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  • York Minster

  • A performance at the York Early Music Centre

    Image by vHH on Wikimedia Commons via CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED

  • The nave of York Minster

    Image by David Iliff on Wikimedia Commons via CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED

  • The National Centre for Early Music in 2004

    Image by vHH on Wikimedia Commons via CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED

  • The Merchant Adventurer's Hall

    Image by Chris Rycroft on Flickr via CC BY 2.0 DEED

Fitness / Practicalities
Tour Director

  • Join flautist and Head of Historical Performance at the Royal College of Music, Professor Ashley Solomon, for some of the best early music performances the UK has to offer

  • Enjoy programmes from acclaimed artists including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Vox Luminis, The Gesualdo Six, tenor Nicholas Mulroy and mezzo soprano Helen Charlston

  • Take in York’s wonderful history and architecture, from the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall to the superb 18th century Fairfax House

“Perfectly balanced content, well planned and delivered with a light enough touch to be entertaining as well as informative”

- ACE customer on the 2023 York Early Music Festival tour with Ashley Solomon

Established in 1977, York Early Music Festival has been delighting audiences now for several decades and is considered the ‘jewel in the crown’ of its organisers, the National Centre for Early Music (NCEM). Every July a line-up of world-renowned instrumentalists, vocal groups and artists present an array of classical works from the 18th century and before. There is perhaps no better environment in which to discover this music than York, with its assemblage of historical buildings and evocative period atmosphere.


The city’s most distinctive ecclesiastical structure is, of course, York Minster. A magnificent cathedral – one of the largest in Europe, with a legacy dating back to the 7th century – it towers over the surrounding city and houses a truly awe-inspiring collection of medieval stained glass among its many treasures. We will visit this majestic space for two of our evening concerts, featuring vocal ensembles The Gesualdo Six – who made their Proms debut in 2023 and will bring us a programme focusing on Josquin’s legacy – and the sublime Vox Luminis, winners of multiple awards, who will perform Monteverdi’s Selva Morale e Spirituale.


Our opening evening concert will be no less spectacular: featuring three of the country’s finest Baroque musicians – tenor Nicholas Mulroy, theorbist Elizabeth Kenny and guitarist Toby Carr – ‘Cubaroque’ will explore songs of ‘love, loss, religion and politics’ by Purcell, Monteverdi and others alongside beautiful modern Latin American classics.


Our tour also includes two performances with the 2024 festival’s artist in residence, BBC New Generation Artist and winner of the 2018 London Handel Competition Helen Charlston, who recently won BBC Music Magazine’s Vocal Award for her album Battle Cry. Helen will be joined by the period instrument string quartet Consone for a programme entitled ‘On the Wings of a Song’, and by her Battle Cry collaborator, lutenist Toby Carr, for an atmospheric late evening recital in the Undercroft of the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall. That concert is preceded by a performance with specialists in Baroque and Renaissance repertoire In Echo at St Lawrence’s Church, the second largest religious building in York.


On another evening, we will enjoy a highlight performance from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with Steven Devine, based around ‘an evening at Zimmermann’s Coffee House’. Meanwhile, award-winning early music ensemble Florilegium – directed by our Tour Director Ashley Solomon – will be guests on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show, and Ashley will deliver his own illustrated lecture to the group midway through the tour. Please note these performances are subject to adjustment.


Complementing the musical highlights, our tour will feature a selection of wider cultural experiences. We will explore York’s medieval and later history with guided tours of the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall and Fairfax House. One of the most beautiful 18th century townhouses in the country – with interiors designed by prolific English architect John Carr – Fairfax is now home to the remarkable Noel Terry collection of decorative arts, providing an engaging window into the 18th century.


We will also make an excursion to Castle Howard, a Baroque estate originally conceived by Charles Howard, 3rd Earl of Carlisle, who, perhaps surprisingly, chose the untested John Vanbrugh to bring it to life with extraordinary results. The estate has more recently been used for numerous film and television productions including 1981’s Brideshead Revisited.


We will stay at the four-star Hotel Indigo York, a boutique hotel full of style and character, situated just a couple of minutes’ walk from the National Centre for Early Music, where several of our concerts will take place.


This tour will be led by flautist and recorder player Professor Ashley Solomon, a Fellow of the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, Chair and Head of Historical Performance at the Royal College of Music, and Director of early music ensemble Florilegium. With Florilegium, who have performed numerous times at the York Early Music Festival, he has recorded 35 CDs on the Dutch Channel Classics label, many of which have garnered international awards. Florilegium have performed over 1300 concerts worldwide, including many at London’s Wigmore Hall. Ashley has been working with Bolivian musicians since 2002 to promote the music of Moxos and Chiquitos Indians and in 2008 received the prestigious Bolivian Hans Roth Prize.

Tour Code

Fully booked - please contact us on 01223 841055 to be added to the waiting list.

Included: accommodation based on sharing a superior twin or double bedded room, performances as described, five breakfasts, four dinners (one light) with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.

Not Included: travel insurance, standard double room for single use supplement £350.

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