Ruth Rogers joins the Festival team

Ruth Rogers joins the Festival team


We are delighted to announce that Ruth Rogers, “one of the most gifted young violinists in Britain”, and previous performer at Sherborne Abbey Festival (most recently with the Iuventus Quartet and Sir James and Lady Galway),  has agreed to join the Festival as Artistic Advisor.  She will lend her considerable experience of classical artists to the 2017 event and the Festival is honoured to work with her.


Read Ruth’s biography below and find out more about her at

Born in London in 1979, Ruth Rogers began violin lessons at the age of five. In 1997 she was awarded a Foundation Scholarship to the Royal College of Music to study with Itzhak Rashkovsky, where she won many major prizes and awards. Ruth graduated in 2001 with First Class Honours and was awarded the Tagore Gold medal – the College’s highest accolade – by HRH The Prince of Wales. Further study followed in the Netherlands with Herman Krebbers.

As a soloist, Ruth’s playing has been described as “not calculated in any sense, her performance style and technique so assured that the music flows as a natural consequence of innermost understanding. Ruth Rogers must be one of the most gifted young violinists in Britain.” (Musical Opinion.) Winner of the prestigious Manoug Parikian Award and chosen as a 2004 Young Artist by the Tillett Trust, Ruth also reached the Finals of the YCAT competition, Royal Overseas League, and the BBC Radio 2 Young Musician of the Year. She gave her London debut recitals at the Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room in 2003 and has also appeared as a soloist at the Royal Albert Hall, St John’s Smith Square and many other venues.

From 2008 until 2012 Ruth was the co-leader of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Ruth also performs with the John Wilson Orchestra. In March 2015 Ruth was appointed as one of the Leaders of the London Mozart Players. She regularly guest leads the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Aurora Chamber Orchestra and has appeared in principal roles with the Hallé, Philharmonia and RLPO. She has led orchestras under the batons of such maestros as Lorin Maazel, Daniele Gatti, Sir Colin Davis and Sakari Oramo, and has performed concertos with the City of London Sinfonia, City of Oxford Orchestra, London Strings, and New London Soloists Orchestra.

As chamber musician, Ruth has performed at the Aldeburgh and Bath Festivals with the Tate Ensemble and with pianist John Lill in Shostakovich’s piano quintet. She is a member of the Iuventus String Quartet and the Aquinas Piano Trio and has appeared at the Wigmore Hall with the Nash Ensemble. In February 2009 Ruth reached the final of an International Duo Competition with Martin Cousin – the Franz Schubert and Modern Music International Competition which took place in Graz, Austria. They were one of five duos in the final, chosen from thirty-seven participating duos.

Ruth was chosen personally by Lorin Maazel to perform with the tenor Andrea Bocelli in a series of concerts, which has led to television and radio broadcasts and further concerts worldwide at such venues as the Pyramids in Cairo, the Acropolis in Athens, and the Piazza del Campo in Siena. They performed together at the Royal Albert Hall with the English Chamber Orchestra for the Classical Brit Awards. Ruth has given recitals at the Brighton, Buxton, Harrogate and Warwick Festivals thanks to the Tillett Trust. She has given recitals with Martin Cousin in Indonesia and Thailand.

In 2006 Ruth played to orphans, refugees, malaria patients and land-mine victims on the Thai-Burma border and in 2008 she went back there again with the Iuventus Quartet. In February 2006, Ruth’s debut recital CD was released. Recorded with pianist Sarah Nicolls, it features works by Handel, Elgar, Ginastera, Massenet, Fauré, Kreisler and Kroll. The CDs are £10 each and you can order copies by emailing with your name, address, telephone number, and the number of copies requested. Proceeds from the CD sales will go to help those in need on the Thailand-Burma border. Ruth has also recorded Piazzolla’s ‘History of the Tango’ with guitarist Morgan Szymanski, and released several discs as a member of the Aquinas Piano Trio.

International Music & Dance Fest

International Music & Dance Fest

In 2016 the Douzelage Organisation marks 25 years since its founding.  The intervening years have provided opportunities for thousands of people to join in educational, cultural, sporting, tourist, social, volunteer management and environmental projects, events and exchanges with partner towns across Europe. The Douzelage has organised many projects in Sherborne and regularly taken part in ones abroad.

There will be a celebratory Music and Dance Festival in Sherborne, Dorchester and surrounding villages from 19 to 21 August 2016. The programme of events will include Folk Groups from three European countries, plus Wessex Morris Men, Treacle Eater Clog and the Yetminster Irish Dancers and many more.

Outline Programme

Friday 19 August: FREE EVENTS

Dance Lessons for Children, folk culture discussions, Live performances in Sherborne and villages, evening Open Mike sessions in Sherborne Pubs, The Crown and The White Hart.

Phone Mary 01963 251255 to reserve places on Dance Classes.

Phone Kevin 07825 152251 for information on Workshops

Saturday 20 August: FREE EVENTS

Dance lessons for adults, Workshops, Discussions, Live performances around Sherborne, an afternoon Fair in Pageant Gardens (food and drink stalls, bring a picnic), Gala concert (Tickets for Gala from TIC & Winstones)

Sunday 21 August:

Discussions, workshops, touring and social

The Three Day Programme can be found at this link: Programme summary


Opera in Oborne 2016

Opera in Oborne 2016

Friday 12th – Sunday 14th August 2016



Opera in Oborne began out of a chance meeting between Oborne residents, Sir Robert and Lady Susan Corbett and Gill Ford, the musical director of a group of opera singers, Classical Connections. A lasting friendship between the whole merry band ensued. They often speak wistfully of the night that Sir Robert Shimmied to La Bayadere!

Some years later, St Cuthbert’s was looking for a fund raiser and Sir Robert and Lady Susan had the wonderful idea of hosting a concert at St. Cuthbert’s Church performed by Classical Connections. On a very cold January evening in 2012, four singers and a pianist gave a breath-taking performance of popular arias to Oborne’s residents. Such was the success of the evening that they were immediately press-ganged into returning. 2013 saw another wonderful performance, but the unreliable church heating and the icicles on the pulpit persuaded the villagers that this should be a summer event.

In 2014, to refresh the format, it was decided to produce an abridged opera. With the help of Gill and the singers, Mozart’s The Magic Flute was decided upon and a version was arranged by Stephen Brown. On a balmy August weekend, the inaugural Oborne Opera Weekend took place. The Magic Flute was a triumph, and the Sunday concert was as good as ever. All three evenings were sell-out performances.

2015 saw an abridged version of Mozart’s Don Giovanni along with a few new faces.  We were very lucky to have had Susanna Stranders, Head of Music Staff at Garsington Opera as accompanist; later in 2015 she arranged Don Giovanni for the Royal Opera House’s tour to the Far East.

2016 will see the fifth Opera festival in Oborne and we will be following a similar format, with an abridged version of Le Nozze di Figaro on the Friday and Saturday evenings and a gala concert on the Sunday.  We are delighted to welcome back Susanna Stranders back as musical director, along with the regular singers Eleanor Ross, Stephen Anthony Brown, Florian Bonneau, Maribeth Diggle and special guests.

Festival attracts record audiences

Festival attracts record audiences


From Renaissance music to the Man with the Golden Flute, Sherborne Abbey Festival entertains thousands

Now in its seventeenth season, Sherborne Abbey Festival has attracted record audiences over the early May bank holiday weekend. More than 10,000 visitors to its website during April was an indication that the event would be well supported, and organisers were not disappointed.

Festival Director, John Baker, said “Every year seems to get better for our award-winning festival. With seventeen free events plus world-class performances by international music stars, we are now attracting thousands of visitors to Sherborne from all corners of the UK – and our website tells us we attract interest from all around the world too, offering a major tourist attraction and boost to the local economy”.

Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway played to an audience of 700 in Sherborne Abbey, accompanied by the Iuventus Ensemble with Ruth Rogers (an OG of Sherborne Girls) showing exceptional talent on the violin. Their repertoire from Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn thrilled the audience, many of whom managed to meet ‘the man with the golden flute’ afterwards, before he retired to The Eastbury Hotel.

Globally-renowned VOCES8, with their eight beautifully integrated solo voices, not only performed From the Cradle to the Cross to an audience of more than 600 in Sherborne Abbey but they also staged a workshop for pupils at Sherborne Primary School earlier in the day.

Yeovil-born and Wells Cathedral School pupil, Andrew Dewar (now organist at The American Cathedral in Paris), performed a repertoire including Bach, Purcell, Vivaldi and Reger in Sherborne Abbey which captivated the large audience watching him play close up on the big screen.

The Festival closed on Tuesday evening with Stile Antico, renowned for their vibrant and expressive performances of music from the Renaissance, presenting The Touches of Sweet Harmony, an enticing programme devised to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.

Jazz provided the liveliest events of the season.  The Ronnie Scott’s All Stars concert sold out on the day of release for a brief couple of hours the audience was transported London’s famous Ronnie Scott’s jazz club and enjoyed a narrative with real film clips following the club’s colourful history.  While Sherborne School Swing Band wowed a packed Powell Theatre with its renditions of popular jazz and swing numbers, demonstrating exceptional musical and singing talent.

The Festival includes and encourages young talent from all local schools and this year was no exception. Young musicians and singers skilfully performed jazz, madrigal, choral and chamber ensembles while The Gryphon School and Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir’s concert Ahoy! Sing for the Mary Rose (a fusion of Tudor-style music and British Sea Shanties) attracted a huge crowd to Sherborne Abbey.

A much anticipated highlight was the performance by Sherborne Festival Chorus, a non-auditioning community-based choir of 140 people, created in 2006 by John Baker on behalf of Sherborne Abbey Festival, to enable and encourage local people to sing to a high standard within an informal environment. Together with The Sherborne Chamber Choir and Chameleon Arts Orchestra they presented an all-English programme featuring twentieth century composers, Vaughan Williams and Howells.

Profits from the Festival not only helps to fund future free events but it creates a charitable fund which continues to support the Abbey Choir and the maintenance of Sherborne Abbey’s organ. This year the Festival also paid for cushioned seating throughout the Abbey, so visitors will find the pews extra comfortable for events and worshipping all year round!  Major grants have been given to Sherborne Young Singers and to ex-members of the Abbey Choir to help advance their musical careers, including at the Royal Academy in London and to study opera in Germany.

From improvisation workshops, poetry and close harmonies to salon baroque, madrigals and classical ukulele, the Festival delivered a varied programme with something for everyone.  John Baker said “Where to start to compare the breadth of performances over these past five days? Each in its own way outstanding. Globally renowned performers were in a class of their own, while our own home grown talent shone equally bright.  For an entirely voluntary run, charitable Festival we really punch above our weight and I’m enormously proud of all we have achieved this year”.




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