Three Choirs Festival 2023
© James O'Driscoll
Performance at the Three Choirs Festival 2023
© Michael Whitefoot
Choir at the Three Choirs Festival 2023
© Dale Hodgetts
Enjoy a superb selection of concerts at the 2024 edition of the world’s longest running music festival, from Holst’s The Cloud Messenger in the composer’s 150th year, to pieces by Judith Weir, Master of the King’s Music
Hear performances from the Three Choirs Festival Chorus and Youth Chorus, as well as the BBC Singers, in a festival programme which takes its inspiration from the natural world
Absorb the area’s musical history and links with Elgar with a visit to The Firs, the composer’s birthplace
“Can’t praise highly enough in all respects”
- ACE customer on a previous Worcester Three Choirs tour
For over 300 years the cathedral cities of Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester have taken turns to host a renowned annual music celebration. In 2024 the Three Choirs Festival will take place in Worcester, surrounded by the captivating architecture of the city’s cathedral. Built between the 11th and 16th centuries, the cathedral’s structure exemplifies many architectural styles, from Norman to Perpendicular Gothic.
The 2024 Three Choirs Festival takes as its central theme the environment and the ways in which the natural world has inspired composers over the centuries. Celebrating the beauty of the landscape, and highlighting the importance of environmental conservation, the programme will feature a selection of inspiring concerts featuring works both old and new.
The festival is a keen advocate of the work of contemporary composers, and the 2024 edition will open with a performance of The Imagined Forest by award-winning British composer Grace-Evangeline Mason. This will be juxtaposed with Gustav Holst’s Hymn of Jesus and Charles Villiers Stanford’s Stabat Mater, brought to us by the Three Choirs Festival Chorus. 2024 marks 150 years since the birth of Holst, and 100 years since the death of Stanford, making it a poignant moment to experience these pieces, described by Worcester Artistic Director Samuel Hudson as “some of their finest works”.
Our first tour continues with the premiere of a new festival commission by Nathan James Dearden, described by Media Wales as “a champion of his generation” and a composer of “hauntingly beautiful” music. During this atmospheric evening, the Three Choirs Festival Voices will also serenade us with Respighi’s The Birds, Judith Weir’s Still, Glowing and Holst’s The Cloud Messenger.
Further premieres await us as award-winning Welsh composer and pianist Cameron Biles-Liddell’s Yr Afon Yn Yr Awyr (‘The River in the Sky’) and critically acclaimed American composer Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Mass for the Endangered are sung for the first time in England and the UK respectively, by the Three Choirs Festival Youth Chorus. These feature alongside Weir’s O Sweet Spontaneous Earth, a suite for chorus and string orchestra based on poems by E E Cummings, Emily Dickinson and William Carlos Williams.
Our first festival tour concludes with a performance by the BBC Singers featuring “rising star” Kristina Arakelyan’s Seascapes interspersed with Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, transcribed for organ by Anna Lapwood; Poulenc’s Figure Humaine and Weir’s In the Land of Uz.
Alongside the festival performances, and making the most of our time in Worcester, we will also explore the area’s musical heritage and connections with Edward Elgar. The picturesque Malvern Hills were a source of inspiration to the composer, and our tour will feature a visit to The Firs, Elgar’s birthplace, containing a museum dedicated to him.
There will also be an opportunity to attend the Festival Eucharist at Worcester Cathedral during this tour.
We will stay at the Worcester Whitehouse Hotel, chosen for its ideal location in the heart of the historical city. Simply furnished, the hotel provides a welcoming base for our tour.
This tour will be led by Paul Jackson, MA, PhD, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and, for over twenty years, Head of Music and Performing Arts and Director of Music and Performance at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. Paul has enjoyed an extensive career as a conductor of choirs, orchestras and opera, and as a solo and chamber music pianist, performing across the world.
Tour Director Paul Jackson writes:
"I’m delighted to be leading this tour to the longest-standing classical music festival in the world, the Three Choirs Festival. This is always a highlight of the musical calendar, and it provides an opportunity to hear outstanding choral, orchestral and chamber music making, by world-class performers, and in beautiful surroundings. In a celebration of the natural environment, the 2024 festival programme is typically wide-ranging and imaginative, with well-known works sitting alongside new commissions by today’s generation of composers.”
Festival Fringe Events
In addition to the four evening festival performances advertised, we hope to include two further daytime festival performances, subject to scheduling and availability. Details and an updated itinerary will be released on the ACE website once the full festival programme has been confirmed in spring 2024.
Included: accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, performances as described, four breakfasts, four dinners with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.
Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £130.