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7 Reasons to go to Cambridge summer music festival this year

This summer the Cambridge Summer Music Festival returns to the university city! Between 15-31 July, this celebration of all things musical will light up Cambridge. The festival has been in existence since 1890, and ever since has united the cream of the crop of musicians to play world-class music in Cambridge. All are welcome to come and enjoy this important, joyous cultural event.

This year the eagerly anticipated celebration of all things musical, as ever, enjoys an extensive programme of high-quality concerts performed by outstanding musicians. Amongst them are soloists, chamber ensembles, choirs, orchestras and bands.

In past years, it has been one of the highlights of the Cambridge summer social calendar, and attracts visitors and music lovers from all over the globe. It’s estimated that it annually attracts around 15,000 local, national and international participants of all ages and backgrounds.

You definitely don’t want to miss out on it. Here is just a prelude of what to expect from this year’s musical extravaganza in the beautiful city of Cambridge.

Tribute to Vaughan Williams

This year there will be a special focus on Ralph Vaughan Williams, as 2022 marks 150 years since his birth. Homage will be paid to him via performances of some of his most famous works, ‘On Wenlock Edge’, and ‘The Lark Ascending’.

Vaughan Williams was an English composer in the first half of the 20th century and founded the nationalist movement in English music.

He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, and to this day the university is extremely proud of their alumno, hence his prominent position at the Cambridge Summer Music Festival.

He is also famous for writing his celebrated ‘Sine Nomine’ (For All the Saints) for The English Hymnal.

Guy Johnston and Tom Poster

As well as that, this year’s music festival in Cambridge will feature performances by Guy Johnston and Tom Poster. They will be performing works for cello and piano. The pieces they will perform are by Beethoven, Brahms, and Poulenc.

Guy Johnston is an extremely versatile British cellist and chamber musician. He was successful early on in his career, being named as BBC Young Musician of the Year in the year 2000 at the age of 18.

He played the First Night of the BBC Proms playing the Elgar Cello Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and more recently has worked on an education project with Wigmore Hall. He regularly plays in festivals all over Europe and is the founding Artistic Director of the Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival. Tom Poster features regularly as a soloist and chamber musician on BBC Radio 3 and has made appearances at the BBC Proms.

He made his debut at the age of 13 and has appeared in over 30 major works with some of the world’s leading orchestras. He has worked as a presenter and guest expert on BBC television and radio and acted as Artistic Director of Chacombe Music Festival, to name just a few of his many accomplishments.

Imogen Cooper

Dame Imogen Cooper will be performing an enchanting selection of piano works by Schubert, Ravel and Liszt. Imogen Cooper is internationally renowned for being one of the finest interpreters of Classical and Romantic music.

She has enjoyed a widespread international career as a committed chamber musician, and is the founder of the Imogen Cooper Trust. She has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia, Boston, Berliner Philharmoniker, and the Vienna Philharmonic.

In 2021, she received a DBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Aside from this honour, she also holds the Queen’s Medal for Music (2019), Royal Philharmonic Society Performers Award (2008), Commander of the Order of the British Empire (2007) and Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music (1997). 

All of this makes her performance at this year’s music festival in Cambridge a very exciting prospect!

The Wigmore Soloists

Treat yourself to a stunning performance of Schubert’s ‘Octet’ and Beethoven’s ‘Septet’, marvellously performed by the Wigmore Soloists.

Cosi fan tutte

Opera fans can indulge in one of Mozart’s more controversial and divisive masterpieces, ‘Cosi fan tutte’, performed at Childerley Hall.

Even if you’re not necessarily a huge opera fan, we recommend that you go to see this one when you go to the festival this summer, as it really is a lot of fun!

A Family Concert

For a more popular strain of music, get the Family Concert in your calendar! This concert showcases a fun romp of well-known modern pieces, ranging from the Star Wars and Frozen soundtracks to songs from West Side Story and Bohemian Rhapsody!

The Aurora Orchestra

You can already get hold of tickets from Saffron Hall for what is set to be one of the most beautiful events in the Cambridge Summer Music Festival. On 31st July, The Aurora Orchestra is set to perform Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony - from memory!

The Aurora Orchestra and their conductor Nicholas Colon are regulars at Saffron Hall. They have a really playful, fun style and immediately engage with audiences everywhere. Playing Beethoven’s striking Fifth Symphony from memory is risky business, but in the safe hands of the Aurora Orchestra you know that you can sit back and enjoy the ride!

The notable absence of music stands and scores only serves to bring the orchestra closer to the audience, creating a curious sensation of intimacy.

At the Cambridge Summer Music Festival, BBC Radio 3’s Tom Service will join Nicholas Collon to introduce the symphony.

It’s sure to be a unique and thrilling experience!

So there you have it - 7 fantastic reasons to go to the Cambridge Summer Music Festival this year! If you’re lucky enough to live at Yugo’s student residence in Cambridge, you’ll have the perfect base from which to come and go each day of this magical celebration of music.