Paul Brough

The BBC Singers, Blackadder Baroque Brass, The Henry Ley Singers, The Choir of Keble College and Instruments of Time & Truth are all featuring in the Keble Early Music Festival which runs from February 23-26.

Soloists and musicians galore will be flocking to the college’s stunning Butterfield Chapel to take part in the annual classical music event, under the watchful eye of new festival director Paul Brough.

Carolyn Sampson and Roderick Williams

So what can we expect? “We have some outstanding groups and artists in store for you, and a feast of glorious music, sometimes presented in a surprising context,” Paul says.

“We open on Wednesday February 23 with A Festival Evensong at 6pm, sung by The Choir of Keble College, with music including Purcell’s Evening Service in G minor.

Blackadder Baroque Brass

“This is followed at 7.30pm by Blackadder Baroque Brass – a completely unique formation of brass instruments, never heard before, in some stunning, new, characterful arrangements. 

Blackadder Baroque Brass was created by David Blackadder in 2021 bringing together a unique formation of period brass players to reimagine baroque music in a new and innovative way by combining four natural trumpets, four natural horns, four cornetts, four sackbutts, a serpent, baroque timpani and percussion.

“We have some outstanding groups and artists in store for you, and a feast of glorious music, sometimes presented in a surprising context”

“The Henry Ley Singers made up of lay clerks and graduate choral assistants of The Choir of Keble College will perform a recital of music from the 16th and 17th centuries at 3pm on Thursday 24, which is free.

Edward Higginbottom

“The following evening, the world of French baroque theatre ascends to the organ loft, as Edward Higginbottom presents his own transcriptions of Rameau’s theatre music. This forms a prelude to Compline by candlelight, sung to plainsong by the Choir of Keble College

“On Friday, Chief Conductor Sofi Jeannin directs the BBC Singers in an intriguing programme pairing Renaissance works with contemporary pieces based on them. This concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio Three.

The BBC Singers conducted by Sofi Jeanin. Photo by Mark Allan/BBC

“For our closing concert we are thrilled to be joined by international stars Carolyn Sampson and Roderick Williams for a performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, featuring our own college choir and members of Instruments of Time & Truth, which I will conduct.” 

“Opera director Nicholas Heath is helping us with this socially-distanced semi-stage production of Dido & Aeneas which will close the festival – exciting stuff!” 

Nicholas Heath

The festival also boasts two workshops, the first for adult amateurs, in association with Thames Valley Early Music Forum, and the second for school-age players, in association with Oxfordshire County Music Service and Instruments of Time & Truth. 

Tickets at or on the door, although early booking is advised.

More information on the Keble Early Music Festival at

Workshop booking at