Jazz-soul man Gregory Porter for 50th Harrogate International Festival

Gregory Porter.
Gregory Porter.
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Hailed as the “North of England’s leading arts festival” by The Times, Harrogate International Festivals reaches its 50th festival this summer with a cultural feast.

Attracting 90,000 people a year with an annual economic impact of £8.2m, this July Harrogate will experience a month-long explosion of music and literature.

Among the big names lined up are wonderful jazz-soul singer Gregory Porter who continues the festival’s reputation for attracting world-class jazz following the likes of Wynton Marsalis in 2014.

Sharon Canavar, Harrogate International Festivals’ CEO, said: “Our 50th Festival is a significant milestone and we’re really excited to present a programme that really celebrates our rich heritage.”

In honour of its rich heritage celebrating the finest classical musicians, 2015 welcomes back living legend Alfred Brendel, who first appeared at the festival in 1974.

Guest curator is Julian Lloyd Webber, who began his career at the Festivals as a Young Musician.

As well as a special ‘Evening with’ event, he’ll be developing the Young Musicians series.

The theme of 2015 A Sense of Place draws on Harrogate’s reputation as a truly international arts festival.

Artist in Residence, Saleem Ashkar, will show how the power of classical music is bridging divides between Arab and Jewish communities in Israel with the Polyphony Foundation.

The Italian Quartet, Quartetton Di Cremona will perform The Italian Journey and Mahan Esfahani is creating a special programme for the festival using his instrument – the harpsichord – as a focus.

Musicians of international renown have re-created the Harrogate Festival Orchestra, who will pop up across the town with free events, featuring the music created in Harrogate from the composers Finzi and Farrar.

This year’s orchestral programme includes the magnificent Flanders Symphony Orchestra.

The John Wilson Orchestra, will open the festival in style, featuring the music of Cole Porter.

Psycho Live! will bring orchestral music into the movie experience with a screening of legendary film director Alfred Hitchock’s famous film

Sharon Canavar said: “We want everyone to experience an exciting, international journey through music this summer. The Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival also has a quite simply remarkable line-up tbis year.

”We’re also looking forward to announcing the full programme of the world’s best celebration of the crime genre – the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.”

Tickets will be on sale mid-March on 01423 562303 or at www.harrogateinternationalfestivals.com