This year’s festival features a lively mixture of concerts, including the new Fringe Festival initiative showcasing rising stars of the recorder world.

Friday night concert: Red Priest – Truly Madly Baroque

Super-star recorder player Piers Adams and his band Red Priest Red Priest return to their origins with a stunning programme of truly baroque classics, arranged and performed with their trademark energy, virtuosity and (in the best baroque sense) madness! The programme includes Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.5 and music by Vivaldi, Albinoni, Tartini, Marini, Locatelli, Forqueray, Sanz and others

Tickets for this concert are not included in the festival fee, but can be ordered when booking, with a discount for festival goers. Any remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public on 1 February 2019. 

Festival Fringe

Alongside the main festival, selected groups of young rising stars will give informal concerts around the college: entry to all fringe events is free and they will also be open to members of the public visiting the college. Performers include Daniel Swami, Tom Ridout, Sophie Westbrook and Charlotte Barbour-Condini. More details

Solo Masterclasses and Workshops with  Piers Adams

Saturday 13 April – 10am – 12 noon
Workshop: ‘Bend it like Brüggen’
or, the subtle art of expressive recorder playing).  

Work to be studied – B.Marcello: recorder sonata in D minor.

Masterclass: Stolen Music
Music transcribed for the recorder.

This very broad theme can be anything from 18th century transcriptions of eg flute or violin music (such as Telemann fantasias, Corelli sonatas, 17th century canzonas, French baroque flute works) to modern day arrangements from any style of your choice.  Extra kudos will be given for bringing your own, creative or surprising transcriptions!

To participate in the solo masterclass as a performer, please tick the masterclass box when booking your festival place, and the organisers will contact you with more details.

Ensemble Masterclasses and Workshops with Joris van Goethem

Workshop: Fascinating Rhythm
Saturday 13 April, 10.00 – 10.50 am

Start the day right with a melange of technical and musical topics. This workshop will tackle offbeat, syncopation and more, as well as how to play music in a free and flowing style. We will explore the practical application of these topics in musical examples.

Ensemble Masterclass 
Sunday 14 April 9.30 – 10.15am

The masterclass is aimed at preformed ensembles with a prepared piece. Participants are asked to inform the festival organisers about the pieces they will play and to bring additional copies of the scores to the class for the listeners.

To participate in the ensemble masterclass as a performer, please tick the masterclass box when booking your festival place, and the organisers will contact you with more details.

Festival Vespers

St Cuthbert’s Chapel is the architectural highlight of Ushaw College. Recalling the building’s original use as a Catholic seminary, this short concert in the style of sung Vespers offers festival goers a time for tranquillity and reflection. Details to be announced.

Musical Banquet

Enjoy a relaxed and informal dinner in the magnificent college refectory, with musical entertainment between courses. The banquet is included in the price of the full weekend ticket and can be booked separately at £30 per head for additional guests or those booking day tickets. 


The exciting young quartet BLOCK4 will be in residence during the festival, and will work with the finalists of the composers competition. They will perform the winning entries in the composers competition on Saturday afternoon and will give their own concert on Sunday before the final massed playing session. 


General festival enquiries:  | Booking enquiries: 

Last updated 9 March 2019