Ryedale Festival 2022: Putting the neighborhood on the map for classical music and culture

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Now the anticipation is growing as the full program is revealed for the 2022 Ryedale Festival, featuring world premieres, jazz, folk and more.

The festival, which runs from July 15 to 31, features 52 concerts involving more than 300 artists and audiences from as far away as America and Europe.

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There will be masterclasses, ensembles and choirs, candlelight concerts and a troubadour tour, alongside internationally renowned cellists and harpists.

An audience in Duncombe Park. Image: Matthew Johnson

With settings ranging from country houses and stately homes to small historic churches, this year’s festival promises world-class artists and classical performers.

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Artistic director Christopher Glynn said it was a celebration of music but also of Ryedale.

“It’s a festival immersed in its local community but of international quality,” he said. “That’s what makes it exciting. People come from all over the world to enjoy it, artists come from all over the world to perform. It’s a way of putting Ryedale on the map, bringing people to the area and to Yorkshire.

National Youth Choir.

“And it’s so much about location – there are so many wonderful places in Ryedale. It’s about filling them with music.

Concerts are due to take place at venues ranging from Hovingham Hall to Duncombe Park, Castle Howard, Birdsall House, Ampleforth Abbey and Scarborough Spa, along with daytime recitals at idyllic and ancient churches in the area.

Already, a community song cycle by Joseph Howard has seen elementary school students perform with local choirs in performances inspired by old Pickering church murals.

Kanneh Masons. Picture: Jake Turney

Among the festival’s six world premieres is now a medley of ABBA songs by electric violinist Roberts Balanas, to celebrate the Swedish group’s 50th anniversary.

Julian Philips will also mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Vaughan Williams with Looking West, inspired by the ancient stories and landscapes of northern England.

Handel’s music is to feature prominently, with a pop-up production from Acis and Galatea visiting three of the region’s churches.

Opera singer Dame Janet Baker is among the stars, along with classical pianist Stephen Kovacevich alongside stars of a new generation with the Kanneh-Masons musical family.

St Mary’s Church, Lastingham

And while some of these flagship events have already sold out, with long waiting lists, there is also the National Youth Choir and Johan Dalene. Other world premieres include shows from Roxanna Panufnik, Errollyn Wallen and Tarik O’Regan, and Callum Au.

Mr Glynn said: “We live in a world where, at the touch of a button, we can stream any music at any time. It’s about making music live, in beautiful locations, a unique performance every time. There is something in the magic that lives in that moment.

Established in 1981 by four musician friends looking to launch a series of small concerts, the Ryedale Festival has grown to showcase artists from around the world.

Today it has a reputation as one of Europe’s most vibrant summer festivals, attracting visitors from across Europe. When it moved to the online platform during the pandemic, its reach only grew – now it will continue, with RyeStream used to share performance. Visit the Ryedale Festival website for a full list of events.

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