New era for Cerne Abbas Festival

CERNE Abbas Music Festival, established in 1991 as a relaxed but high quality celebration of the chamber music repertoire, takes a new direction this year, with a new venue and an inaugural autumn series. Most concerts for this year’s festival, from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th July, will be in the usual venue, the village’s beautiful St Mary’s Church, with one event at Martinstown.

Since 1991, the Cerne Abbas festival has welcomed the Gaudier Ensemble to the village every year for a weekend of chamber music of the highest standard, in an informal atmosphere. The Ensemble is an international group of outstanding musicians who have brought a wonderful range of music from the 18th century to the present day, with intimate solo performances alongside larger mixed ensemble works.

There has always been a special atmosphere around the festival as these international musicians, directed by clarinettist Richard Hosford, have enjoyed a relaxing break from their busy touring schedules, immersing themselves in the peaceful life of this beautiful village.

The musicians this year are violinists Marieke Blankestijn, Ulrika Jansson and Gabriella Lester, violists Jane Atkins and Claire Hoffman, cellists Sally Pendlebury and Ursula Smith, Steven Williams, double bass, Maggie Cole, harpsichord and Michael Cox, flute.

The programme of concerts at the church across the weekend includes works by Corelli, Barriere, Bach, Telemann, Hummel, Dohnanyi, Rossini and Mozart.

As it enters a new era, the festival will continue to present varied programmes from the established repertoire as well as lesser known works, performed by musicians with a particular commitment to chamber music. The aim is to extend the scope of the festival by presenting concerts in other local venues, this year including Ashton Barn at Martinstown, where a concert at 5pm on Sunday 14th will feature Scandinavian and Scottish folk tunes, South American nuevo tango and Austrian foxtrots.

The musicians will include Gaudier Ensemble members and international colleagues, outstanding young professionals at the start of their careers and students who comprise the next generation of professional musicians. Richard Hosfor, pictured,  will continue as the festival artistic director.

Another new feature is an autumn series – details of Around Mozart, at Cerne Abbas church from 25th to 27th October will be confirmed later in the year.