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Cheltenham Music Festival set to be another classic

Where: Various venues in and around Cheltenham

When: Friday, July 3, to Sunday, July 12

Cheltenham Music Festival has announced 10 days of creative programming for its 76th Festival in July, as innovator and composer Jules Buckley joins as guest curator.

Forty events will take place across 12 venues in and around the Festival Town of Cheltenham. One of the most in-demand conductors and arrangers of contemporary orchestral projects, Buckley has curated several BBC Late Night Proms and is creative artist in association with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

He has worked alongside head of programming Camilla King on a Cheltenham Music Festival designed to bring classical music to the widest possible audience.

Jules Buckley said: "I am very honoured to have been asked to be guest curator for Cheltenham Music Festival. Alison Balsom [artistic director for the 75th Cheltenham Music Festival] is a good friend of mine and I'd always been a great admirer of her work. The reach of this festival is significant and over the years the different artists that it has attracted and the different programmes the festival has put together has been very appealing to me."

Accessibility is at the heart of the festival, with its Free Stage in Imperial Square in the centre of Cheltenham returning for the opening weekend. New audiences are invited to 'pay-what-you-can' for Classical Mixtape at Tewkesbury Abbey, while tickets under £15 are available for the majority of events.

Highlights include:

  • Jules Buckley conducts The Heritage Orchestra in The Music of Moroder. This will be the first European performance of the show created especially for Vivid Festival at Sydney Opera House celebrating the 80th birthday of "Father of Disco" Giorgio Moroder [July 4]
  • World-leading ensembles include Aurora Orchestra, Bliss Wind Ensemble, Carducci Quartet, The Heritage Orchestra, The Philharmonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Tenebrae
  • Top international artists include Matthew Barley, Ian Bostridge, Dame Sarah Connolly, Imogen Cooper, Bjarte Eike, Anna Fedorova, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Miloš Karadaglić, Elizabeth Llewellyn, Tasmin Little, Rachel Podger, Hilary Summers and Elizabeth Watts
  • Beethoven 250 celebrations start with an immersive weekend of chamber music in an idyllic corner of the Cotswolds [June 27/28]; includes 'Beethoven Up-Close' in privately-owned Cheltenham town houses [July 12] and new programme Ludwig by Matthew Barley [July 6]. Further Beethoven performances by New English Ballet Theatre, Bliss Wind Ensemble, The Philharmonia, Ian Bostridge & Imogen Cooper, and the Albion and Carducci Quartets
  • 14 world premieres including Playing For Time by Sarah Nicolls and Maja Bugge, a new immersive work combining scientific data, spoken word and music to illuminate the urgency of climate change [July 4] and organist Anna Lapwood premieres new works by Daniel Fardon and Freya Waley-Cohen [July 10]
  • An abundance of new talent with the BBC New Generation Artists, Sheku Kanneh-Mason and his siblings Isata and Braimah [July 9]; new choral group Sestina presenting a theatrical performance of Bach's music [July 7], and former BBC Young Musician finalists Ben Goldscheider [July 7] and Alexander Pullen [July 9]
  • Propellor Ensemble works with local primary school children for a major community project inspired by local folk tales to evoke the essence of Gloucestershire [July 12]
  • Events putting accessibility at the heart of the festival include an opening weekend of free folk, world, indie and classical music in Imperial Gardens in partnership with Classic FM, the UK's most popular classical music radio station, and Cheltenham BID. There's a family concert Summon The Superheroes with the RLPO [July 11], a musical ramble in the footsteps of Hubert Parry, taking in the wildlife sanctuary of Highnam Woods [July 3], 'pay-what-you-can' Classical Mixtape in picturesque Tewkesbury Abbey [July 8] and the Festival finale 'Alehouse Sessions' with Barokksolistene bringing Purcell's music alive [July 12]

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