Music at Oxford’s milestone season, centred around the natural world and its local roots, sees the return of longtime collaborator Andreas Scholl, premieres by artist-in-residence the Marian Consort, and new partnerships with Castalian Quartet, Manchester Collective, 12 Ensemble and Southbank Sinfonia.
From 17 January to 8 June 2024, the second half of Music at Oxford’s 40th season of concerts and screenings sees a Spring and Summer programme of events firmly rooted in the natural and local environment, with tickets on sale from 30 November 2023.
Bringing some warmth to the new year are the Castalian Quartet (17 January) with Bartók’s First and Fifth String Quartets and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s 5 Fantasiestücke; artists-in-residence The Marian Consort (16 March) combine evocative music from the Spanish Renaissance and Benjamin Britten with world premieres from Laura Cannell, Leo Chadburn and Electra Perivolaris; Manchester Collective (17 March) will surprise audiences with a fusion of jazz and Scottish folk music; and the 12 Ensemble (22 April) present Max Richter’s famed reworking of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
As the summer approaches, refreshing takes on iconic classical works will be presented by 5-piece ensemble Onyx Brass ( 25 May) with vibrant arrangements of Handel and Janáček alongside Bernstein, and Southbank Sinfonia (8 June) evoke the world in all its rage and beauty with a performance of Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral’ Symphony.
Performances announced earlier this year include Andreas Scholl and Tamar Halperin (7 February) with a selection of Handel arias and cantatas for their residency at Oriel College, and Norwich-based Mammal Hands (16 February) whose love of electronic, contemporary classical, world, folk and jazz music has gained them a strong following.
Artistic and Executive Director Rebecca Dawson emphasises, “Music at Oxford means Music FOR Oxford – a resource for everyone in our region – and as such you will find jazz and folk music as part of the concert mix, because our audiences often listen to more than one type of music. In fact… Machaut, Beethoven and Bartók are just three of many composers for whom folk music was an inspiration, while the music of Gershwin, Ravel, and Stravinsky, for example, would be very different without that striking infusion of jazz.”
The local community will also participate in the season’s programming, with the Electra Perivolaris world premiere by the Marian Consort being created as part of Music at Oxford’s With One Voice project; Perivolaris will work with children from St Barnabas Primary School to create the piece, and those students will then also take part in its performance.
This year, Music at Oxford launched a 40 for 40 fundraising campaign, aiming to raise £40,000 by the end of 2024 for its Learning and Participation programme, which promotes and delivers collaborative projects in communities around the region with professional expertise, and contributes to commissioning new pieces using ideas gathered in the workshops.