Three Choirs Festival – Hereford Cathedral

28th July 2022

In its 307 years it has only ever been interrupted by the world wars and more recently, the coronavirus pandemic, but now it’s back.

The Three Choirs Festival returned to Hereford last Saturday and runs all week until this Saturday, July 30.

It grew out of visits by the lay clerks of Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester to each other’s cathedrals for joint services and informal singing as long ago as the 17th century.

The festival celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2015, and is believed to be the oldest continuously running classical music festival in the world.

The centrepiece of the festival is a series of evening concerts in the cathedral, featuring the Three Choirs Festival Chorus and the Philharmonia Orchestra (a resident at the festival since 2012), alongside internationally recognised soloists.

Included in this year’s line up is internationally renowned classical saxophonist Amy Dickson who recently made history by becoming the first saxophonist to win a Classic BRIT Award for Best Breakthrough Artist of the Year in 2016 and has also been nominated twice for a Grammy Award.

This year’s festival features over 50 works from 43 living composers, including headline commission “Voices of Power” tonight Thursday July 28.

Created by Jessica Walker with music by Luke Styles, it explores the impact women have made with words over the centuries.

Also featured at this year’s festival is a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Ralph Vaughan Williams, the Gloucestershire composer who also has close links to Herefordshire.

Highlights include performances of Vaughan Williams’ Te Deum in G by the festival’s own chorus, Silence and Music from I Fagiolini and a selection of folk songs arrangements from Finnish male voice choir Valkia.

Gloucester Cathedral’s director of music Adrian Partington said:

“Every year, it’s a privilege to be conducting in the same buildings, at the same festival, as great composers such as Howells, Elgar and Vaughan Williams have done before.”