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Festivals

Keble Early Music Festival

An annual festival of early music, featuring outstanding professional artists alongside student groups, workshops and talks, in the stunning Butterfield chapel.

When

📅Wed, 21 February 2024Sat, 24 February 2024

About

The Keble Early Music Festival was founded in 2015, initially as a platform for student performers, but quickly developed into its current form, hosting performances by some of the best professional artists in the field of early music. Recent guest artists have included the Tallis Scholars, Gabrieli Consort, the BBC Singers, the Academy of Ancient Music, Blackadder Baroque Brass, His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts, Rachel Podger, Roderick Williams, and many more, alongside a regular collaboration with Instruments of Time & Truth, Oxford’s world-class period instrument ensemble.

These concerts are interspersed with student performances, often with collaborative opportunities for students to work alongside professionals. A regular feature is a showcase for The Bate Collective, Oxford University’s historical performance ensemble, with access to instruments from The Bate Collection. With education as a strong theme, the KEMF has in recent years branched out to include schools workshops, in collaboration with the Oxfordshire County Music Service and Instruments of Time & Truth, and a regular one-day adult workshop in association with the Thames Valley Early Music Forum. Amid the busy programme of concerts are the regular chapel services, with an opportunity to hear the college’s first-rate choir sing Choral Evensong at 6pm on Wednesday and Compline by candlelight on Thursday at 9pm.

This year’s festival is the first under the artistic lead of Christian Wilson, Keble’s new Director of Music. It begins by marking the 550th anniversary of Guillaume Dufay with a performance by the award-winning Binchois Consort on Wednesday 21 February. The following day, Edward Higginbottom directs French penitential masterpieces for soprano, organ and basse de viole. On Friday 23 we are delighted to be joined for two events by Andrew Parrott, pioneering figure of the early music movement. At 4pm he talks to Nicholas Kenyon about his life in music and 50 years of the Taverner Choir, Consort & Players. Later that evening he is joined by Taverner friends for a musical voyage through the diaries of Samuel Pepys. On Sunday 24 Bach’s iconic Goldberg Variations will be performed on the harpsichord by celebrated keyboardist Stephen Farr. The Festival then culminates in a semi-staged performance of Handel’s Acis & Galatea, for which Keble’s choir has been working with opera director Nicholas Heath, and will be joined by Instruments of Time & Truth and a glittering cast of soloists.

The Festival is proud of its educational core, and this year’s festival features no fewer than three student groups, including Antiquum Documentum, Oxford’s newest early music choir in a programme featuring works from the Eton Choirbook. As in previous years, there will also be a schools workshop and a day-long adult workshop for voices and instruments. We hope to see you there!

Concerts

Location

Keble College Chapel, Oxford

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