EXCITEMENT is building as a popular Malvern festival celebrates its 25th anniversary next month.
Despite periods of economic decline and funding cuts, the Autumn in Malvern Festival is still going strong thanks to the loyalty of enthusiastic organisers, audiences and sponsors.
Founded by Malvern town councillor Peter Smith, the festival is renowned for a series of artistic and musical events held annually in the surroundings of the Malvern Hills.
Musicians and artists of the highest calibre, often of international stature, are engaged to perform innovative and stimulating programmes throughout September and October each year.
A continuing thematic strand over 25 years is to feature the many notable musicians, poets, writers and artists associated with the Malvern Hills countryside, the most notable being Edward Elgar.
This year’s festival takes place between September 10 and October 26 and kicks off with a concert given by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales at the University of Worcester Arena.
The festival and the university have collaborated over many years and the festival’s opening show is their most important project to date.
The show is conducted by Rory Macdonald and the soloist in Elgar’s Cello Concerto is Jamie Walton, two of the most promising new generation of British musicians.
The Fine Arts Brass Ensemble perform one of their highly polished and entertaining programmes in the Great Hall of Malvern College on Saturday, October 18. The composer, Roxanna Panufnik, a long standing patron of the festival, has been commissioned to mark the 25th anniversary by performing new material.
The festival is also marking the centenary of the beginning of the First World War by running a commemorative strand through several events.
Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy will be reading her own poems in a sequence of music and literature with Bartosz Woroch (violin) and Sam Armstrong (piano) who perform works by Elgar, including the Violin Sonata written 1918.
The festival features talks on Siegfried Sassoon and the Dymock Poets, who met between the Malverns and May Hill before the First World War, by the eminent biographer Jean Moorcroft Wilson and Linda Hart.
There are other talks and walks, street music, dancing and five exhibitions as part of a town centre Art Trail.
Visit www.malvernfestival.co.uk for a full list of events. Tickets are available by calling 01684 892277 or for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales show visit www.ticketline.co.uk or call 0844 888 9991.