The Elgar Festival is an annual celebration of the life and music of Worcester's most famous son and one of England's greatest composers, Sir Edward Elgar (1857–1934).  Set in and around the composer's home town at around the time of his birthday, the event comprises symphonic and string orchestra concerts by the resident English Symphony Orchestra (ESO), alongside chamber and choral concerts and recitals.  Visitors and locals alike also enjoy guided 'Elgar Tours' and related workshops, street performances, exhibits, tours and talks.

Bringing Elgar home

Of all the great British composers, there can be few places that have such a strong evocation as Elgar's Worcestershire; from the spectacular walking country of the Malvern Hills, the Victorian splendour of the spa town of Malvern and its Abbey, the majestic Cathedral of the county town itself, and the magic of a visit to the composer's country cottage birthplace; the Festival provides the perfect stimulus to explore these iconic locations, and to hear Elgar's music in situ; often an overwhelming experience for all those involved.

2020 Highlights and new initiatives

The Festival's Gala Concert will feature the Elgar Festival Chorus; a group of singers brought together especially to showcase Elgar's major choral works; in this programme, 'The Spirit of England', which also features Elgar's Symphony No.1, a work regarded as one of the finest British symphonies.  

An unmissable programme in Worcester Cathedral, entitled 'On the road with Edward Elgar', showcases some of the composer's lighter, popular works featuring music inspired by place and travel, including both 'Cockaigne' and 'In the South' overtures; the stirring March from 'The Crown of India', alongside selections from rarely performed works such as 'The Starlight Express', which was inspired by a children's play.

Two late-night Club Elgar Concerts at Henry Sandon Hall and Royal Porcelain Works, are a new highlight, providing an opportunity to hear performers in a laid-back atmosphere until midnight.  In-demand jazz musicians, including the Misha Mullov-Abbado Group, featured artists on BBC Radio 3, will be a 'hot ticket'.

 'Elgar for Everyone!'

The final afternoon traditionally culminates with the combined forces of the ESO Youth Orchestras and Enigma Youth Choir in the Festival's 'Elgar for Everyone' Family Concert, and an opportunity to enjoy a pizza picnic beforehand.

Commitment to new music

The festival's commitment to increasing the presence of music by living British composers will be demonstrated by the regional premiere of the new Requiem by internationally-celebrated Worcester-based composer, Ian Venables, featuring the acclaimed choir of Merton College Oxford in Malvern Priory, as well as in works by composer, Adrian Williams.

Elgar Festival
27th – 31st May 2020 in Worcester and Malvern

For a complete listing of events and booking information, visit www.elgarfestival.org