Harrogate International Festival - A musical masterclass

From pop diva Paloma Faith to the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, musicians of note from across the globe will be descending on Harrogate this summer

It might be in its mid-forties, but there’s nothing middle-aged or middle-of-the-road about Harrogate International Festival.

Founded in 1966, Harrogate International Festivals has grown into one of Yorkshire’s leading cultural organisations, working year round to bring world class festivals and events to the county and creating opportunities for audiences and young people.

The cultural year kicks off with a series of classical Sunday concerts from January to April, but the big guns really come out in July when the curtain rises on the centrepiece Summer Festival, which attracts upwards of 40,000 people every year.

The music programme features the best in classical, jazz and world music, but there’s more to the festival than meets the ear. It’s not all about music. Instead, it prides itself on jump-starting the artistic pulse of the entire community through a diverse programme of cultural projects, particularly on its burgeoning fringe.

This year’s festival, which runs from June 30th to July 31st,  sees the return of last year’s successful lecture series as well as potentially popular new launches like the Science Festival and Children’s Festival.

Jazz singer Clare Teal, who grew up 15 minutes away from ‘the posh town with the posh tea room’, is this year’s guest curator of the festival’s jazz strand. She has worked with jazz legends like Cleo Lane and Jamie Cullum over the years, has star fans like Michael Parkinson, has her own Radio 2 show and famously landed a multi-million pound contract with Sony – a feat virtually unheard of outside the Radio 1 demographic.

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Multiple MOBO and BBC Jazz Award-winning musician Soweto Kinch is another of this year’s guest curators, introducing performances by Eska, Byron Wallen and Jason McDougall as well as commissioning new music and lecturing on the development of hip-hop and jazz.

He was originally mentored by Courtney Pine and has since gone on to become a crusader in music, hosting school workshops and composing scores that push the boundaries of jazz into a completely different dimension.

Other major artists appearing in Harrogate this summer include Paloma Faith, whose outfits are often just as entertaining as her songs, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Andras Schiff, the Escher String Quartet, Oddsocks: The Outdoor Shakespeare Company, Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya, the Brodsky String Quartet, Aquarelle Guitar Quartet and the Black Dyke Band.

For more information about Harrogate International Festival, visit harrogate-festival.org.uk. Tickets can be booked on 0845 130 8840 or by emailing box@harrogate-festival.org.uk.

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