16 – 18 September 2021

2021 Programme



Thursday 16 September | 7:30pm | £15
Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York



Angela Hewitt


François ‘Le Grand’ Couperin (1668 – 1733)   Book III Dix-Huitième Ordre

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)  Piano Sonata No. 6 in D major, K.284


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)  Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 894

Johann Sebastian Bach  -  English Suite No. 4 in F major, BWV 809

Johann Sebastian Bach  - (arr. d’Albert)  Passacaglia in C minor, BWV 582


The Canadian pianist is one of the reliably mesmerising musicians of the day. You sit entranced…. Wigmore Hall recital reviewed in The Sunday Times.


The idea of playing on the piano the music of the great harpsichord masters Bach and Scarlatti has been the life-long passion of Angela Hewitt. Why not do the same for their contemporary, François Couperin ‘le Grand’. She is also one of the finest interpreters of Mozart's piano music and brings lightness and delicacy that fits perfectly this early precociously virtuosic sonata.


Back to Bach in the second half opening with the A minor Prelude and Fugue. The English Suites was Bach’s first cycle of dance suites although there is nothing ‘English’ about them, more French in style, reminiscent of the French harpsichord school. Eugen d'Albert's magnificent transcription of the C minor Passacaglia and Fugue for organ brings Angela’s recital to a powerfully rousing conclusion.

Young Person’s Ticket

18 year olds and under free entry to all events


One of the core aims of York Chamber Music Festival is to bring a new generation of young people to open up to chamber music.

Young Person’s Ticket

For 18 year olds and under entry to all events is FREE

COVID GUIDANCE: In September 2020 YCMF brought world class chamber music to you by live streaming the three evening concerts. We estimate over 1,500 people watched the concerts and we had some wonderfully appreciative responses. This year we are determined to go ahead with a live audience and are hoping to be at full capacity. There may still be restrictions on numbers and Covid protocols may still apply. Should it still be necessary York Chamber Music Festival will ensure our listeners attend in a covid-secure environment. This guidance will become clearer over the summer and we will keep you in touch as it  is revised.  It should be noted that access to the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall will be governed by York University protocols at the time.




Friday 17 September | 1:00pm – 2:00pm | £10.00  

Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York

Lunchtime Recital by

Tim Lowe (cello) and
John Paul Ekins (Piano)


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827) 12 Variations on a Theme from Handel’s oratorio Judas Maccabaeus Wo0 45

Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856) Fantasiestücke, for Cello and Piano, Op. 73

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873 – 1943) Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor, Op. 19


We know that Beethoven heard Handel’s oratorio Judas Maccabeus while on tour in Vienna. (Handel was his favourite composer). Presenting his first two cello sonatas at the court of Frederich-Wilhelm II changed the cello sonata form for ever and added considerably to Beethoven’s bank account! He also wrote at the same time two companion pieces to the two cello sonatas. This one, 12 Variations on the aria See, the Conquering Hero Comes from the oratorio.


Schumann’s fantasy pieces begin tenderly, become sunlit and end with a fiery flourish; music conjured miraculously from his imagination. Rachmaninov also takes us on a long and lingering, lyrical journey with his neo-Romantic cello sonata. It was written at about the same time as his second piano concerto to which at times it bears a considerable resemblance.

Young Person’s Ticket

18 year olds and under free entry to all events




Friday 17 September | 7:30pm 
National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret’s Church

Unreserved seating £15


Concert by Festival Artists

Anthony Marwood and Martyn Jackson (Violins)
Lilli Maijala (viola)  
Tim Lowe 


Josef Haydn (1732 – 1809) String Quartet in C Major, Op. 54, No. 2

Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847) String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80


Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856) String Quartet in A minor, Op. 41, No. 1

Haydn wrote six quartets for his friend, the violinist Johann Tost when he left the Esterházy orchestra to freelance in Paris. Tost found a publisher and these major string quartets entered the public realm; masterpieces all, the C Major quartet full of Hungarian verve, masterly and original.


The F-Minor String Quartet was Mendelssohn’s last completed work. It is an anguished outpouring of emotion due to the death of his beloved sister; from beginning to end, a work of unprecedented intensity, with no holds barred, revealing Mendelssohn’s dark side.


Continuing the festival’s long-term exploration of Robert Schuman’s chamber music we turn this year to his A Minor string quartet. Clara’s return to Leipzig from a long concert tour triggered an intense outpouring of chamber works by her husband. Composed in the summer of 1842 we hear close reference to Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn.  In the slow movement Schumann truly reveals his soul, perhaps his most sublime slow movement.

Young Person’s Ticket

18 year olds and under free entry to all events



Saturday 18 September 1:00pm – 2:00pm  

Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York

Unreserved seating £10


Lunchtime Recital by John Paul Ekins (Piano)

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827) Piano Sonata No. 27 in E Minor, Op. 90

Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886) Sonetto del Petrarca, S.270/2

Franz Liszt - Liebesträume No. 1 in A Flat, S.541/1

Ludwig van Beethoven -  Adelaide Op. 46, (arr. for piano by F. Liszt)


JP Ekins plays a programme tying together Beethoven and Liszt, two of the greatest pianists of their day, remembering that until deafness stopped his concert tours Beethoven was best known as a virtuoso pianist.  JP begins with Beethoven's sonata composed at the same time as  Liszt's birth. The E Minor sonata is Beethoven's most song-like sonata, and the recital moves on through two Liszt songs/tone poems, and brings the two composers together in  Liszt’s transcription of Beethoven’s song Adelaide.

Young Person’s Ticket

18 year olds and under free entry to all events




Saturday 18 September   7.30pm    

Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York 

Unreserved seating £15


Gala Concert by Festival Artists


Anthony Marwood  and Martyn Jackson(Violins)  
Lilli Maijala
Tim Lowe

Angela Hewitt (piano)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
String Quartet No. 17 "The Hunt", K. 458

Gustav Mahler (1860 – 1911) Piano Quartet in A Minor


Antonín Dvořák (1841 – 1904) Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81


Inspired by hearing Haydn’s Op 33 string quartets in 1782 the youthful Mozart embarked on a series of his own. Hearing them a few years later Haydn told Mozart’s father, “…your son is the greatest composer that I have ever come across.” ‘The Hunt’ quartet is innovative and its mood is playful and good-humoured. Mahler’s piano quartet is in reality one movement of an abandoned youthful quartet  and  the Austrian symphonist’s only chamber music. It is serious, emotional and dark.


As Dvořák approached the peak of his international fame, he composed one of the greatest chamber music masterpieces at his country retreat, Vysoka,– it is a beautifully lyrical and open-hearted outpouring. With Angela Hewitt playing the piano and our international star cast of string players this performance rounds off the 2021 festival in joyous mood.

Young Person’s Ticket

18 year olds and under free entry to all events

Please consider donating as much as you feel you can,
enjoy our online festival. Keep the festival alive! 

Steven Isserlis (Cello)

Festival Patron