Worcester 25 July - 1 August 2020
Journey is an inevitable part of life. Some journeys we think nothing of, some we don't even notice, but others are so significant and transformative that they shape our lives and our history.
I'm thrilled that my journey has brought me to Worcester, and it is my pleasure to introduce my first Three Choirs Festival programme. In 2020 the theme of voyage will be strong, not least as we mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's journey from England to the USA in 1620, taking the opportunity to feature music by American composers Nico Muhly, Stephen Paulus, and Aaron Copland, as well as John Adams' electrifying Short Ride in a Fast Machine - be sure to fasten your seatbelts!
Delving into perhaps unfamiliar territory (just like the best explorers!) we roam the eastern Mediterranean in Armstrong Gibbs' Choral Symphony Odysseus, contemplate the journey of the soul in Hora Novissima by Horatio Parker (the first American composer to feature at Three Choirs, in Worcester 1899), and fly into space with Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds in The Pleiades. Back on more familiar territory, Vaughan Williams' Songs of Travel will feature on our last night, and Elgar's autobiographical journey The Music Makers on the first.
I'm delighted that the festival will include a major commission by leading composer Gabriel Jackson, alongside still more highlights - our Three Cathedral Choirs will present music by Bach and Buxtehude, and we'll hear music by Beethoven in his 250th anniversary year. Furthermore, a Jonathan Dove premiere especially for young listeners will inspire outreach and education work leading up to the festival, in partnership with the Philharmonia, our outstanding orchestra-in-residence.
Elsewhere, we've got a stellar cast of visiting ensembles, a wonderfully varied late-night series, and a soupçon of French colour marking organist Louis Vierne's 150th birthday. I hope you'll find plenty of reasons to travel to the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester in 2020. What a journey it will be - you will be very welcome to join us on our voyage!