The 2020 York Chamber Music Festival

Select the event you wish to watch, donate if you possibly can and click play. Come back time and time again to watch the entire festival whenever you want.

Event 1

Fri, 18 Sept 19:30
Online at the NCEM

Includes Beethoven String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 95

Event 2

Sat, 19 Sept 19:30
Online at the NCEM
Beethoven String Quartet No. 1 in F major, Op.18, No. 1

Event 3

Sun, 20 Sept 19:30
Online at the NCEM

Includes Beethoven String Quintet in C Major, Op. 29

Please consider donating as much as you feel you can,
enjoy our online festival. Keep the festival alive! 
We are taking the festival online!
Due to the current situation with COVID-19, the festival won’t be possible as planned. So instead we are reconceiving it in a different format with the same aim – to bring great chamber music to York played by some of the country’s leading musicians.

We are going to live stream the  three evening concerts from St Margaret's Church, the National Centre For Early Music in York. We will be able to celebrate the 250 anniversary of Beethoven’s birth as planned. You can see all the information about these concerts and the players on this website. The only change is that we have decided it is not possible to stream the lunchtime recitals. 


We are hugely grateful to the NCEM for facilitating this project. Details of how we will stream the events will be sent out later in the summer. You will be able to join us live on FaceBook or YouTube. The dates are 18 -20 September.  Come and join us and hear some great music! The festival artists are looking forward to having a ball!! In the meantime stay safe and enjoy the summer.  


If you are not already on York Chamber Music Festival’s email list please fill in the form so that we can contact you. The form is at the bottom of the home page.

The 2020 York Chamber Music Festival welcomes my friends back to the city, who are among the leading professional players in the country. 

This year we celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.

Very rarely in history does someone arrive on Earth touched with such a force of invention that they change everything. Beethoven was such a person – born 250 years ago – a genius without parallel in music.

In each of the three On-line concerts I have selected one work to represent or point to key moments in Beethoven’s artistic evolution and spiritual journey. It was Beethoven’s great tragedy that for much of his adult life he became progressively deaf until there was nothing left. It would seem that as his outer-ear faded so his inner-ear quickened.


In the String Quartet No. 1 in F major, Op.18, No. 1 we catch Beethoven thinking hard about his entry to this genre and already changing convention, poetic and assured. The String Quintet in C major, Op. 29 is a pivotal work that is the harbinger of his middle period chamber music, a bubbling attractive piece which belies Beethoven’s realisation of impending deafness. The enigmatic, experimental F Minor String Quartet, Op. 95 is the forerunner of his last series of ‘late’ quartets, already reaching for the stars but with a new sort of music never heard before, light years ahead.

Almost everything else in the programme can be thought of as a legacy of this one man. A feature of the programme is that we are playing piano quintets which was more or less invented as an ensemble by Robert Schumann – having immersed himself in a study of Beethoven’s trios and quartets (Mozart and Haydn too) while his wife, international pianist Clara, was away on tour. 

Welcome to York Chamber Music Festival 2020 On-line. It would be appreciated if you would donate towards costs in the absence of normal ticket income. Thank you so very much. I hope you enjoy the 2020 festival.


Welcome all.
Tim Lowe
(Artistic Director)

Steven Isserlis (Cello)

Festival Patron


Beethoven Cello Sonata No. 5 in D major,
Op. 102, No. 2

Tim Lowe (Cello)
and Andrew Brownell (Piano)

“... compelling in every respect: probing, virtuosic and yielding by turns – a true example of outstanding musicianship.” Musical Opinion



Due to COVID-19 it is unlikely that this event can go ahead as planned. We will update this message when the situation becomes clearer.

Messiaen 'Quartet for the end of Time' in York Minster

January 2021