Quick Guide:

*Denotes FREE ENTRY with plate donations

Friday 1st May

11.00am* Dominican Convent School Choir (Sherborne Abbey)
1.30pm* Sherborne School Chamber Concert (Sherborne Abbey)
4.45pm* Jazz at the Powell: Sherborne School Swing Band (Powell Theatre, Abbey Road)
7.30pm ‘Strictly Viennese’ with Adam Summerhayes, the Viennese Fever Orchestra and dancing by Strictly Come Dancing professionals Matthew & Nicole Cutler (Sherborne Abbey) Book online now

[8.00pm Re-scheduled to 7 Nov War Horse ~ Only Remembered: Michael Morpurgo]

Saturday 2nd May

10.00am Recorder Workshop: i Flautisti (Stuart Centre, Sherborne Girls)
10.30am* Sherborne School Chamber Choir & Close Harmony (Sherborne Abbey)
12.00pm Lieder & Song, Shakespeare & Heine: Ben Craw (Cheap Street Church)
2.00pm Sound Clouds: i Flautisti (Sherborne Abbey)
4.00pm* From the Court of Frederick the Great: Rossignol (Castleton Church)
8.00pm Russian Treasures: Tenebrae (Sherborne Abbey)

Sunday 3rd May

9.30am* Festival Eucharist: Abbey Choir (Sherborne Abbey)
11.15am* Sung Mattins: Becket’s Consort (Castleton Church)
1.30pm* Zimbe!: Gryphon School Choirs & Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir (Sherborne Abbey)
3.45pm* [Correction from 3.00pm + change of venue, with apologies] Sherborne Young Singers (Cheap St Church)
5.00pm* Choral Evensong with the combined choirs of Romsey Abbey & Sherborne Abbey (Sherborne Abbey)
6.00pm Patrons’ Evening (The Eastbury Hotel)
7.45pm Edith Piaf – A Celebration of a Legend: Tina May & her musicians (Big School Room)

Monday 4th May

10.30am Kaleidoscope: Margaret Phillips, Organ (Sherborne Abbey)
1.00pm* Schola Cantorum, Leweston School (Sherborne Abbey)
2.15pm* Sherborne Early Music (Cheap Street Church)
4.30pm* Legends & Laments: Samantha Muir, Classical Guitar (Castleton Church)
7.30pm A German Requiem (Brahms): Sherborne Festival Chorus & Chameleon Arts Orchestra (Sherborne Abbey)

Tuesday 5th May

1.30pm* Madrigal Society of Sherborne Girls (Sherborne Abbey)
2.30pm* Lecture/Recital:  A Journey Towards Silence | Samantha Muir, Classical Guitar (Church Hall, Digby Rd)
4.30pm* Sherborne Girls String Orchestra (Castleton Church)
7.30pm Devotions: VOCES8 (Sherborne Abbey)

Doors open 45 minutes before stated concert times

*Denotes FREE ENTRY with plate donations

Please note: The Festival reserves the right to change the programme without further notice.


Note to programme: See Sun 3rd May:

3.45pm* [Correction to time and venue, with apologies] Sherborne Young Singers (now at Cheap Street Church)


Friday 1st May | 11am Sherborne Abbey

Dominican Convent School Choir

We welcome the Dominican Convent School Choir back to Sherborne Abbey. They shine far beyond their native Johannesburg, offering something unique: a heady mix of African spiritual and secular music, through which we hear the values of truth, justice, peace, reconciliation, love, hope and joy.

Dominican Convent School Choir_webv.

Friday 1st May | 1.30pm Sherborne Abbey

Sherborne School Chamber Concert

A variety of chamber music will be performed by the school’s most talented musicians, as often heard in the weekly lunchtime recitals in Cheap Street Church, with music ranging from Vivaldi to Rachmaninov.

Friday 1st May | 4.45pm Powell Theatre, Abbey Road

Jazz at the Powell: Sherborne School Swing Band

The Swing Band has built a strong reputation for its performances both of big band charts and popular Frank Sinatra/Michael Bublé numbers. A tour of Barbados in 2014, which included the recording of another CD, was followed by an immediate invitation for a return visit. The bigger venue for this year’s tea-time jazz will be the Powell Theatre, the audience having outgrown the Music School: arrive early to secure a seat.

Friday 1st May | 7.30pm Sherborne Abbey

*NEW* Strictly Viennese

‘Strictly Viennese’ with Adam Summerhayes, the Viennese Fever Orchestra and dancing by Strictly Come Dancing professionals Matthew & Nicole Cutler Book online now


The performance above replaces War Horse Only Remembered

War Horse ~ Only Remembered: Michael Morpurgo Re-scheduled to 7th November

Read the update about this rescheduled performance

Readings by Michael Morpurgo | Songs performed by John Tams & Barry Coope “War Horse the book was inspired by a fireside chat in a Devon pub, over 30 years ago, with a veteran of the First World War. It has since been a National Theatre play, a symphony concert piece, a radio play and the Spielberg movie. But this concert version adapted by John Tams (the song-maker of the NT production, now four years into its London run) and sung by John Tams himself and Barry Coope, is the closest of all the adaptations to the original book, in which the voice of the storyteller is the voice of Joey, the horse on a Devon farm, sold away to the army to go to the front in 1914. And it’s the version in which, as the reader of the story on stage, I am most involved. Every time I read it, with John and Barry’s glorious music interwoven with the words, I feel as if I’m telling it for the first time, as if I was there, as the old soldier in the pub was, all those years ago.” – Michael Morpurgo “A captivating and poignant experience – read with so much expression by Michael, and the songs so simply presented, so familiar, taking on new life as an integral part of the story. By the end of the performance there was scarcely a dry eye in the audience.” Hector Gilchrist for efestivals.co.uk For those who would like to speak with him, Michael will be at the back of the Abbey after the performance. Listen to the sounds of War Horse – Only Remembered


Saturday 2nd May | 10.00am Stuart Centre, Sherborne Girls

Recorder Workshop: i Flautisti

Learn about the history and various types of recorders and explore contemporary playing techniques with i Flautisti.
Attendees will also be invited to participate in the afternoon concert, to which they have free entry. Find out more and listen to the sounds of iFlautisti

Saturday 2nd May | 10.30am Sherborne Abbey

Sherborne School Chamber Choir and Close Harmony

The Chamber Choir, which includes two one-to-a-part barbershop groups and a close harmony group, consists largely of ex-cathedral choristers from all over the country who are now music scholars at the school. A broad repertoire includes music by Lhéritier, Palestrina, Tallis and specially commissioned arrangements by Paul Drayton of popular numbers in the style of the King’s Singers.

Saturday 2nd May | 12.00pm Cheap Street Church

Lieder & Song, Shakespeare & Heine: Ben Craw

Tickets at £4 will be sold on the door

Sherborne born and bred baritone Ben Craw, accompanied by Caroline D’Cruz, presents two champions of the English and German literary canons: an eclectic mix of Shakespeare’s poems set by Finzi and other English composers alongside Heinrich Heine’s Dichterliebe set to music by Schumann.

Saturday 2nd May | 2.00pm Sherborne Abbey

Sound Clouds: i Flautisti

i Flautisti will perform a programme that will carry the audience through centuries of recorder music, from the renaissance period up until music that was only recently written for the group. Workshop attendees will also participate. Each adult ticket also admits 2 children.

Saturday 2nd May | 4.00pm Castleton Church

Music from the Court of Frederick the Great: Rossignol

This year’s concert by Rossignol will feature music from the court of Frederick the Great. As well as being an accomplished flautist and composer, Frederick attracted musicians from all over Europe to his court at Potsdam. The concert will include music by J S Bach, Quantz, and Frederick the Great himself.

Saturday 2nd May | 8.00pm Sherborne Abbey

Russian Treasures: Tenebrae

Tenebrae Static 3 _ credit Chris O'Donovan

There is a wealth of choral music associated with the liturgy from the Eastern Orthodox Churches, dating back to the 16th Century and evolving more-or-less uninterrupted until the sudden decline in the Church’s fortunes which accompanied the Bolshevik Rebellion in 1917. This programme includes works from two of the greatest names in Russian music, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, as well as gems by less well known composers, such as Chesnokov, Golovanov and Kalinnikov, rarely sung outside Russia.  Read more about the programme and choir

“Tenebrae’s precision, dynamic range, unanimity of sound and musicality were nothing short of astonishing…It was breathtakingly beautiful.” – Cleveland Classical

“More polished choral singing would be hard to find.” – BBC Music Magazine

“Tenebrae reveals itself as one of those exceptional choirs whose individual singers have been moulded into a single superbly sensitive and responsive musical instrument.” – The Telegraph


Sunday 3rd May | 1.30pm Sherborne Abbey

Zimbe! (Alexander L’Estrange)

The Gryphon School Choir with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir


‘Zimbe’ (an Anglicized version of the Swahili word ‘Ziimbe’ meaning ‘Sing Them’) is an uplifting celebration of African
music written for SATB chorus, children’s choir and instrumental jazz quintet. The composer Alexander L’Estrange combines traditional African songs with infectious jazz, pop and world music-inspired accompaniments to take the listener on a whirlwind tour of the experiences and emotions of life in a typical African village.  Listen to the sounds of Zimbe!

Sunday 3rd May | 3.45pm [correction from 3.00pm + change of venue, with apologies] Cheap Street Church

Sherborne Young Singers

Sherborne Young Singers is an all girls choir with ages ranging from 9 – 15 yrs; the membership comprises children from six different local schools. This year the choir will perform a variety of music from arrangements of traditional folk songs, sacred pieces and contemporary show music. Composers will include Alexander L’Estrange, John Rutter and Tim Minchin.

Sunday 3rd May | 7.45pm BSR, Sherborne School

Edith Piaf – A Celebration of a Legend

Tina May and her musicians

Edith Piaf - flyer (crop)

In this centenary year of Edith Piaf’s birth, multi award winning vocalist, Tina May, brings to life the music and song of France’s most beloved entertainer, national icon and musical legend. A gifted lyricist, consummate vocalist and sparkling entertainer, Tina May’s astonishing vocal ability and hypnotic stage presence has won her worldwide acclaim. See her masterfully capture the magic of Piaf with classics including La vie en rose, Hymne à l’amour, Milord and Non, je ne regrette rien.  Read more about Tina May’s performance and listen to her sounds.

“Handles the classics as the gems they still are.” – The Guardian

“That great rarity, a singer who enhances a song.” – The Observer


Monday 4th May |10.30am Sherborne Abbey

Kaleidoscope – Virtuoso Organ Music: Margaret Phillips


Margaret Phillips is Professor of Organ at the Royal College of Music. Reflecting her interest in Bach – she has recorded all his organ works to critical acclaim – the concert opens with his exuberant and virtuosic Prelude & Fugue in D. In complete contrast are pieces by living composers: Miroir, a sparkling minimalist piece by Dutch composer Ad Wammes, which has deservedly attained almost iconic status, and Nun freut euch by the Swiss organist and composer Lionel Rogg, both showing off the various colours of the Sherborne Abbey organ. The final work, a French symphony in the grand romantic style, concludes with a brilliant toccata.

Between 2.30 and 4pm there will be an opportunity to visit the English Organ School and Museum in Milborne Port, where Margaret and her husband have a collection of organs by English organ builders from the eighteenth century to the present day.  Listen to the sounds of Margaret Phillips

“Her attention to detail of phrasing, articulation and registration, combined with stylish and polished playing reinforces her position as a leading interpreter of Bach’s music.“
– Liam Cartwright, The Organ

Monday 4th May | 1 pm Sherborne Abbey

Schola Cantorun, Leweston School

Leweston School Schola Cantorum will present a programme of music from the Victorian era, including excerpts from Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. Topping Tooters of The Town: Sherborne Early Music

Monday 4th May | 2.15pm Cheap Street Church

Music of Civic Bands from Renaissance Europe

Explore the world of the Waits, the musicians whose sight and glorious sound were indispensable to the sense of civic pride and status in 16th and 17th century Europe: these wind players were the finest to be heard and could rival the musicians at court for their skill and virtuosity.

Monday 4th May |4.30pm Castleton Church

Legends & Laments from Brazil: Samantha Muir, Classical Guitar

Samantha Muir Sherborne Abbey Festival 2015

Samantha will perform works by two icons of Brazilian music, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Dilermando Reis, from her new CD, Alma Apaixionada – Passionate Soul. Samantha will also play a selection of duets with Lara Taylor, a music scholar at Sherborne School for Girls.  Listen to the sounds of Samantha Muir

Monday 4th May | 7.30pm Sherborne Abbey

Sherborne Festival Chorus & Chameleon Arts Orchestra

Brahms: A German Requiem, Tragic Overture | Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder

Conductor Paul Ellis

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This year’s performance by the Festival’s own highly acclaimed choir brings together two great composers of the late nineteenth century. A well-loved masterpiece of the choral repertoire, Brahms’ uplifting setting of the Requiem established him as a major composer. Written for ‘all humanity’ and filled with soaring melody, its progression from suffering to consolation makes it a work of drama, emotion and hope. ‘I have done nothing better than these songs’, Wagner said about his five Wesendonck Lieder, composed to poems by Mathilde Wesendonck. Mathilde was certainly his creative muse for a time and these love songs celebrate their intense collaboration; Wagner presented the songs to her as a birthday present.

Soloists are Melanie Armitstead (Soprano), Craig Bissex (Bass) and Frances Bourne (Mezzo Soprano).

“…the large audience was so absorbed that when the end came there was a period of silence before the clapping began. It was a magical moment, reflecting the excellence of the performance.”
– Western Gazette


Tuesday 5th May | 1.30pm Sherborne Abbey

The Madrigal Society of Sherborne Girls

The Madrigals Society’s programme promises a delightful mix of sacred and secular music for women’s voices, the former ranging from Purcel to Goodall, and the latter including folksongs from the four countries of the British Isles alongside new works by Bob Chilcott and Canadian composer Sarah Quantel.

Tuesday 5th May | 2.30pm Church Hall, Digby Road

The Journey Towards Silence – Chant for solo guitar

copyright Josie Elias 2

Lecture/Recital | Samantha Muir, Classical Guitar

This lecture/recital was presented at the launch of the International Guitar Research Centre at Surrey University in March 2014. From ancient Byzantine hymns to singing bowls and the poetry of Rumi and Blake, Samantha will offer a new interpretation of Sir John Tavener’s unique and rarely heard work for the classical guitar. The lecture will include a performance of Chant.

Tuesday 5th May |4.30pm (Castleton Church)

Sherborne Girls String Orchestra

Making their debut in the Abbey Festival the Sherborne Girls String Orchestra is ideally suited to the intimate atmosphere and acoustics of Castleton Church. Under the direction of Head of Strings, Catrin Win Morgan, this talented ensemble will perform iconic works by Mozart and Walton, together with a variety of solos and music for string quartet.

Tuesday 5th May | 7.30pm Sherborne Abbey

Devotions: VOCES8

Voces8 (edit)

Presented by candlelight and including masterworks from five centuries, Devotions explores the beauty of sacred choral music in an inspiring and atmospheric concert presentation. Built around devotional texts written by Saint Augustine and set to music in Alexander Levine’s 2013 commission for Voces8, the ensemble will explore the acoustic qualities of the performance venue with chant, polyphony, spirituals and candlelit processions. Devotions includes music taken from the Decca Classics album to be released in 2015.

“’Radiant’ and ‘luminous’ are adjectives that are perhaps overused in describing choral sound, but in this case they are fully deserved” – Stephen Eddins, AllMusic

“Pitch-perfect harmonies, in dreamily sumptuous sonics.” – BBC Music Magazine

If you like The Sixteen, you will love Voces8.

Read more


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