Carducci Festival Highnam 15-17th May 2020

By May, Spring will be in the air, and we can’t wait to celebrate another feast of chamber music gems with you at this year’s Carducci Festival at Highnam.

We’re delighted to be welcoming some of our favourite guest artists – pianists Kathryn Stott and Martin Roscoe, clarinettist Julian Bliss, and harpist Jean Kelly.  We’re celebrating Beethoven in his 250th anniversary year with some of our favourite Beethoven quartets, and are delighted to be performing Schubert’s Trout Quintet with Martin Roscoe at the piano.  Amongst the less well-known works featured in the Festival programme are Janáček’s 1923 Kreutzer Sonata’ string quartet, and David Bruce’s Gumboots for clarinet and string quartet, which we had great fun recording with Julian Bliss in 2016.

As ever, alongside the concerts there will be opportunities to hear the musicians of tomorrow in our young musician showcase and piano masterclasses (free for audience members to attend).  Anyone aged 26 of under can attend the concerts in Highnam Church for free thanks to support from the Cavatina Chamber Music Trust.

See you in Highnam!


Friday 15th May 2020

Bohemian Rhapsodies

7.30pm, Highnam Church
With Kathryn Stott, piano

Janáček String Quartet No. 1 ‘Kreutzer Sonata’
Beethoven Allegretto from Symphony No. 7 (transcribed for solo piano by Liszt)
Debussy L’isle Joyeuse for solo piano
Dvořák Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, Op. 81

For our first concert of 2020 we travel to eastern Europe for works by Czech composers Janáček and Dvořák, performed alongside solo piano works by Beethoven and Debussy.  Acknowledged as one of the masterpieces of the form, Dvořák’s piano quintet combines his lyrical style with elements of the Czech folk music tradition.

Tickets from £12 (free tickets for under-26s)


Saturday 16th May 2020

Clarinet Capers

7.30pm, Highnam Church
Julian Bliss, clarinet
Kathryn Stott, piano

Beethoven String Quartet in C minor Op. 18 No. 4
Poulenc Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
Gershwin Someone to Watch Over Me
David Bruce Gumboots for Clarinet and String Quartet

We welcome back festival favourite, clarinettist Julian Bliss to perform David Bruce’s foot-tapping Gumboots (2008) for clarinet and string quartet. Beethoven’s early quartet Op. 18 No. 4 and works for clarinet and piano by Poulenc and Gershwin complete this enjoyable programme.

Tickets from £12 (free tickets for under-26s)



Sunday 17th May 2020

Coffee Concert: Harp Classics

11.00am, Highnam Court Orangery
With Jean Kelly, harp

Handel Concerto in B flat major for Harp and Strings Op. 4 No. 6
John Thomas Watching the Wheat
Ekaterina Walter-Kühne Fantasia on Eugene Onegin
T O’ Carolan Suite of Irish Airs for Harp
Debussy Danses Sacrée et Profane for Harp and String Quartet

The perfect relaxing Sunday morning – music for harp in the intimate surroundings of Highnam Court Orangery, followed by coffee or sherry and a walk around the beautiful gardens.

Tickets: £32 (children and students £20) – includes a cup of coffee, or a glass of sherry or juice and access to Highnam Court Gardens after the concert

£5 from every ticket will be donated to the Pied Piper Appeal


Chamber Music Titans

4.30pm, Highnam Church

Martin Roscoe, piano
Daniel Storer, double bass

Schubert Quintet for Piano and Strings in A major, D667 ‘Trout’
Beethoven String Quartet in C major Op.59 No. 3

Rounding off the 2020 Festival are two titanic pieces from the chamber music canon – Schubert’s Trout Quintet, followed by Beethoven’s Op. 59 No. 3 Quartet from his Razumovsky cycle.  Martin Roscoe returns to Highnam to join us in bringing Schubert’s iconic piece to life.

Tickets from £12 (free tickets for under-26s) – includes a cup of tea or coffee and a cake before the concert (from 3.30pm).


Saturday 16th May 2020

Festival Masterclasses
10.30 – 12.00pm, Highnam Church
A chance to observe talented young pianists take part in a masterclass led by festival artist Kathryn Stott.

Gloucestershire Young Musician Showcase
1.00pm, Highnam Church
FREE EVENT – A half hour showcase by the winner of the ‘Carducci Audience Prize’ at the Gloucestershire Young Musician Competition 2020


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Directions, Accommodation and Food



For Highnam Church (GL2 8DG): From Gloucester take the A40 towards Ross on Wye. After 2km turn right at the traffic lights onto B4215 (signposted Newent). After 250m turn left (signposted Highnam Community Centre) and drive straight ahead for Church parking.


For Highnam Court (GL2 8DP)

From Gloucester take the A40 towards Ross on Wye.  At Highnam Roundabout (about 1km) past the B4215 turning) take third exit (unsignposted) through iron gates.  Continue up the drive and follow signs for car park.


Bus & Taxi

Stagecoach bus route 32 from Gloucester stops at Highnam Stores (short walk from Highnam Church) in the daytime.  For a taxi back to Gloucester after evening concerts try Martin’s Private Hire on 07508 848989 or City Cars on 01452 330330.



We are always looking for volunteers to join out friendly team of Festival stewards.  Benefits include free access to concerts!  Email carduccitrust@gmail.com to find out more.



Gloucestershire is a wonderful area for a weekend visit.  For more information regarding accommodation in the local area, please contact us for a list of suggestions.



Although there is no pub or restaurant in Highnam, there are good facilities locally at Over Farm Market (shop with a good selection of sandwiches and snacks); the Toby Carvery (on the A40 towards Gloucester); and the Wharf House at Over.  All are less than a 10 minute drive away.

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"a performance of supreme clarity, focus and precision." Gramophone Magazine
"…playing of constant variety, a masterclass in unanimity of musical purpose." The Strad
"...technical rigour, penetrative musical insight and lively yet unified individualism...winning in every sense of the word..." The Irish Times
"...high-octane playing balanced control with devil-may-care spontaneity..." The Guardian