2021 Preview

Save the Dates! Preliminary Programme for the 61st Little Missenden Festival (8-17 October 2021)

We’re delighted to present a preliminary sketch of this year’s Little Missenden events so you can put dates in your diaries. Most artists from last year’s postponed Festival have agreed to perform this October. We (and they) look forward to bringing you ten days of real live music and talks after last year’s musical drought.

We will continue to update this preview with more information as it becomes available, and hope to announce the full Festival programme in early August, along with any Covid-related safety information. Booking will open later in August. Meanwhile check for updates here and keep in touch through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or email us if you have any questions.  

Friday 8th October, 4pm and 8pm: Imogen Cooper

Dame Imogen Cooper, one of the finest interpreters of the Classical and Romantic repertoire, will play Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, his last major piano composition and, in Alfred Brendel’s opinion, "the greatest of all piano works". 


Saturday 9th October, 3:00pm: Ted Hughes and Children’s Poetry - Carol Hughes and Little Missenden children

In 1968 we commissioned Ted Hughes, one of our greatest poets, to write five autumn poems for the children of Little Missenden School to chant at Harvest Festival. These poems and Ted’s other writing for children will be read and discussed in a session leading up to this evening’s recital. The poet’s wife Carol Hughes will take part, with some of today’s Little Missenden children.


Saturday 9th October, 8:00pm: Elizabeth Atherton (soprano), Dominic Sedgwick (baritone), Iain Burnside (piano)

To celebrate our Ted Hughes poems we commissioned composer Julian Philips to set them as songs (with a few choruses for child singers). In this recital they’re premiered with other autumn songs by composers including Schubert, Britten, Elgar, Fauré and Finzi. We’ve assembled ideal performers – acclaimed pianist Iain Burnside, and two young star singers, soprano Elizabeth Atherton and baritone Dominic Sedgwick.

Sunday 10th October, 3:00pm: Elizabeth Kenny (lute), Miriam Allan (soprano)

Elizabeth Kenny, one of Europe's leading lute players, and Miriam Allan, recently one of only four choristers at Prince Philip’s funeral, present a programme of music associated with the meeting of Henry VIII and Francis I at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520. 

Tuesday 12th October, 8:00pm: Ligeti Quartet

The Ligeti Quartet has been at the forefront of modern and contemporary music since their formation in 2010. Their programme will include Bartók’s 5th String Quartet 

Wednesday 13th October, 5pm and 8pm: Rachel Podger

Rachel Podger, one of our finest early music violinists, will play works by Bach, Biber and Tartini

Thursday 14th October, 8:00pm: Stephen Upshaw (viola), Sam Armstrong (piano)

Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata, a masterpiece and his last completed work, is the main item in a programme which also features works by Errollyn Wallen and Rebecca Clarke.

Friday 15th October, 8:00pm: Joglaresa

Festival favourites Joglaresa perform songs to the Virgin Mary from medieval Spain, including some of the Cantigas de Santa Maria, the great 13th century collection, written for (or by) Alfonso X of Castile.

Saturday 16th October, 3:00pm: Dürer’s Journeys: Travels of a Renaissance Artist

Curator Dr Imogen Tedbury gives us an unmissable illustrated preview of this autumn’s major National Gallery Dürer exhibition.

Saturday 16th October, 8:00pm: Zoe Rahman Trio: Zoe Rahman (piano), Gene Calderazzo (drums), Alec Dankworth (bass).

Our jazz evening features Zoe Rahman, a vibrant and highly individual pianist and composer whose style is deeply rooted in jazz while reflecting her classical background, British/Bengali heritage and her very broad musical taste.

Sunday 17th October, 3:00pm: Siglo de Oro
directed by Patrick Allies

Siglo de Oro present music on Marian themes by Hildegard, Josquin, Praetorius and John Tavener.

Friday 10th December, 8:00pm: The Mellstock Band

Our Christmas concert, Christmas Frolics, is a gleeful celebration of dance, drink and general misbehaviour from the Mellstock Band in their second Festival visit.