King’s Lynn Festival starts this weekend

Crispian Steele-Perkins
Crispian Steele-Perkins
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World-famous names will be heading to King’s Lynn over the next two weeks to take part in the 65th Festival of music and the arts which starts on Sunday.

Four orchestras, internationally-renowned soloists, jazz, folk, comedy talks, film and an exhibition loaned by the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts will make up a packed programme being staged on July 12-25.

Festival chairman Alison Croose said: “With such big names as pianists Freddy Kempf and Benjamin Grosvenor, the Royal Shakespeare Company, trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins, the elder statesmen of British comedy Barry Cryer, folk group Capercaillie, the Jiving Lindy Hoppers, the Academy of Ancient Music and TV presenter Dan Cruickshank, we are anticipating an 11th hour rush to the box office.

“The broad appeal of the exciting programme has been greeted with great enthusiasm we anticipate a number of sell-outs,” she added.

The Festival will burst into life on Sunday with a celebratory concert Viva Vivaldi! It will feature Vivaldi’s Four Seasons played by the European Union Chamber Orchestra which will be joined by the 80-strong Lynn Festival Chorus to perform Vivaldi’s rousing Gloria.

The orchestra will be back on stage on Tuesday with world-famous trumpet player Crispian Steele-Perkins for another rousing concert featuring Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto and Mozart’s Posthorn Serenade.

The Festival is to stage the first performance outside Stratford of a Royal Shakespeare Company production featuring Shakespeare’s Songs on Monday (July 13). Baritone Benedict Nelson, a big hit at last year’s Festival, will be one of the singers performing songs composed for Shakespeare’s plays. RSC musical director Bruce O’Neil and actor and director Chris Luscombe will also take part in the performance in the perfect setting of St George’s Guildhall where the Bard is reputed to have played.

The acclaimed Notos Quartet from Berlin will give the Ruth Fermoy Memorial Concert on Thursday in memory of the festival’s founder, and on Saturday, July 18, the Academy of Ancient Music will perform baroque concertos in Lynn Minster.

Just weeks after giving his recital at Lynn Festival on July 23 pianist Benjamin Grosvenor will perform at the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

Barry Cryer, the elder statesman of British comedy will be back in Lynn on Friday, July 17, with pianist Colin Sell with a show entitled Twitter Titters.

Adding to the programme’s broad appeal will be Swinging at the Cotton Club with the Jiving Lindy Hoppers (July 19), the BBC Concert Orchestra’s Magic of the Musicals being recorded for Friday Night is Music Night (July 20), Celtic folk group Capercaillie (July 21), and King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys (July 24).

Speakers include BBC TV presenter Dan Cruickshank talking on The Re-Creation of Lost Buildings (July 22) and art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon (July 15).

Flanders Symphony Orchestra from Bruges will present the final concert with festival favourite, pianist Freddy Kempf, who said: “Lynn Festival has given me so many wonderful memories over the years”.

An exhibition of works by photographer John Hedgecoe will open in the Fermoy Gallery at Lynn Arts Centre on. Hedgecoe is best-known for his portraits of artists, writers and poets and the exhibition will include pictures of personalities closely associated with Lynn Festival. The Sainsbury Centre at Norwich is staging the exhibition in partnership with Lynn Festival.

For tickets or further information call the box office on 01553 764864 or visit