The English Music Festival

The English Music Festival is an annual celebration of music by British composers, held in a number of beautiful venues in Oxfordshire. Its 2012 festival will coincide with the Diamond Jubilee

Above: Dorchester Abbey, one of the English Music Festival venues

The English Music Festival is an annual celebration of music by British composers from medieval times to the present day, held each May in a number of venues in Oxfordshire. It has just concluded its fifth successful year, and is now looking ahead to the 2012 festival – which will coincide with the Diamond Jubilee.

Concerts are held in the beautiful 12th-century Dorchester Abbey, with its stunning Tree of Jesse window, in the village of Dorchester-on-Thames just south of Oxford; at All Saints Church in Sutton Courtney; and in the Silk Hall at Radley College, near Abingdon.

BRITAIN attended one of the festival’s concerts and was impressed by the engaging and varied programme, with the gorgeously orchestrated tone-pictures of Delius set against a dramatic new work by John Pickard, and the very enjoyable incidental music from Macbeth by Sir Arthur Sullivan, better known today for his collaborations with librettist W S Gilbert.

Perhaps the highlight of this year’s festival, though, was the final concert, which was broadcast live on Radio 3, and included Frederick Delius’ Walk to the Paradise Garden, and a world premiere of an early work by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

One of the English Music Festival’s key aims is to revive beautiful but neglected works from the first half of the 20th century – a period of musical renaissance in Britain that saw Edward Elgar, Benjamin Britten and Vaughan Williams (among many others) rise to fame. Many of these lost gems have now made their way back into the repertoire thanks to performances at the English Music Festival.

The Sixth English Music Festival will be held on the first weekend in June, 2012, to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. What better way to celebrate than with the best of British music in the heart of the English countryside?

Visit The English Music Festival: The Spirit of England to find out more.

Read a free online preview of Elizabeth: The Queen our special Diamond Jubilee souvenir magazine.

Published by BRITAIN – the official magazine of VisitBritain – to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, Elizabeth – The Queen charts Her Majesty’s public and personal life during 60 fascinating years at the head of the world’s most famous Royal Family.

Read the first chapter below and order your souvenir copy here

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