Inon Barnatan Photo: Marco Borggreve

THE KEBLE EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL

Keble College Chapel

Various dates and times

Tickets: 01865 305305 or www.ticketsoxford.com

This lovely festival, which opened on Wednesday, continues until Saturday with a varied selection of concerts. Highlights include His Majesty’s Sagbutts & Cornetts performing At His Majesty’s Pleasure on Friday evening, featuring new music performed on early instruments, and Bach’s St John Passion, performed by the Choir of Keble College and the Academy of Ancient Music, to bring this year’s festival to a suitably dramatic finale. For full details, visit www.keble.ox.ac.uk/kemf

SJE Arts International Piano Series

ALEXEI VOLODIN

St John the Evangelist

Thursday, 7.30pm

Tickets: www.sje-oxford.org

Alexei Volodin photo: Marco Borggreve

There’s a touch of magic in the opening of this all-Russian programme by acclaimed Russian pianist Alexei Volodin. Medtner’s atmospheric Skazki (Fairy Tales) draw on Russian folklore to evoke forest spirits, storms and more through vivid, colourful imagery and catchy dance tunes. Prokofiev’s short, dramatic Piano Sonata No.3 in A minor, Op.28follows, and the concert is brought to a close by Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata No.1 in D minor, Op.28, written shortly after his move to Dresden to escape rising political tensions in Russia.

Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra

TCHAIKOVSKY & RACHMANINOV

Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

Thursday, 7.30pm

Tickets: 01865 980980 or www.oxfordphil.com

Marios Papadopoulos by Chris Gloag.

Rachmaninov pops up again in another all-Russian programme, this time with the Symphony No.2 in E minor, Op.27, which also dates from the composer’s Dresden years. Hailed as the peak of Rachmaninov’s orchestral output, the piece is full of drama, melancholy and ravishing melodies. It is paired here with Tchaikovsky’s mighty Violin Concerto in D major, Op.35, with soloist Yuri Zhislin, the Oxford Philharmonic’s Co-Concertmaster. Marios Papadopoulos conducts.

CHILTERN ARTS FESTIVAL

Various venues

From Saturday

Tickets and details: www.chilternarts.com

The fabulous Chiltern Arts Festival returns for its third season, filling the Chiltern Hills and surrounding area with the sound of music. On Saturday,  catch the Marian Consort at St Peter’s Church, Wallingford, with Singing in Secret, an exploration of music by Renaissance composer William Byrd and contemporaries, whose music for Catholic mass had to be performed in secret. On Wednesday, head over to Henley to hear the internationally-acclaimed percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and Scottish ensemble Trio HLK in Extra Sensory Perception, preceded by Dame Evelyn in conversation with Katy Hamilton. 

Elizabeth Kenny, Lute

LA CONVERSATION

JDP Music Building

Saturday, 7.30pm

Tickets: 01865 305305 or www.ticketsoxford.com

In this varied programme, Elizabeth Kenny celebrates 17th century lute music across Europe, from England and Scotland to France, Germany and Italy. Featured composers include Poznan, Saizenay, Beck, Reusner, Gaultier, Mercure, Grieve and S.L. Weiss. Currently Director of Performance at Oxford University, as well as Professor of Lute at the Royal Academy of Music, Elizabeth Kenny is one of Europe’s leading lutenists, known for her imaginative and historically informed programming. Her playing has been described as “unfailingly sensitive” (The Telegraph) and “lively with resonance and colour” (The Artsdesk). An exquisite evening awaits!

Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra

FREDDY KEMPF, PIANO 

St John the Evangelist Church

Saturday, 7.30pm

Tickets: 01865 980980 or www.oxfordphil.com

The Beethoven Festival continues with this recital by Freddy Kempf, a replacement (due to injury) for John Lill. The London-born pianist made his professional concerto debut with the Royal Philharmonic at the age of eight, followed by winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year six years later. In this concert he explores four sonatas from Beethoven’s middle period, including the famous Sonata No.23 in F minor, Op.57, ‘Appassionata’. 

Corona Strings

HEARTSTRINGS

Dorchester Abbey

Saturday, 7.30pm

Tickets: www.coronastrings.co.uk/heart or on the door

Janet Lincé conducts a feast of romantic music for string orchestra and guitar, including Tchaikovsky’s sublime Serenade in C and other works by Sibelius, Finzi, Lindsey-Clark and Nielsen. With Catherine Leech (leader) and Raymond Burley (guitar).

Oxford Coffee Concerts

PHOENIX PIANO TRIO

Holywell Music Room

Sunday, 11.15am

Tickets: 01865 305305 or www.ticketsoxford.com

Sholto Kynoch is best known locally for founding the Oxford Lieder Festival, but here he is in another guise – performing as part of the acclaimed Phoenix Piano Trio, alongside Jonathan Stone (violin) and Christian Elliott (cello). In this hour-long concert, the ensemble performs piano trios by Fauré and Mendelssohn. 

Abbey Chamber Concerts

NOCTURNE

St Nicolas Church, Abingdon

Sunday, 3pm

Tickets: www.abbeychamberconcerts.org or on the door

Enjoy a Sunday afternoon treat with this programme of French piano music, dance and song, featuring works by Fauré, Debussy, Duparc, Hahn and Takemitsu. With Diana Hinds (piano), Rory Carver (tenor) and Joelle Pappas (dancer/choreographer). The ticket price includes free tea and coffee after the concert, and there will be a chance to chat to the performers.

Oxford Bach Soloists

PANTOMIME VILLAINS

New College Chapel

Sunday, 3pm

Tickets: www.oxfordbachsoloists.com

Conductor Tom Hammond-Davies and the singers of OBS once again whisk audiences back to early 18th century Leipzig, where Bach was Cantor of St Thomas Church from 1723. This 75-minute concert features three cantatas for the third and second Sundays before Ash Wednesday. Cantata 144 is based on the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, while cantatas 181 and 18 are both based on the Parable of the Sower.

SJE Arts International Piano Series

INON BARNATAN

St John the Evangelist

Wednesday, 7.30pm

Tickets: www.sje-oxford.org

Inon Barnatan Photo: Marco Borggreve

Award-winning pianist Inon Barnatan is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and an acclaimed performer who has collaborated with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras. In a typically varied programme, he performs a selection of Bach’s Choral Preludes, a selection of Mendelssohn’s Song Without Words, Adès’ Paraphrase on Powder Her Face and Schubert’s Piano Sonata No.15 in  B flat major D960. Expect some fine artistry from a performer hailed by the New York Times as “one of the most admired pianists of his generation”.

NICOLA LISLE

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