Shropshire Star

'It was a brilliant anniversary festival': Classical celebration hits the right notes in 30th year

Organisers of a classical festival in Shropshire that celebrates the life and work of one of Austria's most esteemed composers has been hailed as a 'sensational success'.


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Bridgnorth has played host to the English Haydn Festival since 1993, which celebrates the work of Joseph Haydn, a renowned chamber music composer.

While the composer had no direct links with the Shropshire market town, or had ever visited, the festival was set up by violinist John Reid in collaboration with Professor Robbins Landon with the intention of providing live performances of classical music to the rural community.

Now in its 30th year, the festival has even been praised by the Austrian Ambassador who wrote to King Charles earlier this year to “applaud the English Haydn Festival's commitment to preserving the legacy of Haydn's music in the United Kingdom”.

The 30th English Haydn Festival took place at St Mary Magdalene Church in Bridgnorth over the weekend from June 12 to June 15.

The four-day festival featured numerous concerts including performances by the English Haydn Orchestra on period instruments, led by the virtuoso violinist Simon Standage and conducted by the distinguished director Steven Devine.

However, famed violin soloist Jennifer Pike who was scheduled to appear had to cancel her performances due to unforeseen circumstances.

But organisers said that did not affect the success of the festival.

Mike Proudman, who helps put on the classical festival each year, said: “The English Haydn Festival was an outstanding success with sensational music performed by the festival orchestra, soloists and ensembles.

“The enthusiastic audiences heard wonderful solo performances by cellist Pavel Serbin, clarinettist Emily Worthington and a superb interpretation of Mozart's violin concerto No 3, by Agata Daraskaite.

“This year's festival featured wind instruments, with performances by the Revolutionary Wind Machine, led by oboist Mark Baigent, and a superb rendering of Schubert's Octet, by the Consone Quartet and the festival orchestra's Wind section.

“The talented Consone Quartet performed music by Haydn and Beethoven at the Thursday evening concert. It was a brilliant 30th anniversary festival.”