More Things To Do in York and beyond – outside or even in the schoolroom. Hutch’s List No. 19 for 2023, from The Press

Heathers The Musical: Too cool for school at Grand Opera House, York. Picture: Pamela Raith

FROM a dead-cool musical to a ‘Sueperfan’, a Strictly ten to guitar pyrotechnics, Charles Hutchinson has tips on how to have a better week.

School outing of the week: Heathers The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday matinees

WELCOME to Westerberg High, 1989, where Veronica Sawyer (played by Jenna Innes) is just another nobody craving a better day, until she joins the beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers. Now her dreams of popularity may finally come true.

Enter mysterious teen rebel Jason  ‘JD’  Dean (Jacob Fowler), who teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder being a somebody in Andy Fickman’s touring production with electrifying choreography by Gary Lloyd. Box office:

Federico Pendenza: Lunchtime concert at St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel

Tributes of the week:  York Late Music, Reginald Smith Brindle, 1pm today; Sir Harrison Birtwistle: A New Matrix, 7.30pm today, St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel, York

YORK Late Music pays tribute to two British composers, both Lancastrian, one a major name, the other an unjustly forgotten figure surely due for a revival.

The lunchtime programme celebrates the work of Reginald Smith Brindle, best known for his solo guitar work. Guitarist Federico Pendenza plays four works by Smith Brindle, pieces by Poulenc and a Chris Gander world premiere.

The evening’s tribute to Sir Harrison Birtwistle, based around the clarinet, acknowledges the work of York musician Alan Hacker, his musical associate. Works by Birtwistle, Messaien and Peter Maxwell Davies will be complemented by short pieces composed following Birtwistle’s death in April 2021. Box office: or on the door.

Lulo Reinhardt & Yuliya Lonskaya: Guitar duo at the NCEM

Guitar duo of the week: Lulo Reinhardt & Yuliya Lonskaya, National Centre for Early Music, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm

LULO Reinhardt, from Koblenz, Germany, is the grandnephew of Django Reinhardt. As to be expected, Lulo has a repertoire of gypsy swing, but he has extended his musical horizons to embrace music from North Africa and India.

Yuliya Lonskaya, from Mogilev, Belarus, performs her own style of classic, folk, jazz and bossa nova arrangements. Together they make beautiful music. Box office: 01904 658338 or

Katie Melua: Love & Money tour date at York Barbican

Singer-songwriter gig of the week: Katie Melua, Love & Money Tour, York Barbican, Monday, 7.30pm

KATIE Melua, the Georgian-born, West London-based singer-songwriter, returns to York Barbican to promote her ninth album, March 2023’s Love & Money, 20 years on from her chart-topping debut, Call Off The Search.

Melua, 38, will combine such hits as The Closest Thing To Crazy, Call Off The Search, Nine Million Bicycles and If You Were A Sailboat, with songs from the new release. Box office:

Sueperfan Eleanor Higgins with her cardboard cutout of Sue Perkins

Sue Perkins superfan of the week:  In PurSUEt, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Tuesday, 8pm

IN Eleanor Higgins’s LGBT confessional comedy drama, ‘Woman’ is seated in a therapist’s office, sent there to deal with her drink problem. But she does not have a problem and nor does she need therapy. She needs Sue Perkins. They are meant for each other. If only Sue could see that too, but how can she when she is too busy being a celebrity?

‘Woman’ sets out in pursuit of her love, following Sue’s every move online, breaking in backstage at the BBC. But can she keep it all together while battling her out-of control boozing? Box office:

Chris Singleton: Giving tips on How To Be A Better Human at Theatre@41

Conversation of the week: Chris Singleton in How To Be A Better Human, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Wednesday, 7.30pm

THIS spoken-word comedy about grief and self-acceptance tells Chris Singleton’s story of losing two of the biggest relationships in his life – father and wife – in the space of a few months.

Directed by Tom Wright, Singleton uses PowerPoint comedy, autobiographical storytelling and poetry to open conversations on mental health. Finding lightness and humour in death, loss and divorce, he explores how we can lose everything but find strength to rebuild. Box office:

Can you namet them all? Strictly Come Dancing: The Professionals at York Barbican

Dance show of the week: Strictly Come Dancing: The Professionals, York Barbican, Friday (sold out) and May 31, 7.30pm

TEN Strictly professionals – count’em – partner up for a tour directed by the BBC show’s creative director, Jason Gilkison, promising “world-class dance, stunning choreography and sparkling sets and costumes”.

In the theatrical ensemble will be: Dianne Buswell; Vito Coppola; Carlos Gu; Karen Hauer; Neil Jones; Nikita Kuzmin; Gorka Marquez; Luba Mushtuk; Jowita Przystal and Nancy Xu. Tickets for the second performance are still available at

Pete Oxley and Nick Meier of the Oxley-Meier Guitar Project

Guitars galore: Oxley-Meier Guitar Project, National Centre for Early Music, York, May 18, 7.30pm

THE Oxley-Meier Guitar Project head for York with a new album ready for release. In the line-up are Pete Oxley and Nick Meier, guitars, Raph Mizraki, bass and percussion, and Paul Cavaciuti, drums, who specialise in melodically and texturally driven contemporary jazz.

Oxley-Meier bring ten differing guitars to each concert, including fretless nylon, acoustic and electric 12-strings, sitar-guitar and 11-string fretless. Box office: 01904 658338 or

Late Music concerts to pay tribute to Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Reginald Smith Brindle at Unitarian Chapel on Saturday

Sir Harrison Birtwistle, 1934-2022

YORK Late Music pays tribute on Saturday to two British composers:  a major name and an unjustly forgotten figure who is surely due for a revival.

The evening concert, A New Matrix,  has been planned as a tribute to Sir Harrison Birtwistle, who died in April 2021. Birtwistle was a colossus in contemporary music, especially opera, whose influence was worldwide.

Based around the clarinet, the 7.30pm programme also acknowledges the work of York musician Alan Hacker, who was a long-term friend and musical associate of Birtwistle, and who taught many of those involved in this weekend’s performance.

Alongside Birtwistle’s work, the programme includes pieces by Messaien (whom Birtwistle acknowledged as an influence) and Peter Maxwell Davies, as well as a series of short pieces composed following Birtwistle’s death.

Guitarist Federico Pendenza

The lunchtime concert (1pm) celebrates the work of Reginald Smith Brindle, who died in 2003. A Lancastrian, like Birtwistle, Smith Brindle’s eclectic output included two symphonies, although he is now best known for his solo guitar work.

Guitarist Federico Pendenza, from the University of York, will be playing four works by Smith Brindle, pieces by Poulenc and a Chris Gander world premiere.

Both concerts are at Late Music’s usual venue, the Unitarian Chapel in St Saviourgate, York. The evening event will follow a 6.45pm talk by composer David Lancaster, with a complimentary glass of wine or juice.

Lunchtime concert tickets cost £5; evening, £12, students £5, at or on the door

York Late Music season opens on Friday with Delta Saxophone Quartet’s Martland, McCartney and Joy Division programme

Delta Saxophone Quartet: Opening York Late Music’s 2022-2023 season on Friday

YORK Late Music’s 2022/2023 season opens on Friday with the Delta Saxophone Quartet’s evening concert, The Steve Martland Story, at St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel, York.

The 7.30pm programme takes in Purcell/Martland’s Fantasia 6; Martland’s Remix and Principia; Joe Duddell’s Compacted Grounds and world premieres of Damon Rees’s A Hocket A Day and Stine Solbakken’s Karl Johan’s Gate.  

Further works will be Louis Andriessen’s Slow Birthday; Tom Armstrong’s Damascene Redux; Michael Nyman’s 24 Hours; Mark Anthony-Turnage’s Run Riot (1st Movement) and Paul McCartney’s Golden Slumbers/Carry The Weight, from The Beatles’ album Abbey Road.

The finale comprises David Lancaster’s arrangement of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart, followed by Joe Duddell & Nick Williams’s Joy Division/Factory Records-inspired arrangements.

Looking ahead to the season as a whole, administrator Steve Crowther says: “Whether you are a devotee of new music or simply a lover of music itself, our 2022-2023 season promises to be a truly rewarding experience. We have more than 40 world premières, expressing freshness and innovation.

Jakob Fichert: Piano recital on Saturday

“The season embraces a full range of musical styles and genres. The stark immediacy of Xenakis. The hypnotic minimalism of John Adams. Authentic musical arrangements of Joy Division and David Bowie. We also include pieces by composers who deserve to be better known, for example Reginald Smith Brindle.”

This season also marks the 75th birthday of York Late Music patron and composer Nicola LeFanu, the 150th birthday of Ralph Vaughan Williams and the death in April this year of contemporary classical music and opera composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle.

Concerts largely take place at St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel on the first Saturday of each month from September to December 2022, then February to June 2023. The season’s opening concert, however, falls this Friday, to be followed by lunchtime and evening concerts the next day.

Each evening concert has an informal pre-concert talk at 6.45pm, accompanied by a free glass of wine or juice, usually featuring an interview with one of the evening’s composers and an open discussion. First up, on Friday, will be saxophonist Chris Caldwell: Remembering Steve Martland.

“All of our concerts are informal and family-friendly, offering a chance to talk to composers and performers, which we strongly encourage. They don’t bite!” says Steve. “Students and young musicians are especially welcome.”

Bingham String Quartet: Playing works by Beethoven, Schnittke, LeFanu and Tippett

In Saturday’s lunchtime recital at 1pm, pianist Jakob Fichert focuses on the music of Massachusetts composer John Adams, who turned 75 on February 14 this year. His works China Gates and American Berserk will be complemented by Adolf Busch’s Variations On An Original Theme; Schönberg’s 6 Little Pieces Op. 19; Deborah Pritchard’s The Sun 
and the world premiere of Steve Crowther’s Piano Sonata No.4.

Saturday evening’s 7.30pm programme by the Bingham String Quartet comprises Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 6 in Bb Major (Op.18); Schnittke’s String Quartet No.3
LeFanu’s String Quartet No.2 and Tippett’s String Quartet No.2.

Further concerts will be given this year by pianist Duncan Honeybourne, November 5, 1pm; James Turnbull, oboe, and Libby Burgess, piano, November 5, 7.30pm; Micklegate Singers, And There Were Shepherds, December 3, 1pm, and Gemini, Nicola LeFanu At 75, A Portrait and Celebration, December 3, 7.30pm.

Next year’s programme opens with Music On The Edge: The Lapins, featuring Susie Holder-Williams, flute, Chris Caldwell, saxophone, and James Boyd, guitar, on February 4 at 1pm, followed by the Fitzwilliam String Quartet at 7.30pm.

Ruth Lee presents a harp recital on March 4 at 1pm; the Elysian Singers perform at 7.30pm that night.

Ruth Lee: Harp recital on March 4

On April 1, cellist Ivana Peranic and pianist Rachel Fryer unite for the lunchtime recital; York Late Music regular Ian Pace returns to the piano for the Xenakis Centenary Concert: Composers With A Side Hustle at 7.30pm.

On April 29, Tim Brooks and the York Hub steer the children and young students’ recital in a day-long project from 8am to 5pm.

Guitarist Federico Pendenza presents Reginald Smith Brindle: A Tribute on May 6 at 1pm. The tributes continue that evening when The New Matrix focus on the music of Sir Harrison Birtwistle at 7.30pm.

The Composers Competition Workshop takes place at the Unitarian Chapel from 8am to 5pm on June 2.

Baritone Stuart O’Hara sings to piano accompaniment on June 3; Nick Williams conducts the Late Music Ensemble at 7.30pm.

“We hope this whets your appetite and we look forward to seeing you soon,” says Steve. Full programme and ticket details can be found at Tickets are available on the door too.