Up to 70% of performances are free entry!

We are one of the most accessible music festivals in the UK



* Denotes FREE entry with plate donations

*Friday 3rd May 1.30pm Sherborne Abbey | Sherborne School Chamber Concert

For the curtain-raiser to the 2019 Festival the Music Scholars of Sherborne School, who perform Friday lunchtime recitals in Cheap Street Church throughout the year, present a range of solos and chamber music by Mozart, Poulenc, Honegger and Haydn. Amongst the performers there are musicians with ATCL and LTCL diplomas; this is a concert of very high quality music-making. Come to hear these talented young performers showcase their fine musicianship just before their A-levels, and before university degree courses beckon them away from Sherborne.

Friday 3rd May 3.00pm Cheap Street Church | Varvara Tarasova and Yaroslava Trofymchuk

Sponsored by The Plume of Feathers

In 2014 Russian pianist Varvara Tarasova, born in St. Petersburg, won a scholarship from London’s Royal College of Music as a postgraduate student in Master of Performance under the tutelage of Professor Dina Parakhina. She currently collaborates with the Yamaha Artistic Centre and St. Petersburg International Performing Arts Centre. Ukrainian cellist Yaroslava Trofymchuk, ‘Best Performer’ in the Cello category at the IV International Lysenko Competition, has just completed the final year of her Master of Performance degree. She has played in some of the world’s most eminent concert halls, including Austria’s Wiener Musikverein, the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Konzerthaus in Berlin and the Royal Albert Hall. This programme features works by Schubert, Barber, Gershwin, Piazzola and Rachmaninoff. Tickets: £10

*Friday 3rd May 5.15pm Big School Room (BSR) Sherborne School

Sherborne School Swing Band: Fly me to the Moon

Director ~ James Henderson

Sherborne School Swing Band’s ever-popular annual concert will have you wishing that you could dance the late afternoon away, but the seats will be full and there will be standing room only, so arrive early and settle for nostalgic foot-tapping instead. Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Charlie Mingus, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole – music for everyone and the improvised solos are spectacular.



Friday 3rd May 7.45pm Sherborne Abbey | Nicola Benedetti CBE and Sherborne Abbey Festival Orchestra

Leonard Elschenbroich, conductor | Sponsored by Adanac

Nicola Benedetti CBE is one of the most sought-after violinists of her generation. Her ability to captivate audiences with an innate musicianship and dynamic presence, coupled with her wide appeal as a high-profile advocate for classical music, has made her one of the most influential classical artists of today. Conducted by Leonard Elschenbroich, led by Ruth Rogers and featuring Nicola Benedetti as solo violinist, Sherborne Abbey Festival Orchestra performs Mozart’s Don Giovanni Overture, Mendelssohn’s popular violin concerto and Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony Eroica – this is surely a concert not to be missed!

Tickets: £35, £25, £12

Photo credit: Kevin Westenberg



* Denotes FREE entry with plate donations


Saturday 4th May 10.00am-12.00 Sherborne Girls NEW Arts Centre | Workshop: La Traviata

In association with Dorset Opera Festival

Join three professional opera singers performing La Traviata – A Pocket Performance, for an inspiring and fun workshop for singers of all ages and abilities. The professionals, themselves experienced vocal animateurs, will put the workshop participants through their paces with a variety of styles and genres, incorporating technique, rhythm, movement and staging exercises. Finally, the newly-formed chorus will learn the famous ‘Drinking Song’ from La Traviata, and perform it alongside the professionals at a free, outdoor-staged ‘pocket performance’ of the show at Waitrose at 3pm. Workshop Tickets: £10

Sherborne Girls Directions and Parking





*Saturday 4th May at 10.30am Sherborne Abbey | Sherborne School Chamber Choir: Sacred & Secular

Director: James Henderson | Organists: Peter Bray & Kentaro Machida

Sherborne School Chamber Choir, which includes many ex-choristers of Salisbury and Winchester Cathedrals, sings a programme of sacred and secular music ranging from the 16th century to the present day. A newly commissioned set of Canticles, for the wonderful tenor and bass sonority, with organ, is complemented by the music of William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Hubert Parry and Matthew Martin, while a light-hearted Barbershop number – in the great tradition of encores – completes this forty-minute recital of choral music.




*Saturday 4th May at 3.00pm Castleton Church | Rossignol: La Follia, the Art of the Ground Bass

Following on from last year’s concert, which revealed how rounds and canons influenced Baroque composers, this year Rossignol explores the ground bass. This is a repeated bass line melody and harmonic structure underpinning a piece of music, vocal or instrumental. A modern example is the twelve-bar Blues. Many composers made use of this technique, including Purcell and J S Bach, and it can be combined with canonic writing, bringing together the two themes.



*Saturday 4th May at 3.00pm Outdoors at Waitrose | La Traviata ~ A Pocket Performance

In partnership with Dorset Opera Festival, a unique outdoor pop-up opera experience of Verdi’s masterpiece, La Traviata. Lynsey Docherty (Violetta), Anthony Flaum (Alfredo) and Philip Smith (Germont) have collectively sung at the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Dorset Opera Festival, Iford Opera and Grange Park Opera amongst others, and bring to Sherborne a passionate portrayal of Verdi’s most loved opera, performing with participants from the morning workshop.



Saturday 4th May at 4.30pm Cheap Street Church | Benjamin Hewat-Craw and Yuhao Guo

Presenting the legendary song cycle Winterreise by Franz Schubert, it tells of a winter’s journey made by the protagonist, who has recently been rejected by his fiancée. A compelling journey through both the external, wintry world and the internal bi-polarity of his soul makes this cycle one of the most famous works in all of classical music. Tickets £10


Saturday 4th May at 7.00pm Sherborne Abbey | TENEBRAE: England’s Finest

Sponsored by Girlings Complete Hearing

This programme celebrates the finest exponents of 20th century English choral music, in particular music by Ivor Gurney. Gurney’s association with the leading composers of the era began in earnest at the Royal College of Music where Parry was Director and Stanford taught him as did Vaughan Williams and Herbert Howells – the latter becoming a lifelong friend and a champion of his music. Tickets £25, £20, £12

Image credit: Sim Canetty-Clarke



* Denotes FREE entry with plate donations


*Sunday 5th May 9.30am Festival Eucharist | Abbey Choir (Sherborne Abbey)



*Sunday 5th May 11.15am Sung Mattins | Becket’s Consort (Castleton Church)




*Sunday 5th May 1.30pm Sherborne Abbey | Gryphon School Concert: Grease

The Gryphon School’s Music and Drama Departments present a selection of numbers from its sell-out autumn school production of Grease, the raw and long-running 1971 musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey – later adapted into the 1978 hit feature film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Named after the 1950s United States working-class youth subculture of ‘greasers’, Grease the musical is set in 1959 at fictional Rydell High School in Chicago and follows ten working-class teenagers as they navigate the still relevant complexities of teenage life. The score borrows heavily from the sounds of 1950s Rock ‘n’ Roll and includes timeless classics such as: ‘Summer Nights’, ‘Greased Lightning’, ‘Look At Me I’m Sandra Dee’, ‘Beauty School Drop-out’, ‘There are Worse Things I Could Do’ and ‘We Go Together’. Along with a number of songs written especially for the film adaptation, including: ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’, ‘Sandy’ and ‘You’re the One That I Want’.




*Sunday 5th May 3.30pm Cheap Street Church | Sherborne Young Singers

Sherborne Young Singers is now a choir of about 20 girls, aged from 8 to 15 years old and drawn from local schools. Come and hear them in a programme of popular songs with a few surprises thrown in for good measure. Their enthusiasm for singing is infectious!




*Sunday 6th May 5.00pm | Festival Choral Evensong with Sherborne Abbey Choir (Sherborne Abbey)

Organists: David Bednall & Peter Bray

Sunday services with the Abbey’s own Choir are always a focal point of the Festival and this year’s Choral Evensong promises an extra treat, with the first performance of a new anthem commissioned by the Festival from locally-born composer David Bednall. David is an Old Shirburnian and was one of the Abbey’s first organ scholars. He has since held posts at Gloucester, Wells and Bristol Cathedrals; his music is performed worldwide, and he has recently been signed up by Oxford University Press as one of their House Composers. The anthem takes as its text Psalm 93, with its celebratory theme.



Sunday 5th May 7.45pm Big School Room, Sherborne School | Clare Martin OBE and Ray Gelato:

Let There Be Love

Sponsored by The Three Wishes

Join musical partners and dear friends Claire Martin OBE and the UK’s ‘Godfather of Swing’ Ray Gelato, on this irresistible romp through the romantic classics of the Great American Songbook. Lose yourself in their interpretations of timeless favourite songs such as Gershwin’s ‘Embraceable You’, Nat King Cole hits ‘Let‘There Be Love’ and ‘When I Fall in Love’, alongside Dean Martin’s ‘That’s Amore’. Claire and Ray are joined on-stage by a stellar group of musicians representing the cream of British jazz talent. (A licensed bar will be available at this event)

Tickets: (Shared) Tables £25 per person
Stalls & Balcony Seats £18

Jazz Artistry … a delight ~ The Observer

She ranks amongst the four or five finest female jazz vocalists on the planet ~ Jazz Times USA

Gelato’s dapper mixture of swing and Louis Prima jumping jive remains as invigorating as ever ~ The Times



* Denotes FREE entry with plate donations


Monday 6th May 10.00am Sherborne Abbey Organ Recital | James O’Donnell

James O’Donnell, Director of Music at Westminster Abbey, presents a variety of music from English and French traditions. Opening with Marcel Dupré’s transcription of the brilliant Sinfonia from Bach’s Cantata 29, Wir danken dir, Gott and followed by the second of César Franck’s three Chorals – his very last works and Vaughan Williams’s serene prelude on the Welsh hymn tune Rhosymedre, the most celebrated of his few works for organ. Louis Vierne’s impressionistic Pièces de fantaisie lifted the organ out of the liturgical world and into the poetic, as his intense evocation of moonlight (Clair de Lune) demonstrates. The final three works include Stanford’s Fantasia and Toccata; the featherlight whimsy of Whitlock’s Scherzetto; and the swaggering pomp and circumstance of Walton’s Orb and Sceptre, composed for Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 Coronation. Tickets: £12

Image copyright Westminster Abbey

See James O’Donnells full biog


*Monday 6th May 10.30am Digby Memorial Church Hall | Disney’s Musical Film Fantasia (U Certification)

A FREE event for children, in association with Moviola

A relaxed, fun screening of Fantasia, the 1940 American animated feature produced by Walt Disney. The animation (suitable for children of all ages) is set to classical music, recorded under the direction of Leopold Stokowski, with seven of the eight pieces performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra. A children’s event, entry with accompanying adult(s) only. Tickets: FREE in advance


*Monday 6th May 12.30pm Sherborne Abbey | Leweston School Schola Cantorum: Even When He Is Silent

Leweston School’s senior choir, Schola Cantorum, and Music Scholar soloists present a miscellaneous programme of pieces showcasing music written in the 21st century. The concert’s featured composers include Alan Bullard, Cecilia McDowall and Kim André Arnesen.


*Monday 6th May 2.00pm West End Hall, Littlefield | Children’s Workshop: Kids That Rock

With Matt Tidswell

A free workshop aimed at 7-11 year olds, introducing guitar playing in a simple and fun way. Accessible to young people of all abilities and guitars will be provided. Matt will lead the class, teaching them how to hold the instrument, about different parts of the guitar, how to play the strings and press on frets; leading to playing along as a team to pop and rock music that children relate to. FREE entry, limited to 40 per session (tickets booked in advance), accompanied children only.

Monday 6th May 2.00pm Sherborne Girls Arts Centre | The Pity of War: Narrator Petroc Trelawny

A concert of music and words inspired by the First World War. Music by Debussy, Janácek and Elgar, with narration from poems and letters written by Wilfred Owen, interspersed by three violin sonatas composed around the time of the War. Performed by Martin Roscoe (Piano), Matthew Trusler (Violin) and Petroc Trelawny (Narrator). Tickets: £20

*Monday 6th May 4.30pm Castleton Church | Leweston School Senior Ensembles:

We are the Music Makers

Featuring Leweston School’s senior ensembles, including their Baroque Ensemble, Flute Group, Recorder Consort and Jazz Band. The programme comprises a wide repertoire from the past 400 years.


Monday 7th May 7.30pm Sherborne Abbey | Mendlessohn’s Elijah

Sherborne Festival Chorus & Sherborne Classical Players

Sponsored by Porter Dodson and Jan & Olav Eimstad

  • David Soar, bass, as Elijah
  • Josephine Goddard, soprano
  • Frances Gregor, messo-soprano
  • Rhys Batt, tenor
  • Adam Maxey, bass
  • Paul Ellis, conductor

Join the Festival’s own highly-acclaimed choir and period orchestra for a well-loved choral epic. Written for a British audience, Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah was a huge success at its première in Birmingham Town Hall in 1846. An enthusiastic audience of 2000 heard its first performance and The Times commented that there was ‘never a more thorough and speedy recognition of a great work of art’. It has remained one of the stalwarts of the choral repertoire ever since. With rich orchestral colour and stirring choruses, the powerful score brings to life the story of the great prophet Elijah, an important figure for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The piece is full of drama: earthquake, wind, fire and drought, famine, flood and resurrection are all there, inspiring the composer to produce some of his greatest music. Five soloists are led by bass David Soar as Elijah, much in demand on the concert platform and in the opera house, with major roles in the current season at the Royal Opera House and English National Opera.

Tickets: £30, £20, £12



* Denotes FREE entry with plate donations


Tuesday 7th May 11.00am Sherborne Girls Arts Centre | Ana Laura Manero:

The Birth of Romantic Piano Music, a tale of two souls

A superb concert of works by Beethoven and Schumann. Two piano sonatas by Beethoven frame the programme; the ‘Pathetique’ and the ‘Moonlight’. Followed by two works by young Schumann, at the prime of his life as a man and as a composer, for what promises to be a very exciting recital by this award-winning pianist. Tickets: £10


*Tuesday 7th May 1.30pm Sherborne Abbey | Sherborne Girls Madrigal Society

The Madrigal Society is delighted to perform at its traditional Tuesday lunchtime spot at the Festival. Their programme promises an eclectic mix of sacred and secular choral works for women’s voices.


*Tuesday 7th May 2.30pm Cheap Street Church | U3A Choir: Exsultate!

Sherborne U3A Choir and Madrigal Group performs an exciting programme, reflecting a wide range of styles and some appealing arrangements of familiar songs.


*Tuesday 7th May 4.30pm Cheap Street Church | Sherborne Girls Chamber Concert

Sherborne Girls String Orchestra, a vibrant ensemble of advanced string players, has performed alongside the Carducci and Brodowski Quartets, participated in masterclasses and received coaching from violinists Simon Standage and Ruth Rogers, cellist Guy Johnston and Baroque specialist Ricardo Barros. The school’s talented woodwind players likewise enjoy collaborations with leading musicians, including Paul Harris, Samuel Coles and Melanie Henry. All performers play an active role throughout the year in music outreach for the community.


Tuesday 7th May at 7.30pm Sherborne Abbey | Alexander Armstrong and his band

Sponsored by The Eastbury Hotel

Presenter, actor, quiz show host, singer, adventurer and comedian Alexander Armstrong has many strings to his entertainment bow. He is a trained classical baritone, having been a chorister at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh and Trinity College, Cambridge. Music has always been a huge love of Alexander’s and he presents a weekend radio show for Classic FM. In 2015 he joined forces with the stars of the Warner Music Group, working on a medley of classical songs for his debut solo vocal album, A Year of Songs. It reached number six on the UK Albums Chart in its first week and topped the UK Classical Charts, the first time a comedian/actor has reached number one in those charts! In 2016 he released his second album, Upon a Different Shore, and toured the UK performing. He also starred as Max Detweiler in an ITV special The Sound of Music Live in 2015. Expect an eclectic programme from ‘A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square’ to ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’, ‘Lullaby of Birdland’, ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ and many more…

Tickets: £45, £35, £15

Image: Dan Patrick Hipkin

Technical Note: This concert will be amplified with speakers (to achieve best sound balance between vocal microphone and instruments), the position of which are not known until the day. While endeavouring to satisfy the entire audience, please note Sherborne Abbey Festival cannot accept responsibility for interrupted sound or sight lines due to unforeseen technical requirements of the artist(s).

Sherborne Abbey Festival reserves the right to change the programme without further notice

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