One of England’s most colourful and characteristic composers – Sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) – is to be celebrated online over 16-17 October as part of the 16th International Malcolm Arnold Festival; an annual programme of music, films and talks on the multi-faceted composer and his music; this year taking place as part of wider celebrations to mark the composer’s centenary.

Celebrating the Centenary of Sir Malcolm Arnold
The centenary provides an opportunity for performers and audiences to revisit the life and works of this complex composer. According to the composer’s publisher, Novello; For well over 50 years Malcolm Arnold was a huge presence in British musical life and in a time of austere post-war music, he composed works against the grain of fashion – writing music of quintessentially British levity and wit that spoke directly to ‘real’ people.

Simon Callow to launch online celebration
Having successfully integrated concerts online during lockdown, this year’s celebratory-themed all-digital Malcolm Arnold Festival will host the annual discovery. Directed by Paul Harris and launched by actor Simon Callow, the event is being broadcast from the Director’s studio using pre-recorded films inter-cutting with both live and recorded music and informative introductions and discussions. Free-to-view, audiences will be invited to donate to the Festival’s Charity, who’s objectives are to advance the education of the public in the understanding and appreciation of Malcolm Arnold’s music.

“Reaching out to listeners across the globe…”
“We will be performing works from every decade of Arnold’s compositional life and across every genre of his repertoire, explains Paul Harris; from his student days, Irish period, extensive film music, chamber works – especially showcasing woodwind soloists – and from some of his most virtuoso compositions to those composed especially for younger players. Reaching out to listeners across the globe in this way is something Sir Malcolm would have greatly relished.”

Artists and authorities
Amongst those performers taking part will be recorder player Jill Kemp with the Coull Quartet, pianist Lynn Arnold, oboist Emily Ross; clarinettist Emma Johnson with pianist John Lenehan, and Members of the English Chamber Orchestra.

A number of ‘guest spots’ by Arnold authorities, who have contributed to the Festival over the years, will allow for discussion of his works and colourful life; composer Timothy Bowers discusses the symphonies and introduces a performance of the Viola Concerto; radio broadcaster John Griff focuses on the historic interviews made with the composer and, famed for his artistry of the trumpet, an illustrated talk by trumpeter Nicholas Budd will introduce a performance of the Trumpet Fantasy.

The programme continues with choral music from St. Matthew’s Church in Northampton, the town of Arnold’s birth, and concludes in suitably celebratory style with the ever popular A Grand Grand Overture, featuring three vacuum cleaners and a floor polisher!

How to view
The 16th International Malcolm Arnold Festival, 16 – 17 October 2021
Link to access: