Colchester Classics – Classical Music Picks for June



BBC Music Day

BBC Music Day is a UK-wide celebration of everything we love about music with the aim of bringing people together from different generations and communities. On Friday 3 June, Colchester celebrates this event with the Colne Valley Youth Orchestra,  students from Academy East Music School, Tendring Music School and pupils from local schools including Philip Morant, Thurstable and Colchester Royal Grammar School perform some of the BBC 10 pieces which are being promoted by Essex Music Education Hub through workshops and lessons.  Friday 3 June at 7pm, St Botolph’s Church, Colchester.

Admission is free with a retiring collect.

Frinton Festival & Family Concert

The opening concert in the annual Frinton Festival is on Thursday 2 June with music by Saint-Saens, Hugo Wolf and Beethoven.

This concert and also the Family Concert on Saturday 4 June have a limited number of free tickets for those aged 8 – 25. (01255 319141)

The Sixteen

The Sixteen, comprising both choir and period-instrument orchestra, are recognised as one of the world’s greatest ensembles. Saturday 4 June the sixteenth choral pilgrimage of The Sixteen under Harry Christophers comes to Chelmsford. The concert celebrates the work of William Byrd and Arvo Pärt, composers from very different eras, both considered masters of sacred music despite having faced considerable persecution for their work.  Chelmsford Cathedral, Saturday 4 June at 7.30pm.

Tickets from £15 (0333 666 3366)

Dulcis Venti & Francis Knights

Discovering that there was no existing repertoire for recorder quartet with harpsichord, Colchester New Music challenged composers around the world to rectify the situation. Saturday 4 June,  Dulcis Venti and harpsichordist Francis Knights present the first ever performances of works for this mysteriously neglected ensemble. Dulcis Venti is a newly formed recorder quartet, based in East Anglia and directed by Stephen Watkins. Francis Knights is Director of Studies in Music at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and trained as a harpsichordist under Robert Woolley. Saturday 4 June at 7.30pm. Headgate Theatre, Colchester.

Tickets: £8 (01206 366000 or email

Nicholas McCarthy

Born without his right hand, award-winning British pianist Nicholas McCarthy is a champion of the left-hand repertoire. On Tuesday 31 May, his Summer UK Piano Tour begins and on June 5, Nicholas returns to his hometown of Colchester for a concert at St Botolph’s Church at 3pm before completing his UK tour on 16 June. Nicholas is one of the rare musicians who captivates the audience with his musicianship and informs and entertains with his remarkable repertoire knowledge.

Nicholas performs music especially written for the left-hand only, transcriptions and arrangements, including his own, and recent commissions.  Tickets: £10 (0800 411 8881). At his Colchester concert Nicholas will pick the winner for a signed copy of his debut album, Solo. To enter the competition ring 0800 999 4994 or by email  Sunday June 5 at 3pm in St Botolph’s Church.

Tickets: £10 (0800 411 8881

Beth Spendlove & Nigel Clayton

At 2.45pm on Sunday 5 June Beth Spendlove and Nigel Clayton perform music for violin and piano by Handel, Mozart and Szymanowski in Lion Walk Church, Colchester. Tickets: £12 on the door.   Beth and Nigel present a recital on Thursday June 9 as part of the 22nd season of Summer Concerts, St Mary’s Church, Frinton.

Free admission with retiring collection.

Witham Choral Society – Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday

On 11 June at 7.30 pm at Witham United Reformed Church, Newland Street, Witham Choral Society will be celebrating Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday by performing some of the music played at her Coronation back in 1953. Accompanied by the Colchester Bach Ensemble the concert will feature Handel Coronation Anthems (including Zadok the Priest), Greensleeves and Purcell’s Trumpet Tune. The choir will also sing Vivaldi’s Gloria and music by Haydn and Mozart.

Tickets are £10 and £5 for those in full-time education.

Purcell’s The Fairy Queen

Shakespeare has inspired countless composers throughout the ages. Purcell’s The Fairy Queen is a magical version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and it inaugurates both the Maldon Festival and its commemoration of the Bard’s 400th Anniversary. The City Lit Opera with Pegasus Baroque Orchestra perform at the Amphitheatre, Promenade Park, Maldon on Saturday June 25 at 6pm. Tickets: £15 (01621 856503). On the same evening, the Colchester Choral Society performs Purcell’s The Fairy Queen in the version devised by Benjamin Britten and Imogen Holst, and first performed at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1967.

Further information

Harwich Festival

Tickets are now available for the Harwich Festival 2016 (24 June – 3 July) with discounted season tickets on offer for its Classical Music concerts with performances by the Amphion Consort, the European Union Chamber Orchestra, the London Piano Trio and many more.

Tickets: 07425 1450222 or

If you have a forthcoming concert of classical music, you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.

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