2017 Festival: 20th – 23rd April

New Paths has quickly established itself as one of the most important and exciting new festivals in the land. 2017 sees our trademark combination of world-class concerts and feet-on-the-ground community involvement, reaching out to children, to old people, and to all corners of the town in a series of pop-up performances.

Our bold programming, wonderful venues, and the beautiful town of Beverley, combine to make this an unmissable festival. Take a look at our list of events, and browse the dazzling array of artists converging in Beverley.  We pick out some of the themes and highlights of the festival on this page.

The joyful buzz of the New Paths festival comes from the passion and energy of our performers, but also from the warmth and commitment of the audience. Come and experience it for yourself in April!

View the 2017 Brochure (PDF, 10MB)

Fairest Isle

We take St George’s Day, falling on our festival Sunday, as cause to celebrate the glorious music of this Fairest Isle. We’re proud to present the world premiere of a piece co-commissioned by the festival from Scottish composer Alasdair Nicolson, in Sunday’s ‘Orb and Sceptre’.  Our journey through the ‘Best of British’ includes works by Britten, Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Finzi and a performance of Jonathan Dove’s sublime ‘The End’.

Come & Sing

Our popular Come & Sing event takes place on the festival Saturday. One of the greatest singing days in Yorkshire, this will be held again in memory of Alan Spedding. Join massed singers from throughout the region and beyond in a joyful morning singing Vivaldi’s Gloria, under the inspiring baton of Oliver Walker. Come and hear the finished product, with stunning soloists Ildikó Allen and Helen Charlston, in Beverley Minster.


We are thrilled to welcome back to Beverley four wonderful musicians who grew up in the area and owe much to their time in the East Riding: sopranos Ildikó Allen and Claire Booth, violist Rachel Robson, and horn player Nick Wolmark.  A rare opportunity to hear these outstanding singers and players – all of whom have gone on to enjoy flourishing musical careers – back on their home turf.

Westwood Resounds

Family and children’s events were amongst the most popular of the festival last year.  In 2017 the New Paths musicians present double the number of bubbly babies & toddlers concerts, including in Swinemoor.  A highlight will be a matinee performance for families of John Rutter’s charming musical entertainment ‘The Reluctant Dragon’ at the East Riding Theatre.  The festival also features a series of pop-up concerts throughout town, and takes music to those unable to attend concerts themselves.  Let the Westwood resound!

Celebration of Beverley

Beverley has been a town of culture since 700 AD!  The festival celebrates the town it is proud to call home in a number of special concerts.  Take our Musical Tour of the Minster or join us for a feast of nocturnal music Under the Starry Skies of St Mary’s and be captivated by the beauty of these splendid churches.  We also celebrate the life and work of local artist Fred Elwell in a stunning concert inspired by his masterful and moving paintings.  All paths lead to Beverley!


New Paths is honoured to host brand-new baroque group Contraband.  Directed and founded by harpsichordist Christopher Bucknall, Contraband’s hand-picked team of leading baroque musicians bursts into Beverley with electrifying performances and a workshop for local teenage musicians.  A golden thread running through Contraband’s inspiring concerts is the music of J.S. Bach.  As part of our celebration of Beverley we pay tribute to the town’s long-standing association with early music, in Beverley Early Music Festival’s 30th anniversary year.


At the heart of the festival is its spectacular programme of organ events.  This year we welcome two international recitalists for “Le Crunch”: we travel to Bridlington Priory to hear Andrew Dewar play a dazzling all-French programme; and we return to Beverley Minster to hear Christian Wilson play a programme of great British organ music.  Three young organ students will again be resident for the festival, learning from the masters and performing alongside them.


April 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the death of Olivier Messiaen. Organist and ornithologist, a towering figure of twentieth-century composition, Messiaen wrote some of the most colourful and instantly identifiable music of any of his contemporaries. His fascination with the exotic, as well as with birdsong, and his intensely spiritual personal beliefs, makes for his unique and magical sound-world. We explore his evocative music in a number of our programmes – in song, in flute music, and in an organ recital of composers connected with Messiaen.

Namesake composers

Schumann wrote excitedly that Brahms was furthering musical ‘New Paths’, and so we continue our journey through the great chamber works and songs of our two namesake composers, close friends and mutual sources of musical inspiration. Under the Starry Skies features an array of richly romantic night-time songs, and Inspired by Elwell includes Schumann’s tender and touching account of the love and life of a woman, Frauenliebe und -leben. Brahms’ Horn Trio on the Opening Night, his F minor clarinet sonata in A Retrospective, and Schumann’s radiant Piano Quintet to close the festival draw an arc of magnificent chamber music over the 2017 festival in Beverley.