A weekend of soul-stirring classical music comes to Sheffield

Soul-stirring, spine-tingling, life-affirming classical music was on the menu at the weekend as Classical Sheffield hosted its third annual festival of music in the city.

By Nik Farah
Tuesday, 12 March, 2019, 18:33
Classical Sheffield's Festival of Music, by Anthony Robling

Thousands filled venues across Sheffield over the course of the three day festival, including Sheffield Cathedral, Firth Hall and Upper Chapel for a variety of 40 events featuring more than 1,000 performers.

Fraser Wilson, co-founder of Classical Sheffield, said: “We had performers from five to 85, and thousands of audience members who turned out to enjoy a wide range of musical styles – all of it live, and performed with passion and enthusiasm by both professional and voluntary musicians.

“The three themes of the festival this year were designed to ensure there was something for everyone. The festival’s Women in Music theme celebrated performances and compositions by local female musicians and composers, including newly commissioned pieces, and saw scores of female musicians take to the stage throughout the weekend.

“Beyond Borders brought together a range of diverse musical styles, including Indian, contemporary, and folk-inspired music.

“The Future Makers theme put the cities children and young people centre stage, with large scale performances from Sheffield Music Hub and Sheffield Music Academy.

“One particular aspect of this year's festival was the presence of new music, with some pieces being performed for very first time.”

The festival saw Classical Sheffield premiere ten new pieces of music in three days.

Ellen Sargen, a Sheffield-based composer who was comissioned to create new music for the festival, said: “It was a truly wonderful festival. It was a pleasure to be involved in something so diverse, and I was really proud to contribute to the Women in Music theme, which was so well programmed throughout the festival.”

Sheffield orchestra, The Hallam Sinfonia, who also performed at the festival, released a statement this week to say: “The whole event could not have happened without the support of Classical Sheffield, Hallam Choral Society, Opera on Location for the Beethoven, and Jenny, Maria and the British Viola Society for Limb. “We want to express thanks to all those who didn’t just play but were so supportive. I think everyone who took part   can agree we all delivered the goods.”

“It was our biggest and best festival yet,” Classical Weekend producer Stewart Campbell adds.

“It was great to be able to bring together the musicians who keep our city alive with music all year round. Classical Sheffield's aim is to make more music, in more places, with more people, and this weekend 1,000 people performed in over 50 hours of music-making to audiences of over 7,000. 

“Through our festival we're extremely proud to highlight the fact that classical music lives and breathes throughout Sheffield, and showcase the exceptional wealth of talent that exists from music makers of all ages and backgrounds who live and work in the city.

" This was a great way of putting the city on the map, taking the time to celebrate something that all too often falls below the radar.”

Visit www.classicalsheffield.org.uk for more details of future events.