Free Pop-up Performances Kick-off Cheltenham Music Festival  

Three roaming bands will give free pop-up performances on Cheltenham’s High Street, Promenade and Imperial Gardens to celebrate the opening weekend of the Cheltenham Music Festival on 9 and 10 July. The bands are presented in partnership with Cheltenham BID.

BLOCO B will get the party started on Saturday morning from 11 am to 1 pm with some Rio de Janeiro Carnival-style samba tunes, blending percussion & drumming with singers, cavaquinho players and dancers.

Saturday afternoon from 2 to 4 pm sees the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band perform vibrant music and colourful dancing in a fusion of Indian roots sounds from North Indian classical melodies to popular Bollywood songs and Bhangra beats.

And on Sunday morning from 11 am to 1 pm, Unswung Heroes take to the streets with dance band and New Orleans jazz as well as pop, soul and funk covers in a vintage swing style.

Cheltenham Music Festival brings nine days of performances and events by leading international artists, new talent and innovators from 8 to 16 July. Performers include London Mozart Players, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Anoushka Shankar with the Britten Sinfonia, Brodsky Quartet, Ingrid Fliter, Sheku & Isata Kanneh-Mason and Samuele Telari. Two new commissions by Laura Bowler and Conor Mitchell examine the nature of relationships and the BBC New Generation Artists give four lunchtime broadcasts. There’s dance from New English Ballet Theatre, talks, walks and mindfulness sessions, ending with a performance of Mahler’s 8th Symphony in Gloucester Cathedral.

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Full Cheltenham Music Festival programme details follow:

The Festival opens on 8 July with the Kanneh-Mason Duo, siblings Sheku and Isata at the Pittville Pump Room and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in Cheltenham Town Hall performed by Sergei Dogadin and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vasily Petrenko.

Spanning the worlds of classical, contemporary, acoustic and electronic music, the sitar-playing star Anoushka Shankar performs with Manu Delago and the strings of the Britten Sinfonia [9 July].

For a unique Festival experience, ‘Music and Mindfulness’ hosted by Will Crawford [9 July] will link meditation and the power of music to help to manage stress. Later in the day guests can enjoy champagne afternoon tea in The Daffodil as they watch contralto Hilary Summers and pianist Andrew West take a romp through the wild world of opera where absurd plots and gender fluidity come under light-hearted scrutiny in ‘What’s So Great About Opera?’ [9 July].

New English Ballet Theatre perform at the Everyman Theatre, celebrating the work of six female choreographers [10 July].

Classical Mixtape [11 July] tears up the concert-going rule-book, with audiences asked to pay whatever they can for their tickets and encouraged to stand, sit or lie down to experience music in the stunning setting of Gloucester Cathedral. The Manchester Collective, the Choir of Merton College, Oxford, accordionist Samuele Telari and organist Jonathan Hope will perform on separate stages dotted around the Cathedral, each short piece followed seamlessly by another.

One of the UK’s leading choirs Tenebrae performs a special programme of music and spoken voice for its 20th anniversary with the actor Juliet Stevenson. The wide-ranging programme will celebrate love and freedom in the face of adversity, including Poulenc’s Figure Humaine, composed in response to the occupation of France in World War II [12 July].

The award-winning London Mozart Players perform with Martin James Bartlett, Ben Goldscheider and Ben Johnson at Cheltenham Town Hall [13 July].

London of the 1720’s is vividly brought to life by The English Concert and soprano Anna Dennis who examine the fierce rivalry between Handel and Bononcini – the original “Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee” [15 July].


The 2022 Cheltenham Music Festival concludes with Mahler’s monumental Symphony No.8, often referred to as the ‘Symphony of a Thousand.’ Performed in the majesty of Gloucester Cathedral by the British Sinfonietta, Choristers of Gloucester Cathedral, multiple local choirs and leading soloists conducted by Adrian Partington [16 July].

Championing New Music

As a renowned champion of new music, this year’s Cheltenham Music Festival will present Distance, a ground-breaking multimedia chamber work by Laura Bowler [10 July]. While soprano Juliet Fraser performs live in Cheltenham, the Talea Ensemble will be livestreamed from New York. The work focuses on the psychological distance from Earth’s environment when travelling by plane, as well as the psychological impact of air travel on passengers.

On another end of the spectrum, this year will see the world premieres of Conor Mitchell’s settings of correspondence between Benjamin Britten and his partner Peter Pears, celebrating the universality of love [16 July]. This concert, ‘Look Both Ways’, will also premiere Claire Victoria Roberts’ set of miniature works inspired by the letters between Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, alongside Bobbie-Jane Gardner’s arrangement of Odetta’s iconic 1970’s song: Hit or Miss.

Talent Development

Talent development has long been a focus of the Festival, and this year it continues its partnership with the BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists with four lunchtime recitals, all broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. This year’s artists include mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston [12 July], pianist Tom Borrow and Quatuor Arod [13 July], violinist Johan Dalene [14 July] and pianist Alexander Gadjiev [15 July].

Audiences will also get the chance to attend four ‘Rush Hour’ recitals in St Gregory’s Church featuring accordionist Samuele Telari [12 July] and cellist Leo Popplewell [15 July] as well as a finalist of BBC Young Musician of the Year 2022 and the winners of the 2022 Gloucestershire Young Musician Competition and Keith Nutland Award, both of which will be announced at a later date.

Reaching out to younger audiences too, school children across Gloucestershire will visit Cheltenham Town Hall during the Festival to participate in Concert for Schools, an interactive concert presented by Musicate musicians to inspire young people’s enthusiasm for classical music. Added to this, the Festival’s first ever Relaxed Concert for Schools is an adapted performance, devised to welcome children, young people and their teachers from the SEND (Special Educational Need and Disability) sector.

And the Composer Academy, part of the festival’s Spotlight Talent Development Programme, returns this year from 11 – 15 July. The scheme supports early-career composers (aged 18+), offering them professional advice and mentoring. This year will see six composers work with Composer Academy Director Daniel Kidane to workshop, perform and record their works with artists including renowned harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani. The composers will also have access to industry professionals in a series of panel talks discussing craft and contemporary aesthetics along with career development. The final day of Composer Academy will run alongside and as part of ‘Composium’, where all six compositions will be premiered.

Notes to Editor
Cheltenham Music Festival is one of the UK’s leading classical music festivals, renowned for presenting world-class ensembles and soloists in magnificent venues. The festival is a long-standing champion for British contemporary music and supports new talent and music education. Cheltenham Music Festival started in 1945.

Cheltenham Music Festival is part of Cheltenham Festivals, a charity that co-creates experiences which bring joy, spark curiosity, connect communities and inspire change. Its year-round learning and participation and talent development programmes culminate in four world-class Jazz, Science, Music and Literature Festivals, offering everyone an opportunity to explore and create culture. Over 225,000 visitors a year are inspired by its Literature, Science, Jazz and Music Festivals.

The Festival takes place in the following venues: Cheltenham Town Hall, Pittville Pump Room, Everyman Theatre, The Daffodil, Gloucester Cathedral, Tewkesbury Abbey, St Gregory’s Church, Parabola Arts Centre and Cheltenham College Chapel.

#cheltmusicfest @cheltfestivals

Cheltenham Festivals is an Arts Council Englnd National Portfolio Organisation

Cheltenham Festivals is a PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner and has signed up to the Keychange programme which aims for a 50:50 gender balance across the Festival line-up.

Major Partners: Cheltenham BID, Cheltenham Music Festival Society, Make Music Gloucestershire, Thirty Percy

Festival Partners: The Big Give, Oldham Foundation, Reed Foundation, William A Cadbury Charitable Trust

Media Partners: Cotswold Life, SoGlos

In-Kind Partners: Leaf Creative, Willans LLP Solicitors, Willans Data protection services


Bairbre Lloyd

PR and Communications Manager

T: 01242 569231  M: 07729 396749


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