Unusual locations for Classical Sheffield this weekend

A packed-out Winter Garden for a concert at last year's Classical Weekend event
A packed-out Winter Garden for a concert at last year's Classical Weekend event

Classical music takes centre stage again in Sheffield city centre this weekend as Classical Sheffield stages a weekend mini-festival celebrating the best of local music-making.

The event sees free short concerts taking place which everyone can attend without booking.

As well as the Winter Garden, which has become a stalwart venue for Classical Weekend festivals in the past couple of years, live music is promised in John Lewis, the Virgin Money Lounge, and some unexpected locations.

Event organisers are promising something for everyone.

Conductor and co-founder Mark McCombs explains that ‘classical’ spans a wide range of music.

“Classical is just a starting point,” he said.

“It actually covers everything from film music to epic symphonies, music for meditation, great choir works and much more.”

A highlight of the weekend’s programme will be new music written especially for the occasion.

Composer Jenny Jackson, whose catalogue includes music for over 100 singers circling around an audience, has created a new piece called Cloudscape which Sheffield Flute Choir will be bringing to life on Sunday afternoon in the Winter Garden.

Jenny describes the piece as “a celebration of the sameness of a big collection of flutes.

“I wanted to capture the feeling of a drifting and evolving cloudscape and I imagine this working well in the acoustic of the Winter Garden”.

A new group will give one of its first ever performances as part of the programme.

Sarentino Strings, which co-founder Lucy Phillips explains is named after a particularly romantic part of Italy, brings together four active professional local players to play music by Mozart, celebrated in the film Amadeus as one of the greatest-ever composers.

Locals would contend that Sheffield is every bit as much a ‘singing city’ as any other in Yorkshire.

A strong case for that will be made on Sunday afternoon as four separate choirs come together at St Marie’s Cathedral for a concert entitled Sounds of Heaven.

Organiser Robert Webb, conducting two of the groups, promises “a wide range of beautiful choral music in a glorious acoustic”.

It’s a snapshot of a choral music scene that by national standards is thriving, with hundreds of singers turning out weekly for rehearsals and performances.

Adding up last year’s total, Sheffield has at least one musical performance for every day of the year.

We’re an incredibly active city and we really do invite people to come down this weekend and share in the joy and discovery of lovely music in unexpected places.

Classical Sheffield was established four years ago with a mission of bringing more music to more people, celebrating Sheffield creativity.

We are now realising our ambition.

The energy and passion of Sheffielders shines through and it’s so inspiring to see and hear people making music, bringing pleasure to themselves and others.

Music takes place this Saturday and Sunday.

Full details of the weekend can be found on the group’s new website at www.classicalsheffield.org.uk.