Robert Hollingworth

Sounding the trumpet for Stour Music

Stour Music, founded as a festival of early music by Alfred Deller in 1962, has announced that his son Mark, who has been running the festival for the past 44 years, will be standing down as Festival Director in 2019. He will be succeeded as Artistic Director by Robert Hollingworth, director of I Fagiolini.

Mark Deller, who began his career organising the first-ever Salisbury Festival of the Arts in 1967, took over the reins at Stour from his father in 1974, and subsequently was Director of the Canterbury Festival for 18 years, when it was re-established in 1984. In 1995 he was awarded an Hon. D.Mus by the University of Kent, for his services to the Arts in the region, and in 2014 was given an Exceptional Service Award by the British Arts Festivals Association.

Robert Hollingworth set up the vocal group I Fagiolini in 1986, inspired by The Deller Consort, among others. Innovative productions over 30 years include The Full Monteverdi and Tallis in Wonderland (on film and live including Lincoln Center, New York), How Like An Angel with Australian acrobats C!rca for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad and CDs including the Gramophone Award-winning Striggio ‘Mass for 40 voices’. “I first came to Stour Music in 1992 and it has since become a regular pilgrimage. I love the unique combination of a rural Kent church, Alfred Deller’s grave nearby and the legendary puddings – all of which seem to get musicians to give of their best. I’m flattered to be asked to step into Mark’s shoes and as the third countertenor/director of a vocal group to run the festival, will sound the trumpet for Stour.”

Robert continues as Anniversary Reader in Music at University of York where he teaches his MA in Music for Solo-Voice Ensemble Singing.

Stour Music 2018

22 June – 1 July 2018

As winter turns to spring, it is always a pleasure to think of summer evenings spent in the beautiful surroundings of Boughton Aluph Church. Once again, we are delighted to present ten concerts taking place, as usual, over the last two weekends in June, albeit this year just nudging into July. The festival opens with a concert given by the Chelys Consort of Viols, with the renowned early music singer Emma Kirkby and lutenist James Akers.

Stour Music audience enjoying sunshine and shade

The following evening there will be an opportunity to hear a rarely performed Masque, Venus & Adonis by Pepusch, performed by a distinguished group of soloists together with the orchestra and singers of The Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen.

Two groups that have made regular appearances at Stour during the past thirty years will be making a welcome return to the festival in 2018.

The English Concert

The English Concert, founded by Trevor Pinnock, will be giving a programme ‘Masters of the Baroque’, and The King’s Singers, celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, will bring their unique blend of voices and immaculate intonation to a programme of renaissance masterpieces.

Previous visitors to the festival will be familiar with one of my favourite ensembles, The Gonzaga Band, led by the brilliant cornetto player Jamie Savan. Previously they have been constrained by the limitations of the Late Night Extra concerts, but this year they will be giving a full length programme of Venetian music for solo voice (the wonderful soprano Faye Newton), cornetts and violins.

The Late Night Extra concerts have always proved popular, and are an opportunity to introduce new artists to the public, and this year is no exception. One of those is the young recorder player Tabea Debus, hailed as ‘one of the most exciting young musicians in the early music world’. Another is the remarkable lutenist Matthew Wadsworth, who, in his ‘Late Night Lute’ programme, will playing music by Dowland, Johnson and Piccinini, and the ensemble Concentus VII, with a programme of Italian Sonatas & Cantatas. All will be appearing at Stour Music for the first time.

The final Sunday afternoon Choral Concert will be a chance to hear Purcell’s King Arthur, with its famous ‘Fairest Isle’ aria, the evocative Frost Scene and the rollicking ‘Harvest home’ chorus, performed by an outstanding group of soloists, with the Festival Choir and Orchestra.

Finally, just to remind you that General bookings will need to be done either by phone or online. Please look at the Booking Arrangements page for full details.

Mark Deller
Festival Director

This short video was recorded over the second weekend of the 2016 festival