NYJO & National Youth Chamber Choir in Shakespeare 400 Tour

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Today we’re delighted to announce that NYJO and The National Youth Chamber Choir  have united to pay tribute to Shakespeare in his 400th anniversary year with a joint national concert tour. Entitled The Play’s The Thing, the programme features a diverse range of jazz, choral, and collaborative music inspired by Shakespeare’s plays and poetry, including Duke Ellington’s Such Sweet Thunder suite, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Three Shakespeare Songs, and new music by Mark Armstrong, Pete Churchill, David Hamilton, Nils Lindberg, Owain Park, Ben Parry and Janet Wheeler. Performances are scheduled for the Cheltenham Music Festival (17th July), Petworth Festival (29th July) and the Stratford on Avon Music Festival (22nd October).

The project was born in 2015 when both ensembles were invited to create a Shakespeare-themed programme for the City of London Festival. The resulting collaboration was hailed by theartsdesk.com as “superlative” and a “clear front-runner” among the forthcoming tributes for Shakespeare 400, and inspired the groups to work together to self-promote further performances.

NYJO Artistic & Music Director Mark Armstrong said: “I am really excited by the musical collaboration and synergy created in our partnership with NYCC. Ellington did not look at his music narrowly as jazz; his character portraits and tone poems sit well next to famous and fresher choral Shakespeare settings. And bringing together different musical takes and views of Shakespeare has provided a rich tapestry of sound that broadens the appeal of both jazz ensemble and choral music to wider audiences.”

Both ensembles will be appearing on a special Shakespeare edition of Friday Night Is Music Night on BBC Radio 2 with the BBC Concert Orchestra and singers Hannah Waddingham and Graham Bickley, presented by Michael Maloney, to be broadcast on Friday 22 April at 8.00pm.

NYJO & National Youth Chamber Choir in Shakespeare 400 Tour


Friday Night Is Music Night Shakespeare Special (BBC Radio 2) / Friday 22 April, 8.00pm

88-91 FM / www.bbc.co.uk/radio2

Cheltenham Music Festival / 17th July, 7.30pm

Via Cheltenham Festivals: ticket prices TBA

www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/music (from 6th April) 01242 850 270 (from 6th April)

Petworth Festival / 29th July, 7.30pm

Via Petworth Festival: £22, U18s £5

www.petworthfestival.org.uk (from 28th April) 01798 344 576 (from 25th May)

Stratford on Avon Music Festival / 22nd October

Via Stratford on Avon Music Festival: ticket prices TBA

www.stratfordmusicfestival.com 01789 298 197


Mark Armstrong Food of Love

Pete Churchill Journey’s End

Duke Ellington Such Sweet Thunder

David Hamilton Caliban’s Song

Nils Lindberg Shall I compare thee (Sonnet 18)

Owain Park When love speaks (Sonnet 116)

Ben Parry Weary with toil (Sonnet 27)

Ward Swingle It was a lover and his lass

Janet Wheeler Music to hear (Sonnet 8)

Ralph Vaughan Williams Three Shakespeare Songs

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