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Concerts and other events

2017–2018 season

Welcome to this, our 31st year of inspiring live performance in Sowerby. We offer up another year of mouth-watering concerts – albeit slightly fewer than usual – but as varied as usual and catering for all tastes.

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Graham Merriam

Concerts Secretary

Concerts start at 7.30pm (unless shown below) in St. Oswald's Church, Sowerby, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, UK (directions). For more information on the artists and content of each programme please telephone Graham Merriam on 01845 597058 or 07899 746385 or email

Ticket prices shown are for advance booking. – More

The mailing list brings you details and reminders by post or email – More

Everyone is welcome – you may be new to Sowerby Music and maybe also to classical music.

Young listeners – we hope to encourage as many students and children as possible to attend our concerts by offering them FREE admission (18 and under) as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

Get concert tickets in person at Thirsk bookshops, by mail from Peter Rush or buy on line. Most concerts are cheaper in advance, but usually there are still some tickets for sale at the door on the night.


£17.00 on the door Buy now — £16.00

From Russia with Love

The Benyounes Quartet with Ryan Drucker, piano

Saturday 7 April, 7.30pm

Zara Benyounes and Emily Holland violins

Sara Roberts viola

Kim Vaughan cello


Wonderful to bring the Benyounes Quartet back to Sowerby. Last heard with the Sacconis playing the Mendelssohn Octet. Sara has also played with them in the Tchaikovsky Souvenir de Florence. This time they are playing an all Russian programme - 'A musical journey from the Romantic age of Tsarist Russia, through the uncertainty and shifting sands of the Russian Revolution and culminating in music that triumphed over adversity under the iron fist of the Soviet regime. The first half will comprise a selection of movements including Tchaikovsky’s Andante Cantabile (op11 mmt.2) and a movement from Prokoviev’s 1st Quartet - possibly some Liadov or Sokolov. The second half will be taken up with a performance of the magnificent Shostakovich Piano Quintet rated by many as his finest chamber work.


£13.00 on the door Buy now — £12.00

Extraordinary Sounds from Around

Yorkshire Young Musicians Showcase directed by Penny Stirling

Saturday 12 May, 7.30pm

It is always a pleasure to welcome back representatives of this Centre for Advanced Training. They are the future of music and we were treated to some of their Alumni at the 30th Birthday Celebration last July. As this brochure goes to press we have no idea who or what they will play. It’s not a secret - Penny has no idea what the next ten months will bring in terms of development, repertoire and ensemble. We DO know that the concert will be uplifting, entertaining and hugely rewarding for both them and us.


£17.00 on the door Buy now — £16.00

Two centuries of remarkable hands

Charles Owen, piano

Saturday 16 June, 7.30pm

Charles has a formidable reputation now both as a performer and recording artist. Described by Gramophone magazine as  “one of the finest British pianists of his generation”, Charles Owen has enjoyed an extensive international career performing a wide ranging repertoire to outstanding critical acclaim. His precision is immaculate as those that have heard his Goldberg Variations will testify and, at the other end of the scale, his recordings of Fauré have earned him many plaudits. We have the season book-ended by Bach English Suites - written in 1715 at Weimar as a relief from the task of composing constant cantatas. The Debussy studies are a selection from his 1915 - described them as "a warning to pianists not to take up the musical profession unless they have remarkable hands”. Schubert’s sonata is one of the three published after his death - probably sketched in 1828 - along with the String Qunitet and Schwanengesang. Mighty playing in store.



Bach - English Suite no 3 in G Minor 

Debussy - 6 Etudes from collection of 12

Schubert- Sonata in C minor, D958(posth)


£19.00 on the door Buy now — £18.00

The Sacconis and Friends

The Sacconi Quartet - Ben Hancox and Hannah Dawson, violins; Robin Ashwell, viola and Cara Berridge, cello with Robert Plane, clarinet and Alec Frank-Gemmill, Horn.

Friday 28 September, 7.30pm

On Saturday 29 September, the Sacconi Quartet will lead an open rehearsal of a major chamber work. This will be followed by a public performance at 2.00pm and a selection of short movements from the chamber repertoire played by the Sacconis. During the morning rehearsal we are inviting artists to use the church as a studio to capture aspects of the music or players - an open studio. We hope to display the results at the public concert.

And here they are again with a luscious programme offering up new possibilities. 

Mozart - Horn Quintet in Eflat, K407

Ireland - Sextet for Clarinet, Horn and String Quartet

Weber - Clarinet Quintet, Op.34

For those familiar with the Horn Concerti, this piece of Mozart makes similar demands on the player and has a darker tonality though the use of a second viola rather than the second violin. Einstein described the slow movement as a love-duet between the horn and strings. The final movement really stretches the capabilities of both the instrument and the player.

This early piece of Ireland's chamber music, dating from 1898, reflects his teacher Stanford's obsession with Brahms and, while it is by no means slavish, it displays a distinct Brahmsian feeling throughout.

Weber wrote his clarinet quintet between 1811 and 1815; as with his other clarinet compositions it was written for Heinrich Baermann, the pre-eminent German clarinettist of the day. A new instrument with new keys and greater possibilities enabled Weber to write for greater versatility and expression.


£11.00 on the door Buy now — £10.00

Angel Voices ever Singing

The RNCM Songsters under the direction of Professor Lynne Dawson

Friday 19 October, 7.30pm

Senior vocal students and a senior accompaniment student combine forces to present a feast of song - some secular, some liturgical.


£19.00 on the door Buy now — £18.00

Red Priest - The Baroque Bohemians

From Campsite to Court with Piers Adams recorders, Adam Summerhayes violin, Angela East cello and David Wright harpsichord

Friday 16 November, 7.30pm

Music by Vivaldi, Telemann, Handel, Biber, Byrd, Mielczewski and Hungarian folk melodies 

The world-famous baroque quartet led by ‘superhuman’ recorder player Piers Adams and the devilish fiddler, Adam Summerhayes, transform into a wild ‘baroque gypsy’ band. They re-live the extraordinary virtuosity of early Bohemian Baroque masters, explore melodies from a 1730 Slovakian fiddler’s tune-book, revel in the gypsy-influenced music of Telemann, and re-imagine music by Handel and the original Red Priest, Antonio Vivaldi – all in their own inimitable, high-octane style. Positively volcanic!



There is no charge

Annual General Meeting

The Society's chance to review the events of the previous year.

Saturday 8 December, 2.45pm

There will, of course, be drinks and nibbles and a short informal concert at 3.30pm - details to follow.

In addition to the review of the year to 31st August 2018, we shall look forward to plans for the future.


Buy now — £10.00

Romance on the Keys

Christian Sandrin, piano Supported by the Countess of Munster Recital Scheme.

Sunday 20 January, 3.00pm

A scrumptious feast of Schubert, Brahms and Schumann - ?Kreisleriana. This programme is subject to change.


£19.00 on the door Buy now — £18.00

A 12-stringed Celebration

The Katona Twins - Peter and Zoltan celebrate their 30th year performing as a duo

Saturday 13 April, 7.30pm


"The brilliant Katona Twins … Formidable virtuoso technique,  their performances could hardly be bettered for charm, zest, wit and colouristic flair.” - Daily Telegraph


£11.00 on the door Buy now — £10.00

Yorkshire and Humber's Finest

An update on the prodigious talent within the Yorkshire Young Musicians portfolio of highly talented students. Directed by Penny Stirling

Saturday 11 May, 7.30pm


£19.00 on the door Buy now — £18.00

Voces8 in Concert

Internationally acclaimed a cappella ensemble. The very best around.

Saturday 15 June, 7.00pm

From 11.30am, there will be a "Come and Sing" with Voces8 for all abilities and ages. This finish at 3.15 with a bring-your-own lunch in the middle. Nothing to rehearse beforehand, inability to sight-sing not a problem - just come!

The press says:

“The singing of VOCES8 is impeccable in its quality of tone and balance. They bring a new dimension to the word ‘ensemble’ with meticulous timing and tuning.” Gramophone

“Eight beautifully integrated solo voices... persuasive and committed singing.” BBC Music Magazine Choral and Song Choice

“VOCES8 are undoubtedly gifted.” The Times

With an on-going programme of recordings and live broadcasts, VOCES8 is heard regularly on international television and radio. The ensemble is a Decca Classics artist and has released acclaimed recordings that have been at the top of the classical charts. VOCES8 has premiered commissions from Roxanna Panufnik, Alexander Levine, Alec Roth, Ben Parry, Ola Gjeilo, Philip Stopford and Thomas Hewitt Jones. The group also performs bespoke arrangements written by Arranger in Residence, Jim Clements. The ensemble welcomed one of the most celebrated contemporary composers, Jonathan Dove, as Composer in Residence for two seasons from September 2017. As well as a commission planned for 2019 (Jonathan’s 60th birthday year), the associateship will provide mentoring opportunities to emerging composers linked with the group’s education programme

Their repertoire spans Byrd to Bieber, Beethoven to Brahms, BeBop and with the classiest arrangements imaginable


Previous concerts