York Early Music Christmas Festival boosted by City of York Council grant

NCEM director Delma Tomlin: “Delighted to receive grant”

THE National Centre for Early Music, York, is to receive a generous grant from City of York Council’s Additional Restrictions Grant fund.

This financial support will help with the cost of staging this year’s York Early Music Christmas Festival from December 3 to 11.

The city council’s discretionary scheme has supported York businesses affected by the lockdowns but not eligible for the Lockdown Restrictions Grant or Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed Businesses) payments.

In doing so, it has helped businesses that, although not legally required to close, were still severely impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.

Like fellow arts organisations, the NCEM was forced to close its doors for several months, but it continued to stage concerts and festivals digitally, sharing specially commissioned concerts all over the world, reaching audiences from as far away as Australia, Japan and the United States.

The return of the week-long York Early Music Christmas Festival is one of the NCEM’S most important events, attracting not only York residents but also audiences from all over Britain and beyond.

The festival presents a variety of concerts, many by candlelight, in its celebration of Christmas through the ages. This year’s programme features artists from the UK and Europe, including the return of The Gesualdo Six, who took York Early Music Festival by storm last year; Yorkshire Bach Choir performing JS Bach’s Mass in B minor, plus 17th century Christmas, Mexican style, from Siglo de Oro.

The NCEM is fully open once more, staging its year-round programme of concerts, spanning early music, jazz, folk, and global sounds in the medieval St Margaret’s Church, in Walmgate.

NCEM director Delma Tomlin said: “We are delighted to receive this generous grant from the City of York Council. Financial help from the ARG Fund ensures that we can stage the annual York Early Music Christmas Festival, a week of music celebration featuring a line-up of world-class performers.

“The festival is hugely popular with residents and attracts visitors from all over the UK, who make it part of their Christmas calendar. It’s wonderful to see the city coming back to life and we’re very proud to be able to be part of its fabulous programme of events celebrating the festive season. We can’t wait to welcome audiences back to our beautiful home of St Margaret’s Church.”

Councillor Darryl Smalley, executive member for culture, leisure and communities, said: “York’s live music scene is a crucial and vibrant part of the city’s cultural offer. We recognise the ongoing challenges venues are facing as we ease out of the national restrictions and people get used to a new ‘normal’.

“We are committed to working with the sector to provide all possible support, including promoting the great experiences on our doorstep thanks to the many brilliant live music venues across our city.”

Tickets for the 2021 York Early Music Christmas Festival go on sale from tomorrow at ncem.co.uk or on 01904 658338.