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York Early Music Christmas Festival 2017 - a Calendar Highlight

York Early Music Christmas Festival 8-16 December 2017

Tune into a more relaxed and melodious chord of Christmas as organised by the National Centre for Early Music during their much-loved annual presentation of the York Early Music Christmas Festival. 

Twelve events over nine days, and with over twenty-four hours of uplifting early music and performance, the programme opens on Friday 8th December and features; the warm and sensual tones of soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, (Fri 8th) the popular Christmas presence of the Yorkshire Bach Choir, (Sat 9th) the well-loved and luscious voices of Joglaresa (Mon 11th) and a focus on York talent with The Ebor Singers (Tue 12th) and The York Waits (Wed 13th). There's also an opportunity for singers to find their own voice during a participatory choral workshop, led by Alexander Kyle (Sat 9th). 

The performances are mainly held in the intimate candlelit surroundings of the NCEM's York home in St Margaret's Church, off Walmgate, and there are mince pies provided at most concerts, providing an additional festive treat. 

Delma Tomlin, Director of NCEM, says: "We're rounding off our marvellous anniversary year with a bumper Christmas festival, which this year sees more events, days and music than the past few years. We've programmed festival favourites, such as Joglaresa, who never fail to draw the audiences, but we are welcoming new and lovely musical performances also, such as Chiaroscuro String Quartet.  

"The Christmas Festival is a lovely time of year, and it's always heartening to see the engaging audiences taking time out to let themselves be absorbed by the ensembles. We're also pleased to be hosting the latest from our eeemerging residency, Concerto de Margherita. It's set to be another enjoyable festival and a wonderful end to rather a fulfilling and busy year." 

Full programme details available at:

Tickets available: £5.00 to £30.00 (concessions available) 
Under 35s - £5 If you are under 35 or a full-time student you can purchase a £5 ticket for concerts this year. These are limited and available on a first come first served basis, and ID is needed at collection. More info and T&Cs: 
Tickets are now on sale and available on /

OR from the NCEM at St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, York YO1 9TL
Telephone: 01904 658338

Social Media: 
Twitter: @yorkearlymusic
Instagram: nationalcentreforearlymusic

Full Programme:

▪ BarrocoTout
As part of BBC Radio 3's 'A Bach Christmas', the winners of the 2017 York Early Music Festival's International Young Artists Competition, perform Bach's 'unique gift to Frederick the Great' - a set of fugues, canons and an elegant trio sonata. 
Friday 8th December at 1pm, NCEM, St Margaret's Church, Walmgate York 

▪ Elin Manahan Thomas soprano and Elizabeth Kenny lute/theorbo
Now Winter Comes Slowly
Elin Manahan Thomas performed at the Cultural Paralympics 2012 and is joined by Elizabeth Kenny to create a warm and cosy evening of winter favourites. Featuring scenes from Purcell's Fairy Queen and King Arthur, celebratory Christmas songs by Bach and traditional carols and Noels, their popular alliance will sprinkle a bit of musical magic on a dark winter's night. 
Friday 8th December at 7:30pm, NCEM, St Margaret's Church, Walmgate York  

▪ Chiaroscuro Quartet - Haydn'Seek Op.76
A rare opportunity to hear the complete Haydn opus in consecutive concerts here in York, led by Alina Ibragimova, violinist who has performed at the Royal Albert Hall amongst other places. This is the last complete set of string quartets written by the composer, showcasing his innovative writing and creating a very special journey.
Saturday 9th 11.30am - 12.30pm. Haydn String Quartets in B flat major, Op.76, No.4 'Sunrise' & D minor, Op.76, No.2 'Fifths'.

Saturday 9th 5pm - 6pm. Haydn String Quartets in C major, Op.76, No.3 'Emperor' & E flat major, Op.76, No.6.

Sunday 10th 11.30am - 12.30pm Haydn String Quartets in G major, Op.76, No.1 & D major, Op.76, No.5 'Largo'.

Including mince pies and coffee, NCEM, St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, York

▪ A Choral Workshop led by Alexander Kyle
Join us to explore the Messe de minuit pour Noel, one of Charpentier's eleven mass settings featuring some of his most lively and attractive music. The workshop gives confident sight singers of all voices an opportunity to study and perform this delightful seasonable work in historic surroundings.
Saturday 9th December 10.30am - 4.30pm, NCEM, St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, York 

▪ Yorkshire Bach Choir, conducted by Peter Seymour, with Yorkshire Baroque Soloists
Handel Dixit Dominus Vivaldi Gloria Haydn Nelson Mass
Creating a memorable Christmas moment, this colourful programme features some of the 18th century's most popular and invigorating music for chorus and instruments. From virtuosic compositions to Venetian energy and atmospheric settings, prepare for a delightful and emotion-filled musical journey.
Saturday 9th December at 7.30pm, Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York 

▪ Concerto di Margherita
Cara La Vita Mia
At the end of their 10-day residency, experience a programme of madrigals, instrumental canzone, villanelle and arie from the late 16th century, with a twist: the ensemble's members sing and accompany themselves simultaneously, creating a rich and layered musical texture. This young ensemble brings a fresh, creative light to songs of hope from the magnificent court of Ferrara.
Sunday 10th December at 5pm - 6pm, Merchant Adventurer's Hall, Fossgate, York YO1 9XD 
FB @concertodimargherita 

▪ Orlando Consort
Alleluia Nativitas - A Medieval Christmas and New Year
Travelling from hauntingly spiritual music written a thousand years ago via spectacular pieces from the 13th and 14th centuries, the established ensemble will please audiences this season. The programme presents inventive, sophisticated and irresistible Christmas with music by Perotin, Dufay, Clemens non Papa and anon!
Sunday 10th December at 7.30pm, NCEM, St Margaret's Church, York

▪ Joglaresa
Make We Merthe!
Blowing the dust off medieval song and bringing seasonal cheer to Yuletide, Joglaresa's concerts are a romp through the carols of Christmas past. With fidel, harp, bells and voices, Joglaresa ring in Christmas and the New Year.
Monday 11th December at 7.30pm, NCEM, St Margaret's Church, York

▪ The Ebor Singers with Chelys Consort of Viols, directed by Paul Gameson
Verse Anthems and Carols from the English Civil War
Amidst the fighting to secure his kingdom Charles I continued to celebrate the festive season, while Parliament did its best to abolish Christmas Day. Join local York-born Tim Bailey for an uplifting musical journey through the story of the King's war-torn court. With music by Jeffreys, Jenkins, William and Henry Lawes amongst others.
Tuesday 12th December at 7.30pm, NCEM, St Margaret's Church, York 

▪ The York Waits
Godday My Lord Sir Christemas
A Celebration of English medieval and Tudor music for the Festive Season
Join the York-based Waits and their fantastic looking instruments, to explore the varied range of Advent and Christmas music from the 15th to the early 16th centuries. The noyse of shawms and sackbuts, bagpipes and hurdy gurdy herald the arrival of Yule, telling the story of the Nativity enjoyed by our ancestors.
Wednesday 13th December at 7.30pm, NCEM, St Margaret's Church, York 

▪ The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments
The Longest Night
In Norway, the festival of Lussinatten celebrates the longest night of the year. Legend has it that on this night, Lussi, a feared enchantress, punishes anyone who dares to work, and from Lussinatten until Christmas, spirits, gnomes and trolls roam the Earth. Celebrate devilish tunes, ancient Irish, Norwegian and English folk carols and other festive musical treats.
Saturday 16th December at 7.30pm, NCEM, St Margaret's Church, York 


Media Enquiries: 
Lindsey Porter, on behalf of National Centre for Early Music 
m: 07568 309154

Editors Notes:
▪ York Early Music Christmas Festival is supported by the Arts Council England, Mayfield Valley Arts Trust, the National Centre for Early Music, Tourism partners Welcome to Yorkshire, the City of York Council and members of the York Hoteliers Association. 

EEEmerging is supported by the Creative Europe Culture programme of the European Union.