The Elgar Festival (27 May – 2 June) is working with a 40% funding cut
from Arts Council England

In this short film, Festival Patron Julian Lloyd Webber introduces the Fundraising Campaign
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJobwXQdAx8

The Festival would be grateful for any publicity you can provide, or share our appeals on social media.
Patron, Julian Lloyd Webber introduces the Elgar Festival’s
Fundraising Campaign


The Festival is raising money to help deliver its 2024 iteration, due to a 40% funding cut from Arts Council EnglandDonations are valuable in helping to continue the legacy of one of England’s most revered composers
We believe Elgar is for everyone and our developing range of events are for people of all ages, interests, and lifestyles. Full programme provided below.

27 May – 2 June 2024
THE ELGAR FESTIVAL
‘The Origins of Inspiration’
in Worcestershire – the heart of Elgar Country

Programme/Booking www.elgarfestival.org

ELGAR FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
Friday 31 May, 1:00pm £10
LUNCH WITH ESTHER ABRAMI

Huntingdon Hall WR1 3LD
Esther Abrami is one of the most exciting young rising stars currently in the classical music world and the Elgar Festival’s Artist in Residence for 2024. Programme includes Vaughan Williams’ ‘The Lark Ascending’ and a selection of Elgar Miniatures.
 
Friday 31 May, 7:00pm £17
ELGAR’S WARTIME MASTERPIECE

Worcester Guildhall WR1 2EY
English String Orchestra
Kenneth Woods, conductor
Imogen Holst
Variations on ‘Loth To Depart’
Steve Elcock
Concerto Grosso (world premiere)
Elgar arr David Matthews
String Quartet
 
Friday 31 May, 9:30pm £10
CLUB ELGAR 1 WITH ESTHER ABRAMI & FRIENDS
Worcester Guildhall WR1 2EY
Highlights from Cinéma Esther’s new album, Cinéma, was released in September 2023 on Sony Classical. With a captivating collection of lush new arrangements for violin and orchestra of film and TV scores, classical music from the movies, anime hits and new compositions by Oscar-winning composers, Cinéma showcases Esther Abrami’s versatility, musical sensitivity and technical mastery.Saturday 1 June, 7:30pm £10 – £27
ELGAR FESTIVAL GALA CONCERT
Worcester Cathedral WR1 2LA
English Symphony Orchestra
Kenneth Woods, conductor
Zoë Beyers, violin
Elgar Violin Concerto, op. 61
Steve Elcock Wreck, op.10
Elgar Cockaigne (In London Town) op. 40 / Pomp and Circumstance Marches
 
Saturday 1 June, 10:15pm £10
CLUB ELGAR 2 WITH BLUE ENIGMA AND SPECIAL GUEST ALEX VOYSEY

Henry Sandon Hall WR1 2NE
Kenneth Woods, guitar
Alex Voysey, guitar
Joe Hoskin, bass
Sean McNicholas, drums
Elgar Festival Director Kenneth Woods swaps his baton for his other great musical love, blues guitar! Joined by his regular band Joe and Sean, and the UK’s blues rising star Alex Voysey, hear Elgar’s themes reimagined and threaded into a journey through blues history including music by Robert Johnson, Howlin’Wolf, Led Zeppelin, Joe Bonamassa and many others.
  
Sunday 2 June, 2:00pm £10
ELGAR’S PIANO QUINTET

Henry Sandon Hall WR1 2NE
English Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players
Steve Elcock Piano Quintet, op.34
Elgar Piano Quintet, op. 84

Other events at the Elgar Festival29, 30, 31 May – 1 June FREE
THE ELGAR FOR EVERYONE EXHIBITION

27 and 28 May FREE
CONDUCTING MASTERCLASS – with Kenneth Woods
 
Tuesday 28 May
MORGAN RALLY AROUND THE ELGAR ROUTE

 
Wednesday 29 May, 7:30pm £15
THE ELGAR FOR EVERYONE FAMILY CONCERT
Worcester Cathedral, WR1 2LA
ESO Youth Orchestras
Members of the English Symphony Orchestra
Festival Patron Julian Lloyd Webber and Festival Artist in Residence Esther Abrami co-host. Includes the winning performance of the festival’s 2024 Young Composers Competition.
 
Thursday 30 May FREE
RELAXED ELGAR
ESO wind section for people living with disabilities, dementia and other challenges.
 
STEVE ELCOCK IN CONVERSATION FREE
1.30pm The Firs, Elgar’s Birthplace, Lower Broadheath WR2 6RH
 
‘JENNY LIND – NATIONAL TREASURE’ FREE
3:00pm, The Firs, Elgar’s Birthplace, Lower Broadheath WR2 6RH
April Fredrick and Michèle Lammas lead an interactive talk and workshop 

Saturday 1 June
THE ELGAR CHORALE IN CONCERT £10

11:00am, St. Martin in the Cornmarket WR1 2DF
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Isle of Beauty / By the Lone Seashore
Arr. Donald Fraser, Elgar Sea Pictures
 
DISCOVERING ELGAR’S ORCHESTRA FREE
1.30pm, Worcester Guildhall WR1 2EY 
Worcestershire Symphony Orchestra / Keith Slade conductor
Elgar Introduction and Allegro Op.47
Vivaldi Concerto for two cellos in G min
Bach Brandenburg Concerto No.1 in F BWV 1046
 
THE JENNY LIND SINGERS IN CONCERT £10
3.30pm, Worcester Guildhall WR1 2EY
Lynne Lindner conductor, Nia Evans harp, Tim Sidford piano
An all-female choir specialising in performing and promoting works by both female and local composers, and championing new music. Works by Sarah Quartel, Roxanna Panufnik, Hildegard of Bingen, Elgar, Holst, and the world premiere of ‘Nimrod Reimagined’ by award-winning composer Liz Dilnot Johnson.

Sunday 2 June, 11:00am FREE
THE A.T. SHAW LECTURE WITH JULIAN LLOYD WEBBER
Museum of Royal Worcester WR1 2NE
Internationally renowned cellist, educator and Festival Patron, Julian Lloyd Webber, shares a lifetime of insights and memories about the Elgar Cello Concerto.PRESS RELEASE
27 May – 2 June 2024
THE ELGAR FESTIVAL – ‘The Origins of Inspiration’
www.elgarfestival.org

Lauded as ‘Critic’s Pick’ in both The Guardian and The Times, the Elgar Festival is an annual live celebration of the life and music of Worcester’s most famous son and Britain’s great composer, Sir Edward Elgar (1857–1934). Set in and around the composer’s home city, the event comprises concerts given by the resident English Symphony Orchestra (ESO) under their Principal Conductor and Festival Artistic Director, Kenneth Woods, with guest artists including Zoë Beyers and Esther Abrami and featured composer, Steve Elcock.Embodying the ethos ‘Elgar for Everyone’, the Elgar Festival engages with those of all ages and backgrounds in music and legacy at a number of integral venues of both historic interest and personal significance to the composer, including Worcester Cathedral and Guildhall.‘The Origins of Inspiration’

This year’s Festival is built around Elgar’s Violin Concerto – one of the composer’s most intimate works – and explores the composer’s personal inspirations, alongside those of his followers, with the theme ‘The Origins of Inspiration’. A performance will feature in the Gala Concert on Saturday 1 June when Kenneth Woods conducts the English Symphony Orchestra in Worcester Cathedral, with Zoë Beyers as soloist, alongside another of Elgar’s finest works, his ‘Cockaigne’ Overture.

“It’s my favourite of all violin concertos”, says Kenneth Woods, “and it’s a totally unique piece of music. No other concerto has such a mixture of grandeur and intimacy. On one level, it’s like a Mahler symphony with violin obligato, but on another, it’s like sitting alone in a room with Elgar listening to him share his innermost thoughts.”

“In looking to put together a programme worthy of this amazing piece, I thought we might think about where pieces like this come from. What inspires a composer to write a particular work at a particular point in time? Our theme is Origins of Inspiration, and we’ll look at all kinds of sparks that have lit the creative fires for Elgar and other great composers.”

Music of Today

This year’s featured composer is Steve Elcock, with whom the ESO has enjoyed a long and fruitful association. Elcock’s residency as John McCabe ‘Composer-In-Association’ resulted in premiere performances and recordings of his Symphony No.8 and Violin Concerto.  

“I’m very excited to share the music of our Visiting Composer, Steve Elcock, with Elgar Festival audiences”, says Kenneth Woods. “Steve is a true modern symphonist, whose music is full of passion, drama, melody, intensity and beauty. The works of his we share during this year’s festival showcase a composer helping keep alive the flame which Elgar lit over 100 years ago, with outpourings of humour, pathos and occasional ferocity.”

Elcock’s ‘Wreck’ Op.10 from 1998 and premiered by the ESO features in the Gala Concert and brings to life a ship at sea, battered by the elements, in what the composer refers to as a ‘‘symphonic allegory’’. The unavoidable “wreck” leads to a haunting if inaudible off-stage voice – ‘‘a message of salvation beyond despair, of consolation beyond grief.” Elcock will also give an audience at The Firs – Elgar’s Birthplace, and there will be the opportunity to hear Elgar and Elcock’s Piano Quintets back-to-back.

Reaching out to Younger Audiences

The Elgar Festival is committed to working with and inspiring young musicians and listeners and there are numerous opportunities for engagement including a Young Composers’ Competition, Conducting Masterclass and Relaxed Concerts. Many events are free-of-charge or priced accordingly.

Violin soloist, Esther Abrami, is one such ambassador, being a star of the younger generation who has found fame through her Tik-Tok profile which attracts thousands of young admirers.

The ‘Elgar for Everyone’ Family Concert in Worcester Cathedral is to be co-hosted by Esther Abrami and Festival Patron, Julian Lloyd Webber, and provides a platform for ESO Youth Orchestras and Ensembles – young musicians from across the Midlands’ region – in music by Ravi Shankar and Skaila Kanga, Morfydd Owen and Monika Stadler. Abrami will also feature traditional favourites by Elgar and Vaughan Williams during the Festival and hosts her own late-night ‘Club Elgar’ showcase.

Late-night Club Elgar

In addition to Esther Abrami’s showcase, Elgar Festival Artistic Director and Conductor, Kenneth Woods, will swap baton for guitar when he welcomes some of the UK’s finest blues and jazz musicians, including rising star guitarist Alex Voysey, to celebrate the music of Elgar and his followers in a late-night Club Elgar fixture.

Cream of English music

The English String Orchestra will perform Imogen Holst’s Variations on ‘Loth To Depart’; the World Premiere of Steve Elcock’s Concerto Grosso, and Elgar’s String Quartet arranged by David Matthews. Choral works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Elgar’s ‘Sea Pictures’ arranged for choir, are to be performed by The Elgar Chorale, and the Jenny Lind Singers bring repertoire both new and familiar by female and local composers, while Choral Evensong at the Cathedral provides a welcome addition to the Festival programme. Meanwhile, the Worcestershire Symphony Orchestra, which Elgar helped to found in 1905, will be ‘Discovering Elgar’s Orchestra’ and performing his dazzling audience favourite, ‘Introduction and Allegro’ for strings.

‘Elgar for Everyone’ FREE events

All concerts at the Elgar Festival offer FREE tickets for under 18s accompanied by full-paying adults. Many of the Festival’s events are free-of-charge and include a conducting masterclass, youth courses, relaxed concerts, talks, a film and illuminating exhibitions.
GoFundMe Campaign
Like many arts-based charities, the Elgar Festival is raising money to help deliver its 2024 iteration. Donations help towards costs for Relaxed concerts, artist’s fees and instrument and venue hire, and help to keep the free events free for all: https://www.gofundme.com/f/elgar-festival-2024

FURTHER INFORMATION AND TO BOOK TICKETS

Elgar Festival 27 May – 2 June 2024

Patron: Julian Lloyd Webber
Artistic Director: Kenneth Woods
Orchestra-in-Residence: English Symphony Orchestra
www.elgarfestival.org
elgar@elgarfestival.org
How to book tickets:
Online: 
www.elgarfestival.org
Telephone: 01905 611 427
In person: Worcester Theatres, Huntingdon Hall Box Office, CrownGate, Worcester WR1 3LD