Ryedale Festival’s 40th anniversary to start with online spring classics. Nicola Benedetti in June and 40 summer events to follow

Ryedale Festival: Going online for 40th anniversary spring season of concerts

RYEDALE Festival’s 40th anniversary celebrations will burst into life with the online Spring Festival from May 2 to 8.

Scottish-Italian violinist Nicola Benedetti and her trio then will launch Ryedale’s 40th Anniversary: Live and In Person series in Pickering on June 4.

Ryedale’s Summer Festival, from July 16 to August 1 will present such artists as Jess Gillam, Isata Kanneh-Mason, 2019 BBC Young Musician Coco Tomita, Abel Selacoe and the BBC Big Band, with many more names to be announced soon.

Solace, escape and hope will be at the heart of Ryedale Festival’s online-only Spring Festival, available on RyeStream, the festival’s streaming platform at ryedalefestival.com/ryestream/.

Nicola Benedetti: Launching Ryedale Festival’s Live and In Person series on June 4

Seven inspiring performances, each lasting approximately 50 minutes, will be filmed and shared over a week early next month, in collaboration with Castle Howard, the Yorkshire Arboretum and North East naturalist and filmmaker Cain Scrimgeour, whose camerawork will capture spring’s arrival in Yorkshire. 

The Spring Festival will kick off a 40th anniversary year wherein Ryedale Festival will reveal 40 headline events in “one-off, late-announced, open-ended, can-do bursts” that will enable the festival to remain responsive to the unique circumstances of Covid-clouded 2021 and still be as creative and flexible as possible. 

Clarinet and piano duo Michael Collins and Michael McHale will open the online festival on May 2 at 3pm with Beethoven’s Spring Sonata, a virtuoso showpiece by Widor and the spellbinding sonata that Poulenc composed for Benny Goodman.

On May 3, from the Long Gallery at Castle Howard, two of the brightest stars on the British piano scene, Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy, will perform Schubert’s gypsy-inspired piano duet, Divertissement à la Hongroise at 8pm.

Fair Oriana: Mixing renaissance and baroque with flavours of folk, medieval and contemporary music on May 4

The next day, soprano vocal duo Fair Oriana will mix renaissance and baroque with flavours of folk, medieval and contemporary music from the Great Hall, Castle Howard, in an 11am concert of imagination, innovation and intimacy entitled Now Is The Month Of Maying.

Rising York mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston and festival director Christopher Glynn, on piano, will take over the Long Gallery for Nature Is Returning on May 5 at 8pm. Spring- inspired songs by Schumann, Brahms, Copland and Finzi will be complemented by extracts from Charlston’s Isolation Songbook, her 2020 commission to reflect lockdown lives in music.

On May 6, in The Beauty Of The North at 1pm,the trademark joie de vivre of the Maxwell Quartet will illuminate St Mary’s Church, Ebberston, with one of Haydn’s most sparkling quartets (Opus74, No.1), alongside Scottish folk music and Anna Meredith’s tribute Teenage Fanclub, the Scottish grungy power-pop band that she loved as a teenager.  

Friday night, May 7, will see the fast-rising combo The Immy Churchill Trio toast the arrival of spring with a late-night session of jazz standards from the Great American Songbook at Helmsley Arts Centre. Vocalist Immy Churchill will be joined by Toby Yapp, on bass, and Scottie Thompson, on piano, for this Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year programme at 9pm.

Helen Charlston: 2020 commission to reflect lockdown lives in music. Picture: Ben McKee

Finishing the online spring celebrations back at Castle Howard with The Lark Ascending on May 8 at 3pm, the virtuosic London Mozart Players and violinist Ruth Rogers will perform an irresistible chamber programme of Grieg’s Holberg Suite, Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending and Vivaldi’s Springfrom The Four Seasons.

The Spring Festival season will be available to view on RyeStream until the end of May. Each concert is free-to-view but with the request of a donation to support the festival.

Director Christopher Glynn says: “We are delighted with our Spring Festival, which promises to be a wonderful mix of great music in beautiful places. I asked our fantastic line-up of performers to reflect a hopeful, springtime theme in their programmes, which we’ll interweave with footage specially created by the superb wildlife filmmaker, Cain Scrimgeour, who is spending several days capturing spring’s arrival in and around the Yorkshire Arboretum.

“I’ve asked Cain simply to capture what we might have seen – if we were lucky – on a country walk to attend the concerts in person, and to reflect the importance of nature as a place of solace, escape and regeneration during lockdown days.”

“I asked our fantastic line-up of performers to reflect a hopeful, springtime theme in their programmes,” says Ryedale Festival director Christopher Glynn. Picture: Gerard Collett

On Friday, June 4 ,in-person music making returns to Ryedale Festival at Pickering Parish Church at 4pm and 8pm, when Nicola Benedetti will open her festival residency by launching the Live and In Person series, joining her regular chamber music partners, cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and pianist Alexei Grynyuk, to perform one of Beethoven’s wittiest and most loveable works and an inspired piano trio by Brahms.

Glynn adds: “There will be no brochure and no ‘big-reveal’ of the programme this year. Instead, our 40th anniversary will be a ‘build-as-we-go’ festival, where the full 40-piece jigsaw gradually comes into view.

“We will still concentrate wonderful performances in July, but we will also remain as creative and flexible as possible to make the very best of this different landscape for both artists and audiences.”

Planned in a spirit of optimism and renewal, and bringing some of the most exciting artists of the moment to North Yorkshire, the programme for Ryedale’s Summer Festival will consist of 40 headline events, some that may be repeated or shared on RyeStream.

Abel Selacoe: South African cellist confirmed to play at Ryedale Festival’s summer celebrations with more details to follow. Picture: Mlungisi Mlungwana

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