Iain Burnside

Iain Burnside
Artistic Director
Ludlow English Song Weekend

Welcome to the Ludlow English Song Weekend, one of Britain’s most idyllic musical celebrations.

Two song celebrities bookend this year’s Weekend: we are thrilled to be opening with Toby Spence and closing with Roddy Williams. And in between? Our collaboration with ENO’s Harewood Artists brings four outstanding young recitalists; we premiere new works by Rhian Samuel and Philip Lancaster; the Piatti Quartet offers a wonderfully intense programme; acclaimed actor Richard Goulding reads Thomas Hardy. We are proud to announce a new collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Society: Oliver Soden discusses his Tippett biography with Katy Hamilton, following Mischa Scorer’s Tippett film. Add to the mix young composers, young singers working with Ann Murray – how will you fit it all in?

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The Ludlow English Song Weekend is a unique music festival in one of the UK’s loveliest places.

About Us

The Ludlow English Song Weekend is the place to hear superlative performances of English songs.

What's On

Artists

Some of Britain’s finest singers of English classical song will be performing for the weekend.

Artists

Details for how to get in touch with us at the Ludlow English Song Weekend can be found here.

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Observer review of the Ludlow English Song Weekend 2019

by Fiona Maddocks

Vaughan Williams was well represented at the Ludlow English song weekend, together with some two dozen other composers past and present, from Michael Tippett, Rebecca Clarke and Elizabeth Maconchy to, working today, Eleanor Alberga, Edward Rushton and Alex Woolf. The enormous parish church of St Laurence, nicknamed “the cathedral of the Marches”, resounded to three days of concerts. Each presented a wealth of English poetry set to music, not least by AE Housman, whose ashes (continuing this week’s burial theme) are in the church. One concert, When Smoke Stood Up from Ludlow, consisted of different settings from his A Shropshire Lad by a dozen different composers, including Gerald Finzi, whose music first inspired the founding of a festival.

In a new partnership with English National Opera, the talented lineup of singers – Rowan Pierce, David Ireland, Soraya Mafi, William Morgan, Alex Otterburn, Elgan Llŷr Thomas – were all Harewood Artists, some juggling commitment to ENO’s current Jack the Ripper.

The excellent Bath Camerata, conducted by Benjamin Goodson, whose appointment as chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Choir was announced last week, performed a rewarding programme of choral works (by Will Todd, Huw Watkins, Roderick Williams), culminating in Jonathan Dove’s exuberant settings of poems on nature, transience and renewal, The Passing of the Year.

In an unusual departure, Scotland’s Sean Shibe, in his mid-20s and already one of the world’s top classical guitarists, showed the beauty of combining voices and solo guitar. If you doubt that there’s a current resurgence of song in the UK, just look around: this Ludlow festival, like Leeds Lieder later this month and, in the autumn, Oxford Lieder, each run by creative pianists-programmers, goes from strength to strength. It’s even said we lead Europe in this renaissance. Listen out for concerts from Ludlow, coming soon on Radio 3.

Ludlow English Song Weekend ★★★★

Imagine a weekend in beautiful historic Ludlow, immersed in the endlessly fascinating and beguiling world of English poetry and song, where songs centuries old and songs freshly composed are performed, investigated, discussed, and keenly listened to. It's a rare and complete joy.

Sir John Tomlinson