John Casken

Alwinton Summer Concerts offer a chance to experience wonderful music in a beautiful setting in Upper Coquetdale in Northumberland’s National Park. The Church of St Michael and All Angels where the concerts take place is a fascinating building set into the hillside, tall and with a fine acoustic. Audience members come from far and wide and find the atmosphere to be very welcoming, inclusive and positive.

Concert series or Festival? The concerts are spread out between mid-May and early July, so it’s difficult to describe as a festival. But Festival it certainly feels like in its celebration of music to suit all tastes, from the known to the lesser known, to the new and unknown. It’s a celebration I warmly invite you to share with me.

Yet again we have drawn together a programme of artists of the highest calibre in four exciting concerts. We are privileged to be able to offer such a diverse range of music, and this year is no exception, from funky folk to a theatrical melodrama, and classical string quartet to earlier music of the most intimate and poetic kind for tenor, lute and viol. For this concert, we have also planned our third   Composers’ Competition,   a fascinating opportunity as well as challenge for composers of all ages to write for this ensemble.

The Marmen Quartet have won major prizes: 2018 Royal Overseas League Competition, Music in the Round ‘Bridge’ Scheme, Musicians Company Concerts Concordia Award, Hattori Foundation Award and Royal Philharmonic Society Award. Sir John Tomlinson is the greatest British operatic bass-baritone of our times and has distinguished himself in many roles, from Wagner’s Ring cycle to operas by Sir Harrison Birtwistle. His stage presence is absolutely electric and this is a performance not to be missed. The young mezzo-soprano Rozanna Madylus has won a number of awards including The Karaviotis Prize at Les Azuriales Young Artist Competition in Nice in 2012. She has been invited to perform in London at Wigmore Hall and Kings Place, as well as at the Mariinksy Theatre in St Petersburg and Berlin Opera Academy. The members of Counterpoise are all distinguished musicians in their own right: Fenella Humphreys (violin), Kyle Horch (saxophone), Deborah Calland (trumpet), and Ian Farrington (piano).

Few performers of early music compare with lutenist Jacob Heringman, viol player Susanna Pell, and the tenor John Potter. They are well known for their performances of 16th century music but also play more recent music as well, and John Potter was a member of the Hilliard Ensemble for 18 years. Their involvement with our Third Composers’ Competition adds great status to it. Spiro bring high-energy performance and a unique and original interpretation of contemporary folk music performance. They end our season in a suitably upbeat and foot-tapping mode.

John Casken, Artistic Director

Tickets will be available via our website from February 2019

Marmen Quartet - Sunday 12 May, 7.30pm


Two major works from the classical repertoire by this award-winning string quartet frame an early but highly original work by the Hungarian composer György Ligeti... more.

Counterpoise - Saturday 25 May, 7.30pm

The Art of Love

A theatrical evening focusing on the early life of Alma Mahler, including songs by Wagner, Zemlinksy, Gustav Mahler, and Alma Mahler, and the monodrama Kokoschka’s Doll by John Casken... more.

Saturday 15 June, 7.30pm

The Lute Unbound

Jacob Heringman and Susanna Pell meet singer John Potter for The Lute Unbound, a programme of motets reflecting something of 16th century performance practice... more.

The concert will also include the winning work from the third Alwinton Composers’ Competition.
Composers’ Competition Workshop, admission free, 2.00-3.30.

SPIRO - Saturday 6 July, 7.30pm

Folk meets Minimalism

2016 BBC Folk Awards nominee Spiro is an instrumental group from Bristol whose high-energy playing embraces not only folk and dance music but also minimalism...more.

Alwinton Summer Concerts take place in the Church of St Michael and All Angels, located just outside of the remote, rural village of Alwinton in Upper Coquetdale, Northumberland. The series has established itself as one of the major cultural events in the North-East of England and the church, with its fine acoustic, is surrounded by beautiful and dramatic landscape.

John Casken Chairman and Artistic Director
Richard Marr Treasurer
Anne Jones Secretary

Alwinton Church Summer Concerts - Registered Charity No. 1140527