Cambridge Music Festival '18

A feast of classical music, new and old, comes to the city in November

Bringing dazzling classical performances to some of the city’s most iconic venues year after year, Cambridge Music Festival returns for a ten-day run on 14 November. From a stirring choral performance of Mozart’s Requiem in the majestic setting of King’s College Chapel to a jubilant South American tango at the Emmanuel United Reformed Church, there’s a huge diversity of styles to be discovered on the programme, which features 14 concerts in total. 

Highlights are sure to include Steve Reich, the boundary-pushing percussionist The Guardian described as “giving the contemporary musical world a licence to groove”; Murray Perahia, one of the most celebrated pianists of our time; and leading cellist Steven Isserlis, who will perform Beethoven’s cello sonatas in the stunning Trinity College Chapel.

Launched in 1991 as part of a celebration marking the bicentenary of Mozart’s death, the event has earned a reputation for presenting classical music in bold and imaginative ways. Established global superstars mingle with the hottest up-and-coming artists on the varied programme, which challenges preconceptions of classical music with performances that bend genres and styles.

A case in point is this year’s Rush Hour Concerts, which will see the musical legacy of great composers, such as Bach, collide with edgy, younger arrangements, such as High Life, a shimmying sax quartet by Will Gregory. Also throwing the rulebook out the window will be the fabulous all-female Juice Vocal Ensemble, who bring bold, genre-hopping harmonies; and the absorbing Aurora Percussion Duo, who beat out rhythms on any hard surfaces they can find – including the floor – in their astoundingly physical performances    

 “The music in this year’s programme has an astonishing capacity to take audiences as close as possible to the powerful moments and emotions of life,” says festival director Justin Lee. “Whether it’s the searing beauty of Mozart’s tragic Requiem, or the eerie strings of George Crumb’s Vietnam War-inspired Black Angels, you almost feel as though you are reliving those experiences yourself.

“It is all about high emotions,” he continues, “and saying that which words simply cannot. Whether you are a seasoned music-lover or someone who has never been to a classical concert before, there is work here that will inspire and thrill you.”

For the full programme, visit the Cambridge Music Festival website.