To mark the centenary of Malcolm Arnold’s birth, the 2021 Presteigne Festival will feature a series of events involving the composer’s music. Over the six-day span of the festival, 26 August to 31 August, four concerts include orchestral and chamber works by Arnold, each performed twice on the day.

On 27 August, Arnold’s Oboe Quartet will be programmed by Ensemble Perpetuo alongside David Matthews’ String Trio. The event will be at St Mary’s Parish Church, Pembridge at 11:30am and 2:30pm. The oboist in Perpetuo is James Turnbull with string players Fenella Humphreys, Rosalind Ventris and Cara Berridge.

The much-loved Concerto for Two Violins and String Orchestra will be performed by Fenella Humphreys and Francesca Barritt on 29 August. George Vass conducts the festival orchestra in a programme including Cecelia McDowell, Huw Watkins and Tippett. The Priory Church, Leominster performances take place at 3pm and 5:30pm.

James Turnbull returns with Catriona McDermid (bassoon) and Timothy End (piano) for a concert entitled ‘Variants of Solitude’ which features Arnold’s Oboe Sonatina, and works by Helen Grime, Dutilleux and Poulenc. The concerts take place at St Andrew’s Church, Presteigne on 30 August 11:30am and 2:30pm.

Arnold’s Sinfonietta No.1 makes an appearance at Hereford Cathedral on 31 August in the closing event. George Vass conducts the Presteigne Festival Orchestra for both 3pm and 7:45pm performances.

Christopher Austin will be giving a special talk on the life and works of Arnold as part of the festival on 27 August at 4:30 pm, Memorial Hall, Presteigne.

George Fu will also be bringing Knussen’s beautiful piano work Ophelia’s Last Dance to Presteigne audiences at St Andrew’s Church on 29 August, 6pm and 8:30pm.

The full Presteigne Festival programme can be viewed here.