Events

Spring Festival 2024

Day One

Wednesday 10th April 2024

Opening concert

La Trompette

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Wednesday 10th April 2024
  • 8pm - 9:40pm
  • £15

Torelli: Trumpet Concerto in D | Saint-Saëns: Septet | Boulanger: D’un matin de printemps | Rubbra: Oboe Sonata | Songs by Brahms, Joubert and Tosti

We raise the curtain on the festival with a concert named after the late-night Parisian music club which Saint-Saëns frequented, and for which he wrote his rambunctious Septet. This smorgasboard of music sets up our festival themes of nature and friendship, and showcases many of the musicians appearing this week. From the baroque splendours of Torelli to the Neapolitan charm of Tosti, from the mid-century angst of Rubbra to the sunny D’un matin de printemps, the collection takes us on a true European journey. Hull composer John Joubert’s Five Songs were only published as a collection last year, and to perform them we welcome back star tenor Alessandro Fisher, whose singing here in 2022 was stunning.

“Arguably the finest ever recorded version of Rubbra’s magnificent Sonata” (Music Web International on James Turnbull & Libby Burgess’ disc The English Oboe: Rediscovered)

Alessandro Fisher (tenor) | Alex Caldon (trumpet) | Alexandra Caldon (violin) | Jamie Campbell (violin) | Rosalind Ventris (viola) | Cara Berridge (cello) | Marianne Schofield (double bass) | Libby Burgess (piano)

Day Two

Thursday 11th April 2024

Breakfast with Brahms

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Thursday 11th April 2024
  • 9am - 9:30am
  • Free

Brahms: Violin Sonata in A

Composed in the Alps in summertime, Brahms’ second violin sonata captures both the sunshine and the wide open space with which he was surrounded as he wrote. Quoting his own Op 105 songs about music and memory, heard in Wednesday’s concert, Brahms combines introspection and heart-on-sleeve passion in this rich beautiful work. Jamie Campbell makes a welcome return to Beverley this year and joins Libby Burgess in this joyful start to the day.

Jamie Campbell (violin) | Libby Burgess (piano)

Coffee concert

Memento

  • Toll Gavel United Church
  • Thursday 11th April 2024
  • 11am - 12noon
  • £15

Mozart: Oboe Quartet | Witter-Johnson: Meditation | Dodgson: Countdown | MacMillan: Memento | Vaughan Williams: Phantasy Quintet

Vaughan Williams’ quintet for strings was written shortly after his famous Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, and similarly takes medieval music as its starting point, creating a timeless spaciousness. With its warm texture featuring two violas there is an almost orchestral expansiveness to this nostalgic music. We mark Stephen Dodgson’s centenary year with Countdown – a jovial and lyrical suite for oboe and harp written in honour of the late Queen Mother’s 90th birthday: each movement counts something different, from candles to sheep to blessings! Reflective contemporary works by Ayanna Witter-Johnson and James MacMillan are offset against the frothy energy of Mozart’s much-loved oboe quartet.

Supported by the Stephen Dodgson Charitable Trust.

James Turnbull (oboe) | Eleanor Turner (harp) | Alessandro Ruisi (violin) | Jamie Campbell (violin) | Kasia Ziminska (viola) | Rosalind Ventris (viola) | Cara Berridge (cello)

That most human of all instruments

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Thursday 11th April 2024
  • 2:30pm - 3:40pm
  • £15

Brahms: Viola Songs | Bridge: Viola songs | Clarke: English and Irish folksongs | Music by Villa-Lobos, Mills and Saint- Saëns

In recognition of his major contribution to the musical life of Beverley across thirty years, as Artistic Director of the Beverley Chamber Music Festival, we are delighted to name Martin Roscoe our Honorary Associate Artist. For his first New Paths concert in that capacity, Martin has chosen to collaborate with contralto Jess Dandy and violinist Fenella Humphreys, in a programme that ranges from the rich sonority of Brahms and Bridge to the Brazilian sound-world of Villa-Lobos, from English and Irish folksongs interpreted by Rebecca Clarke to Rainer Maria Rilke’s words set by Welsh composer Alex Mills.

“A bronze depth of tone” (Gramophone Magazine on Jess Dandy)

Martin Roscoe (piano) | Jess Dandy (contralto) | Fenella Humphreys (violin and viola) 

Talk

A listening ear

  • East Riding Theatre
  • Thursday 11th April 2024
  • 4:30pm - 5:30pm
  • Free

Dr Jonathan Clinch, Lecturer at the Royal Academy of Music, returns to Beverley to consider how we listen to British music – at a time when the very notion and identity of Britishness is a divisive topic. Drawing on ideas from Charles Stanford in his centenary year, Jonathan will outline new ways of enjoying what we know and love, as well as exploring the unknown – taking in music familiar and obscure from across the festival programme.

Dr Jonathan Clinch (speaker)

Evening concert

Wedding present

  • East Riding Theatre
  • Thursday 11th April 2024
  • 8pm - 9:20pm
  • £15

Schumann: Myrthen | Bach: French Suite in G major | Messiaen: Theme and Variations | Elgar: Salut d’amour

After a decade of battling her family’s refusals, as they rejected her chosen partner, Clara Wieck finally married Robert Schumann in 1840 – and, as a wedding gift, he wrote her a set of songs. Myrthen, named after a wedding garland, explores facets of love: a parent’s love, a distant love, a love of a drink, and, of course, romantic love. Celebrated song singers Harriet Burns and Alessandro Fisher join Libby Burgess for this beautiful cycle, rarely performed in its entirety. Interspersed between the songs are other pieces written as wedding or engagement gifts, by Bach, Messiaen and Elgar, featuring violinist Fenella Humphreys.

Harriet Burns (soprano) | Alessandro Fisher (tenor) | Libby Burgess (piano) | Fenella Humphreys (violin)

Late-night concert

Late Beethoven

  • St John of Beverley RC Church
  • Thursday 11th April 2024
  • 10pm – 10:45pm
  • £10

Beethoven: String Quartet No 15 Op 132

A troubled, unwell man, unable to hear, and who knew his life was running out: Beethoven’s late period generated music of extraordinary intensity, innovation, and profundity. After his vast ninth symphony, Beethoven turned almost solely to string quartets in his last years. These late quartets were roundly dismissed by the audience of the day: composer Louis Spohr called them ‘indecipherable, uncorrected horrors’ – and yet this music has had a deep effect on generations since. Op 132 is particularly moving for its journey through depression and illness to healing and hope, in its Song of Thanksgiving, or Heiliger Dankgesang.

Jamie Campbell (violin) | Alessandro Ruisi (violin) | Kasia Ziminska (viola) | Nathaniel Boyd (cello)

Day Three

Friday 12th April 2024

Breakfast with Bach

  • St Mary’s Church - Chancel
  • Friday 12th April 2024
  • 9am - 9:30am
  • Free

Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor | Partita in E major

Violinist Fenella Humphreys opens our day of organ celebrations with her own transcription for solo violin of Bach’s iconic Toccata and Fugue in D minor. The last of Bach’s solo sonatas and partitas for violin is in the bright key of E major: from the first note of its exuberant Preludio, this collection of dances is sure to sparkle and soothe in the early morning beauty of St Mary’s.

“Humphreys’s utter absorption and delight shines forth at every turn …. strong-toned, easy fluidity and immaculate technique” (Gramophone Magazine)

Fenella Humphreys (violin)

Babies & toddlers

Sounds of spring

  • Toll Gavel United Church
  • Friday 12th April 2024
  • 10:30am - 11:15am
  • Free (registration advised)

Our baby and toddler concerts are always a highlight of the New Paths calendar, as our youngest audiences dance and sing (and cry and feed) to live music performed up close by our festival artists. Entry is free but reserve your place for little ones and their grown-ups to enjoy a relaxed morning of top quality music.

Lunchtime concert

Spring Masque

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Friday 12th April 2024
  • 12noon - 1:10pm
  • £12

Fauré: Piano Trio | Duruflé: Prélude, Récitatif et Variations | Barber: Hermit Songs | Clarke: Passacaglia | Sutton: Spring Masque

Inspired by the timeless architecture of St Mary’s, we weave a journey through pieces celebrating earlier times. Samuel Barber’s Hermit Songs set texts written by 8th-13th century Irish monks, painting life in all its fullness, from The Monk and his Cat or Promiscuity to The Crucifixion and The Desire for Hermitage. Duruflé’s Trio for flute, viola and piano takes a plainsong melody as its theme, while fellow Frenchman Fauré’s piano trio takes hints of medieval modal harmony and reimagines them in heartfelt chromaticisms. Celebrated violist Rosalind Ventris also features in two pieces evoking Middle England – Rebecca Clarke’s Passacaglia on an Old English Tune, and Adrian Sutton’s toe-tapping folk-infused Spring Masque.

“Burns’s huge soprano voice is terrifically exciting when it’s at full throttle, but warmly tender when shaded down” (The Times)

Harriet Burns (soprano) | Fiona Colville (flute) | Libby Burgess (piano) | Fenella Humphreys (violin) | Rosalind Ventris (viola)

Talk

Dame Gillian Weir in Conversation

  • Toll Gavel United Church
  • Friday 12th April 2024
  • 2:30pm - 3:30pm
  • Free entry

Dame Gillian Weir has enjoyed an unparalleled career as an internationally acclaimed concert organist. Born in New Zealand, she won the prestigious St Albans International Organ Competition and made her Royal Festival Hall and Proms debuts, all whilst still a student. Since then she has spent five decades touring the world, performing, making benchmark recordings, teaching, and broadcasting, This is a special opportunity to hear Dame Gillian’s stories and reflections from a prestigious and fascinating career, and to hear about her special relationship with Olivier Messiaen and his music, prior to this afternoon’s competition.

Competition final

The Gillian Weir Messiaen Prize

  • Beverley Minster
  • Friday 12th April 2024
  • 4pm - 5:45pm
  • Free

Dame Gillian Weir is one of the pre-eminent Messiaen interpreters worldwide, and in 2018 she endowed the Gillian Weir Messiaen Prize for students at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, in recognition of the organ department’s ‘glowing international reputation’. We are delighted to be hosting the final of this year’s competition, as part of our new partnership with the Conservatoire. Three outstanding student organists each present a 20-minute programme, including music by Messiaen, to a panel comprising Westminster Cathedral Director of Music Simon Johnson, New Paths Artistic Director Libby Burgess, and Dame Gillian herself. The afternoon begins with a short introduction to the Minster’s organ and the challenges faced by the competitors, by Minster Director of Music Robert Poyser and Conservatoire Head of Department Daniel Moult, and concludes with a public adjudication by the panel.

Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served during the break whilst judging takes place.

Evening concert

Portraits of a Mind

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Friday 12th April 2024
  • 8pm - 9:15pm
  • £15

Finzi: Bagatelles | Poulenc: Huit chansons polonaises | Bacewicz: Polish Caprice | Bartok: String Quartet No 3 | Venables: Portraits of a Mind

Ian Venables’ ethereal Portraits of a Mind, for tenor, string quartet and piano, was commissioned by the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society in honour of that earlier composer’s 150th Anniversary in 2022, and premiered by Alessandro Fisher, who performs it tonight. Inspired by the musical language of Vaughan Williams and his artistic credo – ‘the object of art is to reach out to the ultimate realities through the medium of beauty’ – Venables references music from The House of Life to The Lark Ascending, in a deeply evocative and atmospheric cycle. Shadows of wars lie variously over Poulenc’s Polish songs – written in the style of Chopin, in homage to the composer whose music he so admired – and Bartok’s visceral third quartet, as well as Finzi’s serene pastoral Bagatelles for clarinet and piano, premiered at the National Gallery in the 1940s.

“Fisher’s performance was supremely accomplished, delivering songs in French, Russian, German, and Italian with equal ease – and his high notes were floated with exceptional grace” (The Independent)

John Slack (clarinet) | Alessandro Fisher (tenor) | Libby Burgess (piano) |  Jamie Campbell (violin) | Alessandro Ruisi (violin) | Rosalind Ventris (viola) | Kasia Ziminska (viola) | Nathaniel Boyd (cello)

Late-night concert

Sanctuary

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Friday 12th April 2024
  • 10pm - 10:45pm
  • £10

Christian Forshaw and Grace Davidson’s Historical Fiction performance in 2021 was a real festival highlight, and here they return with another late-night collaboration weaving together the haunting sonorities of saxophone, soprano and organ. 2024 marks the twentieth anniversary of Christian’s groundbreaking album, Sanctuary, which reached the top of the charts and was played over 200 times in the year of its release by Classic FM. Simple ecclesiastical melodies inspired by Christian’s childhood as a church chorister are cast in a new contemporary light and developed into atmospheric concert pieces, perfect for the candlelit setting of St Mary’s.

Grace Davidson (soprano) | Christian Forshaw (saxophone) | Richard Pinel (organ)

Day Four

Saturday 13th April 2024

Yoga

  • Quaker Meeting House
  • Saturday 13th April 2024
  • 9am-9:45am & 10am-10:45am
  • £15 per session

In the tranquil setting of the Quaker Meeting House, Madeleine Holmes guides two practices to rejuvenate you for Spring, with live music from harpist Eleanor Turner.

9am: Rejuvenate: Yin Yoga for Spring Awakening
A gentle, nourishing sequence of deep, passively held postures to refresh the waters of body, mind and spirit for the Spring season of rebirth. This seated/prone/supine practice will focus on relaxing muscular effort and targeting the connective tissue that binds together our whole body, releasing what no longer serves us as we embrace the opportunity for renewal.

10am: Rejoice: Yoga Flow for Rebirth
An uplifting, heart-opening flow to warm the fire of the body, mind and spirit and stimulate grounded growth as we root to rise through the Spring season ahead. This practice includes a mixture of seated/prone/supine warm-ups, flowing standing sequences, and a meditation in savasana.

Both sessions are suitable for all*, including beginners. Please bring a mat and any props (blocks / blanket for your knees if necessary). Take either class, or both consecutively! Numbers for these events are very limited owing to the small space so early booking is advised.

*Please consult your doctor before taking up a new form of exercise, and if pregnant, refrain from practice during the first trimester.

Coffee concert

Nature the Great Teacher

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Saturday 13th April 2024
  • 11am - 12:10pm
  • £15

Whitacre: Seal Lullaby | Bennett: Country Dances | Rossini: William Tell Overture | Feery: Boreal | Frances-Hoad: Star Falling | Finnis: Quartet No 1 ‘Aloysius’ | Kloppers: Last Rose of Summer | Feery: Boreal

Clouds, valleys, breezes, waves, mountains, petals and stars – all are woven together in this homage to nature, the great teacher. Whitacre’s choral music is celebrated the world over, and here his Seal Lullaby is performed by strings and piano. Edmund Finnis’ 2018 first string quartet was praised by The Times for its ‘affecting rocking patterns, expressive musings on gravely beautiful polyphony by Byrd, and natural ease.’ Nature is at the basis of much folk music, so we hear jazz-infused transcriptions for saxophone by Richard Rodney Bennett of 16th century country dances, and a lyrical arrangement by Jacobus Kloppers of Irish tune The Last Rose of Summer. To conclude the programme, organist Richard Pinel joins pianist Libby Burgess in their own flamboyant duet arrangement of the William Tell Overture (better known to some as ‘The Lone Ranger’).

“Choose only one master – Nature” (Rembrandt)

Jamie Campbell (violin) | Alessandro Ruisi (violin) | Kasia Ziminska (viola) | Rosalind Ventris (viola) | Nathaniel Boyd (cello) | Libby Burgess (piano) | Richard Pinel (organ) | Christian Forshaw (saxophone)

Outdoor event

Westwood Walk

  • The Westwood
  • Saturday 13th April 2024
  • 2pm - 3:30pm
  • Free

The Westwood Pasture is a beloved feature of Beverley life, a 600-acre expanse of common land on the edge of the town. Once a dense and noble oak forest, the Westwood is now known for its open vistas, and to this day local pasture freemen have grazing rights here. Join fellow festivalgoers on a guided walk across one of the great urban commons of England, punctuated by short live musical items along the way.

Meet at the Market Cross for a 2pm departure. The terrain will be a mixture of paved paths and grass: please choose footwear accordingly. If particularly bad weather prevents us from going ahead, information will be posted on this website.

Afternoon concert

Those who can, teach

  • Beverley Minster
  • Saturday 13th April 2024
  • 4:30pm - 5:40pm
  • £12

Reinecke: ‘Undine’ Flute Sonata | Bruch: Eight pieces (extracts) | Janáček: Pohádka | Piano pieces by Smyth, Albeniz and Grieg

Good teachers can be lifechanging, and so, in his 200th anniversary year, we dive into the world of Carl Reinecke – one of the great composition teachers of his day, with an improbably eclectic range of students. Journeying through them we encounter Bruch, his soulful Jewish heritage worn heart on sleeve in trios for clarinet, cello and piano; Janáček, whose ghostly, atmospheric fairy-tale story Pohádka features cellist Cara Berridge; Albeniz, all Mediterranean sunshine in his Tango; and Grieg and Smyth, whose romantic lyricism shine through in piano solos from Artistic Director Libby Burgess. Woven between this cast are the movements of Reinecke’s own most famous piece, Undine, for which we are delighted to welcome flautist Fiona Colville back to Beverley.

Fiona Colville (flute) | Libby Burgess (piano) | John Slack (clarinet) | Cara Berridge (cello)

Evening concert

Saturday Night Live

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Saturday 13th April 2024
  • 8pm - 9:40pm
  • £18

Mozart: Clarinet Quintet | Prokofiev: Overture on Hebrew Themes | Dranishnikova: Poem | Mayer: Piano trio in B minor

Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet regularly tops the charts as one of the most-loved pieces of chamber music of all time – the serenity of its slow movement matched by the sheer joy and elegance of its fast music. Much-loved New Paths clarinettist John Slack returns to Beverley for this special festival moment. Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes sets traditional Jewish melodies and was commissioned by colleagues in the US; the klezmer style draws together ‘melancholy joy’, piquant rhythms, and footstamping energy. Prokofiev’s family friend Marina Dranishnikova has left only one piece to posterity, the Poem for oboe and piano – but it is magical – deeply soulful and passionate. Emilie Mayer’s style is reminiscent of her better-known male contemporary Mendelssohn, and her music is now rightly being played more regularly: Alessandro Ruisi and Nathaniel Boyd join artistic director Libby Burgess for this lyrical and virtuosic work.

James Turnbull (oboe) | John Slack (clarinet) | Alessandro Ruisi (violin) | Jamie Campbell (violin) | Kasia Ziminska (viola) | Nathaniel Boyd (cello) | Libby Burgess (piano)

Day Five

Sunday 14th April 2024

Morning Worship

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Sunday 14th April 2024
  • 9:30am - 10:45pm
  • Free

Join the choir and congregation of St Mary’s for their Sunday morning service of Holy Communion – with appearances by New Paths musicians too.

Jazz Drinks

Spring Fever

  • Upstairs at the Monks Walk Inn
  • Sunday 14th April 2024
  • 12noon - 1pm
  • £15

Buy yourself a drink from the bar at the Monks Walk, and head upstairs to this intimate acoustic music venue – with a 13th-century wall for a backdrop. Lyric soprano Madeleine Holmes – regular guest vocalist at The Ritz – leads us on a brunchtime hop through some of our favourite moments of spring and love from the golden age of the American Songbook, from first love through lost love to loving again with the Gershwins, Rodgers & Hart & Hammerstein, Cole Porter, John Dankworth and Michel Legrand.

Please note this venue is on the first floor (up 16 steps with a handrail) and because of the historic nature of the building there is no lift available.

Double Bill 1

Darkness and Light

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Sunday 14th April 2024
  • 3pm - 4:10pm
  • £12

Vaughan Williams: House of Life | Shostakovich: Cello Sonata | Poulenc: Flute Sonata

Cellist Nathaniel Boyd was a hit as part of our cello team in 2023, and here he joins Libby Burgess in Shostakovich’s striking cello sonata. Shostakovich’s life and creativity were governed by the political strictures of Soviet-era Russia, and yet in the sonata it is personal struggle that underwrites the music, written during a period of separation from his wife. Poulenc as a person and a musician encapsulated ‘darkness and light’: his writing swings between exuberant and nostalgic – he himself was described by a contemporary as ‘monk and the rascal’. Following Friday’s homage to Vaughan Williams, Jessica Dandy performs House of Life, an intimate celebration of mutual love, drawing together six of the most delicate and devoted sonnets by poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, including one of Vaughan Williams’ most loved songs, Silent Noon.

Buy a combined Double Bill ticket for this and the next concert at just £20.

Fiona Colville (flute) | Jess Dandy (contralto) | Nathaniel Boyd (cello) | Libby Burgess (piano)

Double Bill 2

Closing Concert

  • St Mary’s Church
  • Sunday 14th April 2024
  • 4:45pm - 5:30pm
  • £12

Brahms: Piano Quintet

New Paths is built around friendships, and so is the story of Brahms’ Piano Quintet: the evolution of the piece was steered by advice and suggestions from Brahms’ two closest friends and musical collaborators, Joseph Joachim and Clara Schumann, and changed guise several times. The final result – continuing the theme of darkness and light from the previous concert – combines torrential outpourings and fieriness with rapturous romantic serenity, in an exhilarating showpiece for our string team and pianist. One of the great works of chamber music, our festival closer also pays homage to our own name: Robert Schumann was so impressed by Brahms’ music that he wrote an article describing its Neue Bahnen – or, ‘new paths’.

Buy a combined Double Bill ticket for this and the previous concert at just £20.

Jamie Campbell (violin) | Alessandro Ruisi (violin) | Kasia Ziminska (viola) | Cara Berridge (cello) | Libby Burgess (piano)