Oxford Chamber Music Festival 2021


28 September 2021

04 October 2021
Oxford City Centre
Oxford City Centre

Oxford Chamber Music Festival 2021 - A Transcendental Meditation

About the Oxford Chamber Music Festival 2021

You are warmly invited to the Oxford Chamber Music Festival 2021 that is happening this Autumn with a full programme of events running from Tuesday 28 September to Monday 04 October in atmospheric and unusual venues all around Oxford.

This year’s festival features a stellar lineup of artists including Ian Bostridge, Julius Drake, Imogen Cooper, Sukhwinder ‘Pinky-Ji’ Singh, Nicolas Altstaedt, Marmen Quartet, Stephen Kovacevich, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Matthew Barley and Hugo Ticciati, to name only a few!

The festival theme this year continues and expands on plans for the postponed 2020 festival, which is an exploration of the theme of transcendence through the musical worlds of Arvo Pärt and Beethoven.

Many events have limited FREE tickets available for any young person aged between 8-25 through the CAVATINA scheme. Please email dutymanager@pegasustheatre.org.uk to book.

Download the 2021 festival brochure

2021 Festival programme

Tuesday 28 September

The Oxford Chamber Music Festival 2021 takes flight with two of the greatest song-cycles of all, separated by Arvo Pärt’s remarkable setting of Robbie Burns: so ‘simple’, yet haunting and unforgettable.

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Wednesday 29 September

Mantra at SJE Arts, Oxford - Part of Oxford Chamber Music Festival 2021


29 September
SJE Arts Oxford

A transcendental flight of the imagination around the world, in which great improvising musicians welcome singer Nicki Wells, with her amazing global array of vocal techniques and styles, and Adrian Freedman on the Japanese shakuhachi, to connect far-flung peoples and cultures, and celebrate our common humanity.

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Thursday 30 September

Even two hundred years on, Beethoven’s late piano sonatas are still unique portraits of the human spirit in all its facets: childlike, earthy, ecstatic, comical, suffering, and surviving, as at the end of op110. Stephen Kovacevich is one of their greatest interpreters.

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Friday 01 October

This workshop will encourage participants to create new ‘experimental readings’ of Emily Dickinson’s work by merging fragments of selected poems with lyrics from various songs found in her piano bench. Followed by a c. 30-minute performance featuring musical performance and video projection.

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Beyond the Clouds at Christ Church Cathedral - Part of the Oxford Chamber Music Festival 2021

Beyond the Clouds

01 October
Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

Here is music that attempts to reconcile different spiritual worldviews – from the Hebraic chants used by Ravel and Bloch, to the impassioned fervour of a Russian mystic in Silouan’s Song, the childlike simplicity of Janacek’s carol – and to build a bridge to an all-encompassing spirituality in the Beatles’ late, great song.

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Saturday 02 October

A Mind Forever Voyaging - Marmen Quartet

A Mind Forever Voyaging

02 October
Holywell Music Room

This is the compelling story of the growth of a great mind, in three snapshots from Beethoven’s epoch-making series of string quartets. The young man’s passionate adagio, based on Romeo and Juliet, is overtaken just eight years later by a revolutionary genius leaving his contemporaries far behind, exploring the mysterious spaces between harmonies.

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Oxford Chamber Music Festival 2021 - A Transcendental Meditation

A Transcendental Meditation

02 October
Holywell Music Room

Six different musical routes to free your mind from everyday concerns: Beethoven’s famous hypnotic triplets; Arvo Pärt mirroring Beethoven’s ripples; Pēteris Vasks reaching towards heaven; Pablo Casals communing with nature; Olivier Messiaen’s ecstatic contemplation of the ‘end of time’; and Johann Sebastian Bach’s unsurpassable masterpiece.

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Sunday 03 October

At the end of his life, like Bach with his transcendent Goldberg variations, Beethoven wrote his own ultimate piano masterwork to rival the Goldbergs. Unlike Bach with his heartstopping Aria, Beethoven took on the challenge of turning the ridiculous into the sublime.

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This Triple concerto requires three great soloists, so it is rarely played – but for a festival like Oxford Chamber Music Festival 2021, with its community of artists, it’s a treat for players and audience alike, and a fitting climax to the week.

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Monday 04 October

OCMF Schools Concert in collaboration with d’Overbroeck’s School, including the performance of the winning piece of the OCMF Composition Competition 2021. Invitation only, but school groups please apply to our Education Director Jackie Holderness for places by e-mailing Jackie.holderness@ocmf.net