Classical and contemporary musical heavyweights come together this month for the Cambridge Music Festival, which takes place 8-24 November. A series of concerts taking place around the city, the event is once again serving up a dazzling line-up, offering a chance to see world-class artists at stunning venues including Ely Cathedral and King’s College Chapel.
The event, which has been running since 1991, grew out of a celebration to mark the bicentenary of Mozart’s death, in which local music groups, schools, artists and other parts of the community came together for a series of more than 70 events across four weeks. It was such a resounding success that the festival has now become an annual happening, going from strength to strength and pulling in an ever more impressive array of musicians.
This year, join the boundary-pushing percussionist Steve Reich when he stops by at the Corn Exchange on 8 November as part of a tour to celebrate his 80th birthday.
The man who The Guardian described as “giving the contemporary musical world a licence to groove” will showcase both mesmerising minimalism with his riveting, rhythmic Clapping for Two People, and lush, large-scale masterpieces such as Music for 18 Musicians – a heady composition featuring four grand pianos, marimbas, xylophones, voices, strings and clarinets.
The next night, join Britten Sinfonia, the Choir of King’s College Cambridge and conductor Stephen Cleobury for Organ Gala, which features spellbinding works from Bach, Duruflé, Karg Elert and Poulenc. Taking place in King’s College Chapel, it will be the first concert for this majestic building’s newly restored organ, a treat indeed for acclaimed organist Thomas Trotter.
On 11 November over at the Mumford Theatre, world renowned cellist Matthew Barley will perform a free, lunchtime concert, whilst the following evening at Ely Cathedral enjoy the sublime choral masterpiece, Elgar: The Dream Of Gerontius.
Another highlight is sure to be the Piano Circus at the Mumford on the 18th. An electronic keyboard sextet recognised as one of the world’s leading contemporary music ensembles, they’ll perform a selection of pieces including Julia Wolfe’s My Lips from Speaking and the seminal Six Pianos by Steve Reich.
From Schubert to Beethoven and Brahms, there’s plenty to enjoy. Head to the Cambridge Music Festival website for the full line-up and booking details.