Blowing the trumpet for brilliant Northern Aldborough Festival

Guy Barker.
Guy Barker.

By Graham Chalmers

It may have been described by the Times as “well on its way to being one of the leading fixtures on the classical music “ but the Northern Aldborough Festival isn’t scared to have a little fun, too.

As well as world class names from classical music and jazz such as pianist Imogen Cooper, Opera North Children’s Chorus, jazz trumpeter Guy Barker and violist Maxim Rysanov, this year’s 10-day feast of the arts also finds time to play a little cricket!

But the match on Friday, June 12 will be far from ordinary. One team is made up of famous writers picked by author Tom Holland including Sebastian Faulkes while the other is a Festival X1 featuring the festival’s artistic director Robert Ogden.

Founded in 1994 in the picturesque Roman village of Aldborough, it’s gradually grown not only in stature but geographically.

Running from June 11-20, the festival begins with British pianist Imogen Cooper CBE and ends with its traditional outdoor picnic concert starring Beatles For Sale and the Ripon Grammar School Big Band.

The festival may still be centred on this pretty village’s St Andrew’s Church but it’s now branched out to The Chapel in Rudding Park in Harrogate and Sleningford Park at North Stainley and, even, Staveley village cricket club in the case of that literary sporting encounter.

Its core aim is to bring exceptional music to new audiences, in intimate rural locations where it would not normally be heard.

With musical talent sourced from all over the world, the festival offers audiences a consistently high standard of events.

As chosen by artistic director Robert Ogden of the prestigious family jewellers in harrogate, the line-up this year looks the strongest in its 22-year history. Other highlights include prize-winning pianist Ashley Wass and the Charles Court Opera performing Puccini’s Tosca.

A significant number of concerts in this year’s North Aldborough Festival will see under-16s gain free entry.

For tickets and information, visit