Summer is a busy season in the classical and jazz world, and there’s a wealth of different music events taking place all season. The BBC Proms season is of course a calendar highlight, but there’s plenty of other festivals to choose from if the Proms aren’t your cup of tea.
Many of these are family friendly and offer discounted tickets to young people too, so there’s all the more reason to go along.
Here are our top picks for this year:
When: 19th May–26th August
Where: Glyndebourne, East Sussex
What: Glyndebourne Festival runs all throughout spring and summer, featuring some of the very best in world class opera. Performances this year include: Madama Butterfly, Saul, and Pelléas et Mélisande.
What: This classical music, opera and visual arts festival features more than 50 events from both familiar names and fresh new talent. Key programme strands this year are Britten and America, coinciding with the centenary of composer, conductor and educator Leonard Bernstein, and The Spirit of 1948, marking 70 years since the festival was founded. As an added bonus, there are free family events taking place each day, and under-21s can even get their hands on half price tickets.
What: The theme of this year’s festival is Innovation. It brings Mercury Award nominated singer Laura Mvula to Harrogate, along with returning festival favourite The John Wilson Orchestra and many more exciting acts.
What: Located just 20 minutes from central Brighton, the 3 day jazz festival hosts contemporary artists with a mostly soul and funk lineage, the cream of international and UK jazz artists, new and upcoming jazz artists, and the best of local jazz in East Sussex and Brighton. There’s also DJs and club nights, talks and lectures, panels, films, kids areas, and much more. Headliners this year include Earth, Wind & Fire, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Steve Winwood and more.
Where: Venues across Cheltenham and Gloucestershire
What: From intimate chamber concerts to magnificent orchestral and choral works, there’s a real range of performances and masterclasses at Cheltenham Music Festival. This year, there’s performances from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Sitkovetsky Piano Trio, Haffner Wind Ensemble, as well as masterclasses and talks from classical experts.
What: Buxton International Festival is a must for any opera-lover this summer. This year’s programme includes performances of Alzira, directed by internationally celebrated Verdi specialist Elijah Moshinsky, The Daughter of the Regimen, Idomeneo with the Buxton Festival Chorus and Northern Chamber Orchestra, and more fantastic operas. There will also be music performances from the National Jazz Youth Orchestra, The Sacconi Quartet, and many more talented artists, ensembles and groups.
Where: London, predominantly at the Royal Albert Hall
What: The BBC Proms is a world famous annual festival founded in 1895. The eight week summer season consists of more than 90 world-class performances from the greatest classical musicians on the planet. Fancy yourself as a classical music buff? Why not try the BBC Proms horribly difficult music quiz here.
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