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Celebrating 40 years of the York Early Music Festival

Celebrating a milestone 40 years, the York Early Music Festival 2017 Friday 7 - Saturday 15 July, presented in association with Hiscox Insurance, is acclaimed throughout Europe, and presents an exciting anniversary programme of much-loved performers, together with new talent, young musicians and participatory events, in what will be one of its most excellent festivals to date.

Bringing together musicians at the height of their careers, with audiences keen to learn and engage, the Festival is praised for its musical excellence, and the way in which it brings the historic venues across the city to life throughout the week-long calendar. 

The 40th anniversary theme is Changing Times Changing Places, a notion that is just as relevant today as it was 500 years ago during the great social and political shift of the Reformation. Key highlights include Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers, brought to life by I Fagiolini in a unique promenade performance in York Minster, a semi-staged production of the St Matthew Passion led by Peter Seymour, the award-winning vocal ensemble Cinquecento, and the sparkling B'Rock Orchestra performing Haydn, Mozart and Boccherini.

A mention must be made for the 'Come and Sing' performance of Tallis' 40-part motel, Spem in alium, which is open to everyone, and a regular feature of the Festival, the International Young Artists Competition, in association with BBC Radio 3. This much-loved feature draws emerging talent from across the globe. This year's young musicians join the Festival from Russia, Japan, Israel, the UK and across continental Europe.
Delma Tomlin, MBE, York Early Music Festival Administrative Director, says: "This is an exceptional year of anniversaries, not only our own glittering 40th year, but two incredible giants of the early music world, Monteverdi (b.1567) and Telemann (d.1767). Both feature strongly in our programme, from the exciting Vespers promenade performance by the very established I Fagiolini in York Minster, to the youthful University of York Baroque Ensemble and their Telemann adventure. 

"We are graced with the presence of some exceptional musicians, and their commitment and verve to entertain and open the eyes and ears of early music lovers continues to inspire both those who have been involved in the Festival for many years, and those who are new to our ever-expanding family. We are certain that one way or another, there's every reason to think that the fifth decade of YEMF will be every bit as exciting as the first four!"

Full programme details also available at:

Tickets: £5.00 to £30.00 available from the NCEM at St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, York YO1 9TL. Telephone: 01904 658338. Email: Secure online booking at: 

Festival Programme 8 - 15 July 2017

I Fagiolini, English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble with University of York's The 24 directed by Robert Hollingworth
Monteverdi 1610 - Vespers on the Move
Lose yourself in the rich and beautiful Vespers of 1610.  Following the triumphant presentation of Striggio's 40-part Mass in 2012, I Fagiolini invite a free-moving audience into the centre of a horseshoe of singers and players to let the intricacies of this masterpiece reveal themselves up close. Stand next to a cornett, get close to a tenor, watch the organist's hands, or sit and watch from outside the circle - the choice is yours. Either way, it will be an enlightening experience. 

Friday 7 July at 8.00pm, Central Nave, York Minster

"Then and Now - Changing Times"
John Bryan, Professor of Music at the University of Huddersfield
A performer in the very first York Early Music Week in 1977, John looks back over the first 40 years of the Festival, a period which has witnessed the discovery of previously unknown 'early' repertories and many changes in approaches to performance and presentation.  What has driven these changes, and how have they affected our understanding of what 'early music' has to offer to us today?

Saturday 8 July 10.30am - c.11.30am, NCEM, St Margaret's Church, Walmgate Central
Reserved seating: £10.00 including coffee & biscuits on arrival  

English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble with Robert Howarth organ 
Echoes of Venice           
Cornetts and sackbuts conjure the sounds of 16th- and 17th-century Venice, the beautiful and powerful city that was home to some of Europe's finest musicians. The sounds of Gabrieli, Merulo Schütz and Willaert spread their influence all over Europe.

Saturday 8 July 12.30pm - c.1.30pm St Lawrence's Church, Hull Road  
Unreserved seating: £18.00 (concessions £16.00, YP £5.00) 

Rose Consort of Viols with Emma Kirby soprano and Clare Wilkinson mezzo-soprano 
Musica Transalpina 
In 1588 a radical publication brought music from continental Europe to the attention of an avid Elizabethan audience. Musica Transalpina was a book of madrigals and chansons with specially written texts in English. The Rose Consort dip into this repertory to present madrigals by Marenzio, Palestrina and Ferrabosco alongside chansons by Lassus and songs and instrumental pieces by William Byrd.

Saturday 8 July 5.00pm - c.6.00pm St Olave's Church, Marygate
Unreserved seating: £18.00 (concessions £16.00, YP £5.00) 

Musica Invictissima: Harmonies for a Habsburg Dynasty
'Invictissima' ('most unconquerable') was a word often used to describe the might of the emperors, dukes and princes of Habsburg. This concert commemorates the 450th anniversary of Jacobus Vaet's death, one of the finest musicians from Europe, whose motets and liturgical music for the Habsburg chapels are brought to life with a work based on Lutheran melodies by his pupil and friend, Jacobus Regnart.

Saturday 8 July 7.30pm - c.9.30pm Chapter House, York Minster
Unreserved seating: £30.00 (concessions £28.00, YP £5.00)

BBC Radio 3 The Early Music Show  
Musica Invictissima: Harmonies for a Habsburg Dynasty
Join us for a live broadcast of this popular show, presented by Lucie Skeaping and meet selected guests from the 2017 festival. 
Sunday 9 July 2.00pm - 3.00pm NCEM, St Margaret's Church
Reserved seating. Free to those attending other events within the Festival but please do book in advance to avoid disappointment. 

Minster Minstrels directed by Ailsa Batters
Bassoon Extravaganza
The Minster Minstrels are joined by members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and a host of young bassoonists to celebrate the instrument in all its glory.  The programme features Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks and a commissioned piece by Anthony Bailey, for Minster Minstrels, OAE oboe band and massed bassoons - including eight brand new players from St Aelred's RC Primary School, learning as part of the York Bassoon Extravaganza project.

Sunday 9 July 4.30pm - c.5.30pm Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate 
Unreserved seating: £10.00 (concessions £5.00, Festival Friends and NCEM Patrons free of charge) 

B'Rock Orchestra 
Concertmaster, Rodolfo Richter
Passions of the Night  
Belgian-based orchestra B'Rock perform four colourful and contrasted works from the 1770s: Haydn's Symphony No. 49 is a sombre evocation of Christ's passion; Boccherini's powerful work ('The house of the devil') is closely based on a famous piece of infernal music from Gluck's Orphée et Euridice; Mozart's 'Serenata notturna' is scored for two small orchestras; and his amiable Symphony No. 33 bubbles with promise for the great symphonies soon to come.

Sunday 9 July 7.30pm - c.9.30pm Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York 
Reserved seating: £28.00 (concessions £25.00, YP £5.00)

An illustrated lecture by Eamon Duffy, Emeritus Professor of the History of Christianity in the University of Cambridge
"Imaging the holy: Reformation, Counter-Reformation, and the arts" 
The Reformation not only transformed the religious landscape of northern Europe: it also initiated a revolution in the visual and musical arts. While the Catholic Church remained committed to the transmission of Gospel truth through the senses of sound, hearing, and touch, many reformation communities believed that the primacy of God's word as the sole means of Divine self-revelation demanded a repudiation of the arts as legitimate vehicles of salvation: this talk explores some of the consequences. 

Monday 10 July 10.30am - c.11.30pm Bedern Hall, Bedern
Unreserved seating: £10.00 including coffee & biscuits on arrival 

Compagnia d'Istrumenti and University of York Baroque Ensemble
Telemann's Collegium Musicum
The German tradition of the 'collegium musicum' describes societies of musicians who convened to play together, often at public venues such as coffee houses. Telemann founded one in Leipzig consisting of a mixture of professionals and students, and the music of his anthology Musique de table reflects the kind of amiable music they would have played. This programme brings together suites, concertos, quartets, trios and solos, fittingly showcasing students from the University of York alongside Ensemble in Association, Compagnia d'Istrumenti.

Monday 10 July 1.00pm - c.2.00pm NCEM, St Margaret's Church
Reserved seating: £15.00 (concessions £13.00, YP £5.00) 

Kati Debretzeni violin Alison McGillivray cello Carole Cerasi harpsichord
The Soul of the Man: JS Bach
Of all Bach's instrumental works, it is his suites, sonatas and partitas for a single unaccompanied instrument that reveal his art and soul most purely.  Whether for violin, cello or harpsichord, his great musical mind demonstrates his superior command of harmony, rhythm and structure, resulting in music of beauty and intellectual strength. In a specially devised series of concerts, three of the UK's finest exponents of his music explore a wide selection of these extraordinary masterpieces.

The Soul of the Man: JS Bach concert 1 
Monday 10 July 6.00pm - c.7.00pm NCEM, St Margaret's Church
Reserved seating: £18.00 (concessions £16.00, YP £5.00) 

Suite No.1 for cello in G major, BWV 1007 
Partita No. 1 for violin in B minor, BWV 1002 
Partita No. 3 for harpsichord in A minor, BWV 827

The Soul of the Man: JS Bach concert 2 
Monday 10 July 8.30pm - c.9.30pm NCEM, St Margaret's Church
Reserved seating: £18.00 (concessions £16.00, YP £5.00) 

Suite No. 2 for cello in D minor, BWV 1008 
Partita No. 1 for harpsichord in B flat major, BWV 825 
Partita No. 2 for violin in D minor, BWV 1004 

Sparkling Summer Supper: £12.00 
Join the NCEM for a glass of sparkling prosecco and a ploughman's supper.  
Please note that there are just 50 tickets available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.  

The Sixteen
Insight Day
Whether you are new to the Choral Pilgrimage repertoire or want to expand your existing knowledge, The Sixteen's Insight Days provide a fascinating exploration into the stories behind the music. 

Join singer and practical scholar Sally Dunkley and musicologist John Milsom for talks, debate and discussion.
Discover the rich history behind the 2017 CP repertory.
Experience intimate performances at close hand from a consort of Sixteen singers.

Tuesday 11 July 11.00am - c.3.00pm NCEM, St Margaret's Church
Reserved seating £25.00 including refreshments and a light lunch or £20 if booked with The Sixteen concert.

Consone String Quartet  
Masters of their Art 
Agata Daraaskaite, Magdalena Loth-Hill violins 
Elitsa Bogdanova viola, George Ross cello 
Haydn and Mozart were masters of one of the classical period's brightest new genres, the string quartet. The Consone Quartet pair Mozart's Adagio and Fugue and the dazzling counterpoint of the finale to his K387 String Quartet with Haydn's more clearly classical Op. 50 No. 5, known as 'The Dream' 

Tuesday 11 July 4.00pm - c.5.00pm Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate
Unreserved seating: £18.00 (concessions £16.00, YP £5.00)

The Sixteen directed by Harry Christophers 
The Olive Branch
The Sixteen returns to the Minster for a concert by two masters of sacred choral music separated by four centuries. Palestrina's mass based on the famous popular song L'homme armé was hugely popular in the 16th century, when it would have served as a timely reminder of the coarse atmosphere of war. Poulenc was also affected by conflict, and his Un soir de neige, composed in December 1944, reflects both the inner feeling of peace associated with Christmas and the bleak solitude of another winter of occupation in his native France.

Tuesday 11 July 7.30pm - c.9.15pm The Nave, York Minster
Reserved seating front nave: £30.00
Reserved seating rear nave: £23.00 (concessions £20.00) 
Unreserved seating side aisles: £16.00 (students £5.00) 

Kati Debretzeni violin Alison McGillivray cello Carole Cerasi harpsichord 
The Soul of the Man: JS Bach concert 3 
Partita No. 3 for violin in E major, BWV 1006 
Partita No. 2 for harpsichord in C minor, BWV 826 
Suite No. 3 for cello in C major, BWV 1009 

Tuesday 11 July 10.15pm - c.11.15pm NCEM, St Margaret's Church
Reserved seating: £18.00 (concessions £16.00, YP £5.00)  

Moving the Passion
Bach's St Matthew Passion was not composed to be a theatre piece, but its dramatic power has often led people to think of it as 'the great opera Bach never wrote'. Ahead of a semi-stage performance later in the day, YEMF Artistic Adviser Lindsay Kemp talks to conductor Peter Seymour and director Thomas Guthrie about animating this great masterpiece for the stage.  

Wednesday 12 July 10.30am - c.11.30am Bedern Hall, Bedern
£10.00 including coffee & biscuits on arrival 

Kati Debretzeni violin Alison McGillivray cello Carole Cerasi harpsichord 
The Soul of the Man: JS Bach concert 4 
Suite No. 4 for 'cello in Eb major, BWV 1010 
Sonata No. 1 for violin in g minor, BWV 1001 
Partita No. 6 for harpsichord in e minor, BWV 830

Wednesday 12 July 12.30pm - c.1.30pm St Olave's Church, Marygate
Unreserved seating: £18.00 (concessions £16.00, YP £5.00)  

Yorkshire Baroque Soloists directed by Peter Seymour 
JS Bach St Matthew Passion
Charles Daniels Evangelist
Matthew Brook Christus
Thomas Guthrie Pilate 
Bethany Seymour, Helen Neeves sopranos 
William Towers, Jeanette Ager altos   
Jason Darnell tenor Frederick Long bass

Bach's St Matthew Passion was never designed to be a concert piece. In this performance of Peter Seymour's new edition of Bach's early version, Yorkshire Baroque Soloists present a semi-staged production directed by Thomas Guthrie. The 'great Passion' was designed to be part of the Good Friday church service, and the sense that creates of a community enduring with dignity the traumatic events of the Crucifixion is also stirred here in organ solos and chorales involving the participation of the congregation - otherwise known as the audience!

These three chorales outline the work as a prelude, interlude and postlude. The audience will be invited to a short rehearsal immediately before the performance of the three chorales they will be singing.

Wednesday 12 July 6.30pm - c.10.00pm Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York 
Reserved seating: £28.00 (£25.00, YP £5.00) 

YEMF International Young Artists Showcase
The Festival is delighted to welcome emerging professional early music ensembles to York as they prepare for the 2017 International Young Artists Competition.  To help them settle in, and to ensure that you get to know them in advance of the judges, we are presenting a series of informal concerts introduced by performer, teacher and co-founder of the Festival, John Bryan. Performance details will be formalised in due time. 

Musicians are joining us from as far afield as Japan, Russia, Turkey and Israel as well as from across continental Europe and the UK. The countries noted in brackets indicate the ensemble's administrative base. 

Thursday 13 and Friday 14 July 
10.15am - c.4.00pm NCEM, St Margaret's Church 
Reserved Seating: 
Thursday Day ticket £30.00 (YP £5.00) 
Friday Day ticket £30.00 (YP £5.00) 

Nicholas Mulroy tenor Frances Kelly harp Paula Chateauneuf theorbo
A Drop of Amber Varnish: the adventures of Nicholas Lanier and Artemisia Gentileschi.  
'A very Ingenious vertuoso', Nicholas Lanier was appointed the first-ever Master of the King's Musick in 1625, but he was also an art connoisseur, sent by Charles I to Italy to buy paintings and recruit Italian artists for the English court. He returned not only with knowledge of the latest developments in Italian music, but having met and befriended the brilliant Artemisia Gentileschi, the first-ever professional woman painter. 

This concert of early 17th-century English and Italian music, including works by Lanier and Monteverdi, is accompanied by projections of paintings of and by Nicholas and Artemisia. 

Thursday 13 July 7.00pm - 8.15pm St Michael le Belfrey Church, High Petergate  
Unreserved seating Side Aisles, Balcony £20.00 (concessions £18.00, YP £5.00) 

Richard Boothby viola da gamba 
Telemann's Fantasias
Telemann composed sets of solo fantasias for flute, violin and harpsichord, but although it has long been known that he also wrote and published a set for viola da gamba, no copy was known until in 2015 one was discovered in a vast collection of music in a castle near Osnabrück. 

In the 250th anniversary year of Telemann's death, Richard Boothby introduces some of this long-lost music by one of the Baroque giants.

Thursday 13 July 9.00pm - c.10.00pm Chapter House, York Minster 
Unreserved seating: £18.00 (concessions £16.00, YP £5.00) 

Mala Punica directed by Pedro Memelsdorff recorder
Exile: Music and Migration in Late Medieval Europe
Music has long been the solace and talisman of wandering people: from the Crusaders (who traversed the Mediterranean until and even beyond the 14th century) to the pilgrims heading for Europe's major sanctuaries, to the transit routes of desperate populations escaping war and famine. Mala Punica features some of the most touching songs and lyrics of farewell and nostalgia preserved in 14th- and 15th-century sources. 

Barbara Zanichelli, soprano Markéta Cukrová mezzosoprano Raffaele Giordani tenor
Helena Zemanová, José Manuel Navarro vielles              
Pablo Kornfeld keyboards, Felixi Stricker slide trumpet                    

Friday 14 July 7.30pm - c8.45pm Quire, York Minster 
Reserved seating: £30.00 (concessions £28.00, YP £5.00) 

Come & Sing: Thomas Tallis' Spem in Alium directed by Peter Seymour and the Yorkshire Bach Choir 
What better way to celebrate a 40th anniversary than with Tallis' masterpiece for 40 voices - and in the glorious setting of the Chapter House of York Minster!  

Members of the Yorkshire Bach Choir will lead off - after that, it's up to all involved to enjoy the moment! 

Friday 14 July 9.30pm - c.10.15pm Chapter House, York Minster 
Participants tickets: £12.00 Observers tickets: £10.00 (YP £5.00) 

2017 York Early Music International Young Artists Competition
The 2017 York Early Music International Young Artists Competition will be presented by John Bryan and judged by violinist Margaret Faultless, Royal Academy of Music/Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; conductor Giulio Prandi from the Ghislieri College, Pavia/EEEmerging project; recording engineer Philip Hobbs of Linn Records; Pedro Memelsdorff, director Mala Punica and Graham Dixon, Head of Radio, European Broadcasting Union, Geneva. 

The winners will be announced at the end of the afternoon  and will receive a professional CD recording contract from Linn Records, a cheque for £1,000 and opportunities to work with BBC Radio 3 and the National Centre for Early Music. In addition, there are prizes from the EEEmerging project; Cambridge Early Music Festival and the Friends of the York Early Music Festival. 

Performance times will be announced on social media @yorkearlymusic and at

Saturday 15 July 10.00pm - c.5.30pm NCEM, St Margaret's Church
Reserved tickets: £40.00 (YP £5.00) 

BarrocoTout (Belgium)
Carlota Garcia flute
Izana Soria violin
Edouard Catalan cello
Ganael Schneider harpsichord
From the Lowlands to Paris
Trio sonatas by De Croes, Leclair and Telemann

Duo Seneca (Spain)
Candela Gomez Bonet, Clara Rada Gomez cellos
Virtuosos of the Cello
Music for two cellos by Kraft and Gabrielli

Ensemble Agamemnon (France)
Anaëlle Blanc-Verdin violin
François Cardey cornett
Arnaud Brétécher sackbut
Lucile Tessier bassoon
Kazuya Gunji harpsichord
Wunderkammer: Birth of a Northern Aesthetic
Austrian music by Fux, Schmelzer and Biber

Ensemble Molière (UK)
Flavia Hirte flute
Ellen Bundy violin
Kate Conway viola da gamba
Jakab Kaufmann bassoon
Satoko Doi-Luck harpsichord
Choice dance movements by Couperin and Rameau
Fieri Consort (UK)
Lucy Cox, Hannah Ely sopranos
Nancy Cole, Helen Charlston mezzo-sopranos
Tom Kelly, Josh Cooter tenors
David Maguire, Ben McKee basses
Love and Fortune: A Noble Legacy
Amorous madrigals by Rore, Marenzio, Wert, Dowland, Gibbons and Willaert

Il Botto Forte (Switzerland)
Shai Kribus oboe, recorder
Giacomo Catana violin
Federico Toffano cello
Alexandra Koreneva harpsichord
'Sanguineus and Melancholicus'
Trio sonatas by Prowo and CPE Bach

Le Palais des Songes (France)
Cécile Madelin soprano
Paul-Antoine Benos countertenor
Nicolas Rosenfeld recorder, bassoon
Julie Petit viola da gamba
Jeanne Jourquin harpsichord
Battle of the Bands
French and Italian styles meet in arias and sonatas by Lully, Castrucci, Montéclair, Vinci, Mouret and Handel

Les Contre-Sujets (France)
Samuel Rotsztejn recorder
Koji Yoda violin
Maya Enokida violin, viola
Eric Tinkerhess viola da gamba
Takahisa Aida harpsichord
Baroque Celebrities (of their time!)
Music by 'forgotten men' Naudot and Fasch 

Rumorum (Switzerland)
Grace Newcombe voice, harp
Jacob Mariani gittern
Ozan Karagöz voice, harp
Mara Winter flute
Félix Verry fiddle
Summer and Winter 
Songs from Medieval Germany by Romain, Neidhart and Wolkenstein 

The Counterpoints (Netherlands)
Thomas Triesschijn recorders
Anna Jane Lester violin
Aljosja Geert Mietus harpsichord
Handel's Grand Tour - Part 2
Music by Handel, Dieupart and Vivaldi 

Tickets: £5.00 to £30.00 are available from the NCEM at St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, York YO1 9TL. Telephone: 01904 658338. Email: Secure online booking at: 

Editors Notes:
York Early Music Festival is supported by the Arts Council England, Yorkshire; media partner BBC Radio 3; the National Centre for Early Music; tourism partners Welcome to Yorkshire and Visit York; the City of York Council; selected hotels and Creative Europe - the Culture Programme of the European Union.

The headline sponsor Hiscox Insurance is working alongside JW Creers Chartered Accountants; Harrowells Solicitors; Shepherd Building Group; University of York; Dean & Chapter, York and the many individuals who support the organisation through anonymous donations and by buying tickets each year.

The Minster Minstrels is run as a partnership between the NCEM and York Music Centre with support from the Mayfield Valley Arts Trust.  For details of the weekly programme 

York Early Music Festival is a member of REMA, the European Early Music Network and works alongside tourism partners Welcome to Yorkshire and Visit York, with particular thanks to  
The Grange Hotel / Middlethorpe Hall & Spa / Queens Hotel / Best Western Monk Bar Hotel  / Novotel  

The NCEM is engaged in a partnership programme with colleagues in France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Romania and Slovenia entitled EEEmerging, which is funded through Creative Europe and is designed to support young emerging professional ensembles.  See   

Thanks go to the Mayfield Valley Arts Trust and York Music Hub for their on-going support.