Sad news

With much sadness, we announce the deaths of Honor Sheppard at the end of May and Anna Shuttleworth in early March. Those with long memories will remember Honor’s many appearances at Stour Music during the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s, Anna, too, appeared many times as principal cellist at Stour over a period of almost fifty years.

New Artistic Director for Stour Music

2020 marked a new chapter for Kent’s early music festival as Stour Music welcomed internationally renowned conductor Robert Hollingworth as its new Artistic Director, following the retirement of Mark Deller after 45 years. Robert, who is also a radio/film presenter, educator and founder of the innovative vocal ensemble I Fagiolini (in part inspired by Mark’s group, the Deller Consort), first came to Stour in 1992, and the festival has been a regular pilgrimage of his ever since.

“I love the unique combination of a rural Kent church, Alfred Deller's grave nearby and the legendary hospitality – 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 counter-tenor/director of a vocal group to run the festival, will continue to ‘sound the trumpet’ for Stour.” RH

Robert Hollingworth founded I Fagiolini in 1986 and has presented all of their signature projects. Away from the group, Robert has directed the English Concert, Academy of Ancient Music, Irish Baroque Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra as well as some of the world’s finest chamber choirs including: Accentus, NDR Chor, the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, BBC Singers, Nederlands Kamerkoor, Capella Cracoviensis, VOCES8 and RIAS Kammerchor.  Recent engagements included a trip to Perth where he was Keynote Presenter at Australian National Choral Association’s ChoralFest 2019, and the world premiere of Benji Merrison’s new piece, xoxvx ovoid, with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain for the Aldeburgh Proms. This season Robert returned to Berlin twice to conduct RIAS Kammerchor, in a programme of Purcell as part of the Barocktage Festival collaboration with Staatsoper, and Vecchi’s L’Amfiparnaso. Robert made his Russian debut as part of the British Council’s UK-Russia Year of Music conducting the Russian premiere of Blow Venus and Adonis featuring Anna Dennis and Jonathan Sells alongside Russian choir Intrada and Pratum Integrum.

Robert regularly writes and presents programmes for BBC Radio 3. He is Reader in Music at the University of York where he directs University Chamber Choir ‘The 24’ and runs an MA in Solo-Voice Ensemble Singing.