Ten reasons to go to the ... Cambridge Summer Music Festival 2019

Bach with an electric guitar

From 13 to 27 July Cambridge Summer Music once again brings the best of classical, jazz and world music to the beautiful spaces of this iconic university town. Whether you’re a seasoned Festival-goer or have yet to experience the magic, here are ten great reasons to join them in 2019.

  1. Celebrate the music of mighty women composers
    Women have traditionally been underrepresented among classical music composers – but there are plenty of influential and talented examples out there to discover, spanning the centuries from Hildegard von Bingen in the 12th Century to composers alive today. Highlights include a tribute to Clara Schumann from pianist Reiko Fujisawa and actor Crawford Logan (18 July); ‘Bach, Bingham & Bingen’ presented by Junior Prime Brass (13 July); songs by Rebecca Clark and Alma Mahler performed by mezzo soprano Lucy Taylor and pianist Jeremy Thurlow (18 July); and a new work from Reena Esmail commissioned by the San Francisco Girls’ Chorus (21 July).
  2. Nourish your soul on some JS Bach
    Inspiring, spiritual, mathematical, emotional, intellectual, consoling … The miraculous music of JS Bach is a Festival theme this year, and there are some wonderful treats in store:
    • The St John Passion with English Voices, the Orchestra of English Voices, Nicholas Mulroy as the Evangelist and Richard Latham as Christ. Conducted by Tim Brown (13 July)
    • The complete Brandenburg Concertos with period instrument ensemble Florilegium (20 July)
    • The Goldberg Variations performed on the two-manual harpsichord by the Iranian-American virtuoso Mahan Esfahani (22 July)
    • Trio sonatas arranged for two harpsichords, played by Festival Director David Hill and baroque expert David Ponsford (24 July).
  3. Feast your eyes on some gorgeous interiors
    Cambridge Summer Music is a delight for the eyes as well as the ears. The city’s churches and college chapels are particularly lovely venues for concerts, with excellent acoustics to match. This year you can hear pianist Ben Comeau take audience requests at Corpus Christi (17 July); the fine young singers of Gesualdo Six fill the spacious Gothic Revival interior of Our Lady and the English Martyrs (19 July); and the internationally acclaimed Amatis Piano Trio perform in one of the oldest buildings in Cambridge, Jesus College Chapel (25 July).
  4. Discover music inspired by Bach
    … such as a Partita for solo cello by Stephen Dodgson, played by rising star Leo Popplewell alongside Bach’s sixth cello suite (21 July); Danish and Scandinavian choral music following in the footsteps of Bach, sung by the Danish choir Lille MUKO (14 July); and an organ recital by Stephen Farr featuring two new pieces composed as part of a project to complete Bach’s Little Organ Book (20 July).
  5. Have the best-ever picnic
    Imagine spreading out a rug on the lawns of Cambridge University Botanic Garden, breathing in the heady scents all around you and tucking into your favourite picnic treats. Now imagine it with the addition of toe-tapping salsa, jazz, blues and swing. Our popular Sounds Green series will transform your summer with outdoor concerts every Wednesday evening, featuring local band AfroTema (3 July); Martin Kemp’s seven-piece swing combo Organised Chaos (10 July), the extraordinary live band/DJ/jukebox hybrid Truly Medley Deeply (17 July); singer-songwriter Noga Ritter who performs in Hebrew and English (24 July); and the Josh Kemp Quartet with singer-pianist Ruth Applin (31 July).
  6. Be well and truly starstruck
    Everyone loves the chance to do some celebrity spotting. At CSM 2019 you can see and hear some of the UK’s most distinguished names in classical music – including tenor James Gilchrist (described as ‘the finest Evangelist of his generation’) who will perform a delicious selection of Romantic songs with pianist Anna Tilbrook (23 July); Dame Felicity Lott who will be presenting a captivating exploration of operetta, entitled One More Kiss, accompanied by Jason Carr; and superstars Jennifer Pike and Martin Roscoe whose programme includes violin sonatas by Bach and Elgar and the ethereal Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams.
  7. Join in with the music yourself
    Discover what it’s like to take part in the Festival as a performer, at Bob Chilcott’s Come and Sing Event – a unique chance to experience a day’s singing with one of the world’s most inspirational choral composers and conductors (14 July).
  8. Take the whole family to a theatrical treat
    Fantastic beasts and legendary heroes are brought to life in two fun-filled musical and theatrical entertainments this summer. The epic tale of Beowulf is brought to you by the engaging Armonico Consort and composed by former BBC Proms Young Composer of the Year Toby Young, who has written a brilliant score infused with strong folk-pop influences (16 July). Sir Goward the Coward and the Feasty Beasty is a rumbustious tale of Old England for children aged 3-10 years with lots of audience participation, presented by Sirinu – a lively and communicative ensemble of early instruments and voice, based on sound musical scholarship (27 July).
  9. Go home with a song in your heart
    Cambridge Summer Music always aims to end on a high note, and this year’s Festival Finale lives up to expectation with a programme of uplifting orchestral classics. Featuring the Orpheus Sinfonia conducted by Festival Director David Hill and pianist Patrick Hemmerlé, the evening opens with Mendelssohn’s atmospheric Hebrides Overture, followed by Beethoven’s great fourth piano concerto, and finally Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, which the composer described as “the jolliest piece I have ever done, especially the last movement”. (27 July).
  10. Support live music in Cambridge
    Cambridge Summer Music depends on ticket sales and charitable donations, and there’s a Friends Scheme if you’d like to get more involved, which offers priority bookings, reserved seating, receptions and free programmes among other perks. But just by coming to the Festival, you’re helping to provide a platform for outstanding soloists, chamber ensembles, choirs and orchestras, as well as supporting talented young artists at the beginning of their careers. We look forward to seeing you there!

Full details of the Festival and all events at cambridgesummermusic.com

Online information and booking www.cambridgesummermusic.co.uk or www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/tickets

Box Office Cambridge Live Tickets, Wheeler Street, Cambridge CB2 3QB (Mon–Fri 12pm–6pm; Sat 10am–6pm) Tel: 01223 357851 (Mon–Sat 10am–6pm)


CAMBRIDGE SUMMER MUSIC was founded in 1979. It exists to promote live classical music of the highest calibre in Cambridge and the surrounding villages. It supports young artists at the beginning of their careers as well as the highest quality soloists, chamber ensembles and orchestras. It brings the works of living composers as well as the best of familiar and less familiar repertoire to both the local community and visitors to our great city.

Cambridge Summer Music