Northern Aldborough Festival to open tonight with first of many sold-out concerts

Lesley Garrett: Sold-out concert on Thursday at Northern Aldborough Festival

THE 2021 Northern Aldborough Festival is going ahead as planned, with Covid-secure and social distancing measures, from today until Sunday.

The Haffner Ensemble, with pianist Danny Driver, open the festival tonight at St Andrew’s Church, Aldborough, near Boroughbridge, with a 7.30pm programme of Poulenc, Mozart and Beethoven.

The chamber ensemble was founded by oboist Nicholas Daniel, with each member of the quintet being a chamber musician, soloist and principal of the Britten Sinfonia.

In Kindred Spirits, 4 Hands, 1 Piano, alias British Baroque specialist Julian Perkins and Italian pianist Emma Abbate, perform works by Greig, Mozart and Rachmaninov tomorrow, same time, same venue.

Taking part in Wednesday’s 11am Young Artists Showcase at St Andrew’s will be four Yorkshire rising talents, ranging in age from 12 to 17: Emilia Jaques, soprano, Alexander Abrahams, piano, Annabelle Dowell, flute, and Ava Brule-Walker, viola, accompanied by Penny Stirling and William Dore.

Ampleforth College pupil Emilia Jaques won the 2018 BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year and has appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night Is Music Night Christmas Special with Alfie Boe. Ripon Grammar School pupil Alexander Abrahams won the top prize at the Ripon Young Musicians of the Year awards.

Flautist’s daughter Annabelle Dowell, 14, is a Class A winner at the British Flute Society Competitions. Aba Brule-Walker, Abrahams’ fellow member of the Yorkshire Young Musicians, has won several prizes at the Ripon Young Musicians awards and will attend the Purcell School for Young Musicians, in Bushey, Hertfordshire, from September.

For An Evening With Richard Coles, the parish priest of St Mary’s Church, Finedon, will be swapping one church for another, St Andrew’s, on Wednesday at 7.30pm.

The Rev Richard is a multi-tasking vicar, being a journalist and presenter too, on BBC One’s The Big Painting Challenge and BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live, as well as having a pop charts past as the keyboards-playing half of the Eighties’ electronic pop duo The Communards.  In 2016, he competed in Celebrity Masterchef; in 2017, he partnered Australian dancer Dianne Buswell to week-two exit in Strictly Come Dancing.

On Thursday, William Bracken gives an 11am piano recital of Franz Liszt’s Ballade No 2 in B Minor and Maurice Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit at St Andrew’s.

Viktoria Mullova: Performing with her son, bassist and composer Misha Mullov-Abbado, at St Andrew’s Church, Aldborough, on Friday night

At 22, he has achieved many of his ambitions already, such as performing Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 3 at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall and winning first prize at several international competitions.

Born into a musical family, he began playing piano at four and his studies have taken him to the Royal Northern College of Music and onwards to the Guildhall, where he is studying with Ronan O’Hara and Martin Roscoe. He is a keen jazz performer, composer and arranger too.

South Yorkshire soprano Lesley Garrett appears with her regular accompanist, pianist Anna Tilbrook, a repeat visitor to Northern Aldborough Festival, on Thursday at 7.30pm at St Andrew’s.

Born in the Yorkshire pit village of Thorne in 1955, Garrett studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London, won the Kathleen Ferrier Prize and rose to prominence at English National Opera as principal soprano.

She has sung with all Britain’s leading opera companies; performed on the world’s biggest stages and with every leading orchestra; released more than a dozen albums and sung not only opera and “other serious music”, but also light classics and Broadway fare, and made television and radio appearances aplenty as singer and host.

Violin virtuoso Viktoria Mullova and double bass player Misha Mullov-Abbado, combine for Music We Love, same location, same time, on Friday night.

Mullov-Abbado’s compositions Blue Deer, Brazil and Shanti Bell will be complemented by works by J S Bach, Profokiev, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Schumann and Zequinha de Abreu.

Mullova works regularly with period ensembles such as the Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment, Il Giardino and Accademia Bizantina, along with appearing each season with international orchestras and conductors. Jazz bassist, composer and arranger Misha is the son of Viktoria and conductor Claudio Abbado.

In the Last Night Outdoor Concert in the grounds of Aldborough Manor, The Rozzers pay tribute to Sting and The Police on Saturday. From 6pm, guests may bring a picnic and watch the main-stage entertainment, kicking off with support act So 80s and climaxing with an orchestrated firework display.

On Sunday, at 10.45am at St Andrew’s, Northern Aldborough Festival Voices perform moving choral music by English Renaissance composer William Byrd at the closing Festival Eucharist. The celebrant will be the Reverend Karen Gardiner; the preacher, the Reverend Canon Barry Pyke.

The Haffner Ensemble, Julian Perkins & Emma Abbate, Richard Coles, Lesley Garrett, Viktoria Mullova and Last Night Outdoor Concert events have all sold out. Tickets are still available for the Young Musicians and William Bracken at