Alison Balsom reveals first Cheltenham Music Festival programme

Cheltenham Music Festival has revealed its 2019 programme. The festival runs from 5-14 July.

Alison Balsom has gone big for her first edition as artistic director, with no fewer than 20 world premieres planned. The influential trumpeter has also focussed on women composers, with pieces by Thea Musgrave, Dani Howard and Lili Boulanger all in the programme.

“Putting together the programme for the 75th anniversary of the Cheltenham Music Festival has been a total privilege,” she commented. “I hope that everyone is inspired to come and enjoy a whole host of unique events which can only be seen and heard in Cheltenham this summer.

“Some of my favourite artists, from international stars to bright new talent will perform in stunning venues, and I’m especially excited about the many world premieres we’ll hear throughout the entire festival.”

The festival begins with a weekend of free concerts in partnership will Classic FM. There will also be family activities and the chance to take an immersive tour of Cheltenham’s historic Regency Square.

Major names on the bill include Nicola Benedetti, who will perform a programme of baroque music with the Academy of Ancient Music and Richard Egarr (12 July); Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, who conducts City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of Thea Musgrave’s Trumpet Concerto (6 July); and jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, who appears on a bill with young musicians from Brass for Africa (13 July).

At the other end of the spectrum is a community project. Opera Across the Sky is the culmination of a four-year effort to get people in West Cheltenham engaged with music, and has its world premiere on 14 July.

Another event that is bound to generate buzz is Live Human Experiments: The Musical Brain of Guy Barker (13 July). The trumpeter will be hooked up to neurological equipment while performing, showing the impact of music-making on the brain.

Finally, young artists are also featured at the festival, as the 20th anniversary of BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists scheme is celebrated with concerts on 7, 8 and 11 July. Performers include cellist Anastasia Kobenkina, pianists Elisabeth Brauss, violinist Aleksey Semenenko and guitarist Thibaut Garcia. Their performances will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3.