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.

This year we look to the future. Thanks to a unique collaboration with English National Opera and their Harewood Artists Programme we welcome seven outstanding young singers to Ludlow. You will hear them across the Weekend, both in much loved songs and in bracingly new music. Together they represent
the future of English song, and boast an extraordinary array of talent. Violinist Michael Foyle and guitarist Sean Shibe add instrumental charisma, and Bath Camerata bring a distinctively fresh choral programme. Our major commission goes to Alex Woolf, only last year a member of our Young Composers Workshop. While that workshop continues apace with Eleanor Alberga, Susan Bullock puts the RNCM’s finest through their masterclass paces, Tony Palmer introduces his RVW film and Katy Hamilton leads spirited discussions. We are delighted to welcome back BBC Radio 3, who will broadcast most of the concerts and present them live on stage. With such riches in prospect, we hope you’ll join us.

Read more About Us

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


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


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

Contact Us

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

Latest News

2019 Presteigne Festival22nd – 27th August

The Presteigne Festival programme brings together a wide variety of diverse musical elements, but with a major American strand running throughout – also mirrored in the supporting programme. We welcome two distinguished composers-in-residence – Cheryl Frances-Hoad from the UK and from the US, Hannah Lash who will also perform as a virtuoso harpist. We continue our exploration of British contemporary music, with no fewer than nine premieres over the Festival period, which opens with Nova Music Opera’s production of Stephen McNeff’s community opera ‘The Burning Boy’, to a libretto by Cornish poet, Charles Causley.


Alex Woolf’s NHS Symphony nominated for an ARIAS Award

Alex Woolf, Ludlow Song’s commissioned composer in 2019 has been nominated in the ‘Best Factual Storytelling’ category at the 2018 Radio Academy ARIAS Awards.

The combined forces of The Bach Choir, The NHS Choir, Barts Choir and more were brought together to honour the NHS at 70. The work was commissioned by BBC Radio Documentaries and Alex’s music forms a sonic portrait of the NHS, all recorded in binaural sound for BBC Radio 3’s ‘Between the Ears’

Read more about the work here: www.alex-woolf.com

Listen to the work in full here: www.bbc.co.uk

Mary’s Hand

Mary’s Hand is a new music theatre project about the life and reign of Queen Mary I. With words by Di Sherlock and music by Ludlow Song Director, Martin Bussey, Mary’s Hand is performed by solo mezzo-soprano Clare McCaldin and is scored for cello, trumpet and oboe doubling cor anglais.

“This beautifully-crafted, one-woman chamber opera by writer Di Sherlock and composer Martin Bussey” (The Independent)

Confirmed future performances:

19/2/19 – St Paul’s Church, 32a Wilton Pl, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 8SH

27/4/19 – Music in Pinner, Church Lane, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 3AA


Tchaikovsky: Notes & Letters

Friday 16th November 2018 6.30pm

Guildhall Art Gallery & Roman Amphitheatre, EC2V 5AE

For one night only, actor Simon Callow, soprano Joan Rodgers, and pianist Roger Vignoles – three of City Music Foundation’s celebrated patrons – join in a unique entertainment based on Tchaikovsky’s music and writings. The evening also includes Tchaikovsky’s searing string sextet Souvenir de Florence performed by an ensemble of CMF Artists.