Well established as one of the world’s leading song festivals and the biggest in the UK, the Oxford Lieder Festival has been renamed, and is now called the Oxford International Song Festival. The new name better reflects the organisation’s activities: bringing song and singing to every part of the local and wider community through performance, participation, and learning, while emphasising music that is exciting, profound, and accessible to all.
The Oxford International Song Festival (13 – 28 October 2023) will celebrate its first festival with its new identity in a fortnight that explores the rich connections between song, poetry and visual arts. An astonishing array of artists will appear in 76 events, encompassing the great works of the repertoire together with new works and exciting discoveries.
Alongside the roster of world-renowned singers and pianists, audiences can expect colour, fashion, musical manuscripts that are themselves artworks, artist-poets, artist-composers, programmes inspired by artworks, opportunities to create musically inspired art, and much more. A vast range of repertoire will be heard in nearly 20 venues around the city centre, from the iconic Holywell Music Room to the medieval crypt of St Edmund Hall to Freud’s cocktail bar.
World-leading artists appearing at the Festival include Dame Sarah Connolly and Dame Imogen Cooper (giving the opening-night concert on 13 October), Graham Johnson, Christopher Maltman, Christine Rice, Miah Persson, Roderick Williams, Thomas Oliemans, Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha, Benjamin Appl, Jacques Imbrailo and Toby Spence. Singers appearing for the first time include Samuel Hasselhorn, Bethany Horak-Hallet, Laurence Kilsby, Francesca Chiejina, Karola Pavone, and Andrei Kymach. The Festival’s first foray into dance is Schubert’s Winterreise, performed by Juliane Banse and Alexander Krichel with dancer István Simon, choreographed by Andreas Heise. Away from the classical song canon, artists include the Marcus Roberts Trio with Anush Hovhannisyan, and a return of Schubert-based band The Erlkings.
British-Chinese composer Alex Ho will conclude his two-year tenure as Associate Composer, and the world premiere of his The Glass Eye, a major new song cycle with a text by Elayce Ismail, commissioned by Oxford International Song Festival, will be given by Hugh Cutting and Dylan Perez. Masterclasses will be led by Wolfgang Holzmair, and study events will be given by Stefano Evangelista, Natasha Loges, David Owen Norris, Philip Ross Bullock and others. A lunchtime series at the Holywell Music Room includes the world premiere of a new work by Héloïse Werner, one of the most exciting new voices in classical music, which has been commissioned by the BBC and performed by BBC New Generation Artist Helen Charlston and Oxford International Song Festival Director Sholto Kynoch.
Explore and book at www.oxfordsong.org
General booking opens on Friday 23 June