come to the Festival and hear music of such high calibre being performed here in Clifton”.

Booking for the Festival can be done online ( or by telephone (0117 922 3686). For full details please visit