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Cheltenham Music Festival moves online

With Cheltenham Music Festival forced to cancel this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has instead curated a digital celebration, highlighting what is unique and innovative about the festival.

Cheltenham Music Festival: Replay will be available for free on the Cheltenham Festivals website from Saturday 4th July.

The collection will include six brand-new podcasts, videos and playlists celebrating festival commissions and premieres since 1945.

BBC Radio 3 will join in the celebration by broadcasting its pick of Cheltenham Music Festival recitals from Pittville Pump Room in a series of four lunchtime concerts running from 30 June - 3 July


  • Master of the Queen's Music Judith Weir talks about her most recent festival commission The Prelude written for the Nash Ensemble in 2019, as well as her very first Cheltenham world premiere A Night At The Chinese Opera in 1987
  • Thea Musgrave's keynote address from the festival's inaugural Composium day in 2019 and thought-provoking talks and panel sessions with broadcaster Katy Hamilton, the RPS's James Murphy, composers Hannah Kendall, Emma-Ruth Richards, Huw Watkins, Zoe Martlew and former PRS Foundation CEO Vanessa Reed
  • Founder of Wild Plum Arts, Lucy Schaufer, and cellist/ composer Zoe Martlew discuss creativity in isolation, coping with lockdown and the first performance of Zoe's song cycle Musae at the Composium in 2019
  • Archive recordings of world premieres by John Tavener, Jonathan Dove, Gavin Higgins and Daniel Kidane

YouTube videos

  • Head of programming, Camilla King, talks to 2020 guest curator Jules Buckley about his life in music, from his first lessons, through life at the Guildhall and everything he's learnt as a composer and conductor. This is essential viewing for anyone interested in the performing arts.
  • 2020 Retreat scheme bursary recipient, pianist Sarah Nicolls, shares the performance of her 2016 Cheltenham Festival debut Moments of Weightlessness, a funny, poignant and striking theatrical examination of music and motherhood.
  • Members of the festival team give a behind-the-scenes insight into working in classical music and top tips for getting into the festival world
  • Composer Academy participants from 2018: Michael Zev Gordon, Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Bethan Morgan-Williams, and Sarah Rimkus, talk about their experiences of the programme, alongside performances of their Cheltenham commissioned string quartets, given by the Ligeti Quartet
  • Education manager Philippa Claridge joins Ben Jones to talk about the festival's year-round education programme Musicate, which helps primary school teachers bring the music curriculum to life. The programme has carried on during lockdown: instead of going into the classroom, the 'Musicats' have recorded a new video each week, with fun and interactive activities to do at home or at school.

Next year's Cheltenham Music Festival will take place on 2nd to 11th July 2021.

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