Sheffield village draws classical music stars again

Cellists Julian and Jiaxin Lloyd Webber
Cellists Julian and Jiaxin Lloyd Webber
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The Bradfield Festival of Music is certainly a friendly affair, as some of the well-known musicians returning to this year’s event are only too happy to confirm.

The festival, set in the village high above the city, is held in the last full week in June.

Performers returning this year include world-renowned cellist Julian Lloyd Webber and clarinettist Emma Johnson.

They are both firm fans of the festival, held in the beautiful medieval Parish Church of St Nicholas.

The festival opens with international vocal ensemble VOCES8 performing Monteverdi, Rachmaninov and modern works by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jerome Kern and Duke Ellington.

Ensemble Berlin appear on Monday 27 with a programme of Mozart, Hummel and Debussy.

The July 2 finale with the Woodwind Ensemble of the Band of the Royal Air Force College features a former Sheffield musician Philippa Hobbs.

Philippa went to school in Sheffield and played the flute in the City of Sheffield Youth Orchestra and the Hallam Sinfonia.

As well as playing the flute in the concert band, Swing Wing and Woodwind 10, Philippa is also a vocalist.

She says that her highlight so far has been performing at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne when the Edinburgh Military Tattoo toured Australia and New Zealand earlier this year.

She is looking forward to performing in her local surroundings and is excited to be part of the Bradfield festival.

The ensemble will play a diverse programme, ranging from the lyricism of Gounod’s Petite Symphonie to the jazz-influenced style of Gershwin.

Festival president Julian Lloyd Webber said: ‘I have always loved playing at Bradfield! Its unique and magical setting is a perfect and inspiring place to make music.

“The church has a great acoustic and there is a special intimacy and rapport with the audience.

“I am looking forward to returning once again – this time with my wife and fellow cellist Jiaxin and pianist Rebeca Omordia, who made such a great impression at last year’s festival.

“Together we will be sharing a highly personal programme of beautiful music with one of our favourite audiences.”

Julian, Jiaxin and Rebeca appear on June 30.

Their programme includes Faure’s Elegy, The Music of the Night written by Julian’s brother Andrew and Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata.

Clarinet player Emma Johnson said: “I am really looking forward to visiting the Bradfield Festival again.

“St Nicholas Church, perched up high overlooking the surrounding countryside, is one of my favourite places to play in England and there is a sense of shared community in the audience which is very welcoming.

“Keith Hoyland, the festival secretary, was the first person to suggest I develop a jazz programme and this has subsequently proved very popular in other parts of the country, as I hope it will be when I bring it to Bradfield this summer.”

Emma appears on June 28 to explore the role of the clarinet in jazz with pianist John Lenehan and percussionist Paul Clarvis.

This year’s event takes place from June 25 to July 2. Tickets are already on sale by filling out a form in the programme or from Flask End post office and tearoom in Low Bradfield or the Old Horns pub in High Bradfield.

For more details, call 0114 2341209 or go online at bradfieldfestivalofmusic.co.uk.