Three Choirs Festival launches bold new programme for Hereford 2022
The Three Choirs Festival has launched its programme for 2022, where audiences will enjoy choosing from over eighty events taking place in and around Hereford between 23 and 30 July. From the festival’s signature choral concerts to chamber music, family events, theatre and more, the festival is a must for music lovers of all ages, while a restyled festival village on the cathedral close and surrounding area will create a sense of occasion and a platform for local performers on the community bandstand. With eight premieres and over fifty works from 43 living composers across an exhilarating range of styles, nationalities and generations, the festival continues to champion the best of today’s new music, as well as celebrations of enduring favourites.
Following the festival’s triumphant return last year from the cancellation of 2020, Hereford Artistic Director Geraint Bowen has chosen as his theme re-imaginings and new beginnings. Inspired by the 1946 Hereford festival, the first after a gap of seven years during the Second World War and based around the 1939 festival which had been cancelled only days before it was due to take place, Hereford 2022 will revive Dyson’s impressive choral work Quo Vadis and Finzi’s Dies Natalis, which had both been composed for 1939 and were finally heard in 1946.
The week begins with a rare performance of Dvořák’s powerful Requiem and closes with Elgar’s well-loved masterpiece The Dream of Gerontius. Along the way audiences will hear two strikingly different interpretations of the mediaeval poem Stabat Mater, by Poulenc and Richard Blackford, and the universal genius of Bach re-imagined by composers as diverse as Elgar, Stravinsky and Webern.
New voices abound in this year’s programme, with the festival’s headline commission for the Three Choirs Festival Youth Choir, Voices of Power, leading the way. Featuring an original text by Jessica Walker and music by Luke Styles, the piece explores the world-changing power of words across the centuries from the perspective of powerful women. Its six protagonists include figures as diverse as Boudica and Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great and Margaret Thatcher, Eleanor Roosevelt and Jacinda Ardern. There will also be exciting premieres from Cheryl Frances-Hoad, David Matthews, Joseph Phibbs and many more.
Organisers expect strong demand for tickets following two years of restricted activity due to Covid, and are encouraging music lovers to book early, with tickets for members on sale from 11 April and general booking opening on 27 April. For those who want to get closer to the action, there are opportunities for singers aged 14-25 to sign up for the festival’s Youth Choir, and volunteer positions across a range of roles available to those aged 16 and above.
Chief Executive Alexis Paterson said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted to be returning to a full-scale festival that will be packed with incredible live music, in beautiful surroundings, and a huge range of events on offer. It’s a pleasure to be in Hereford once again and I know that our thousands of visitors can’t wait to return. The revamped festival village is a great step forward for the festival, which I hope will encourage local people to come and explore what’s on offer if they haven’t been before. With free and open access to rehearsals in the cathedral, it’s easy to pop in and try something out for the first time – everyone’s welcome, and I promise that seeing and hearing 200-odd people making music together is a magnificent and memorable thing.‘
Artistic Director Geraint Bowen said: ‘I’m delighted to present the programme for this year’s festival. When I first started planning it, with its theme of re-imaginings and new beginnings, I had no idea that the event would turn out to be taking place against the backdrop of the last two years and the recovery from the pandemic. In a troubled world, music and the arts are more important than ever – there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Hereford in 2022 and we look forward to welcoming all our festival visitors in July.‘
Booking for the 2022 Three Choirs Festival opens in April and for the full programme details CLICK HERE from 10am on 25 March 2022.