Music in the Round


May Festival 2016 "Beethoven Revisited"

9th Feb 2016 11:47
May Festival 2016

Music in the Round announces its annual May Festival 2016, now into its 32nd year, with 32 events and performances of live classical music scheduled to take place in Sheffield over just 9 days. Dedicated to Music in the Round’s founder Peter Cropper who died suddenly last year, the Festival celebrates the works of Beethoven, a composer who Peter believed had “more to say about life in his chamber music than any other composer” and the inspiration for the Lindsay String Quartet’s very first festival of chamber music in Sheffield in 1984.

The Beethoven Revisited Festival sees Music in the Round’s resident Ensemble 360 appear in a marathon 16 concerts over the course of the 9 day festival. They open the festival on Friday 6 May and close it on Saturday 14 May, and their concerts range from intimate duos, trios and quartets through to grand septets and octets that showcase their amazing energy and chemistry.

The Festival also includes drama infused with classical music on 7 May, with Sheffield-raised playwright Laura Wade’s play for voices, Kreutzer vs Kreutzer, which recently earnedgreat critical acclaim at London’s Globe Theatre. Presented in partnership with Sheffield Theatres, this new production combines performances of Beethoven and Janáček’s Kreutzer Sonatas with Leo Tolstoy’s searing tale of a conversation on a train, in which a man confesses to killing his wife while in a state of obsessively jealous rage.

Internationally renowned baritone Roderick Williams, and Music in the Round’s newly appointed Singer-in-Residence,performs for the first time alongside Ensemble 360 on 8 May. Together they present a major new work by award-winning composer Howard Skempton, with words based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic tale of tragedy and salvation, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.


This year, Music in the Round are thrilled to welcome the brilliantly talented jazz pianist, composer, arranger and band leader, Julian Joseph on 13 May. Performing in the Crucible Theatre’s Studio, audiences can expect an intimate and completely unique jazz-infused rendition of one of Beethoven’s finest works, his String Quartet in A minor Op.132. More improvisation features in a concert for all ages on 7 May, presented by gifted improvising pianist Harry the Piano, whose spontaneous medleys have been known to weave effortlessly between James Bond and Harry Potter to Shostakovich via West Side Story.

The Newcastle-based Baroque and early music group, the Avison Ensemble celebrate some of Beethoven’s most important influences on 10 May. Further highlights include concerts with the Vertavo String Quartet from Norway, who return to Sheffield 10 years on from their festival debut.

Pre- and post-concert talks include appearances by the Classic FM broadcaster and Beethoven expert John Suchet, and music historian Professor William Drabkin. There are also workshops and performances for musicians of all ages and abilities, including a music composition workshop with Sheffield-based composers’ collective Platform 4 as part of Sheffield’s 2016 Year of Making.


Music in the Round Artistic Director, Angus Smith comments:

“Beethoven was an extraordinary man – his imagination, his invention and his personality all helped shape the remarkable catalogue of music that he composed. And what music it is! It will be an absolute pleasure to savour so much of his work across the course of the Festival, as we present not just a comprehensive survey of Beethoven’s music but a programme which also embraces a wonderful array of pieces by numerous other composers whose lives have been touched by Beethoven.”

Families can enjoy a number of free events and performances over the Festival. On Saturday 7 May, players from brass bands across the region come together to fill Tudor Square and perform Brilliant Brass with Beethoven. On Saturday 14 May, Why Beethoven Threw the Stew is an equally entertaining family concert packed with well-known tunes, surprising facts and witty anecdotes that bring Beethoven and his music to life.

Younger children will enjoy Music Box for ages 2-4 on 9 May. These delightful workshops, give small children the chance to sing and move to live music, play percussion instruments and make puppets, masks and play musical statues! For those with under 2s, there’s Music Box for Babies, on 10May – a rare chance to enjoy a live classical music concert together with the freedom for babies to be fed, rocked or allowed to crawl around.

For the Festival’s final day, audiences can even enjoy The Great Festival Bake-Hoven Event in Tudor Square. Enthusiastic bakers are invited to enter the cake competition, judged by Classic FM presenter John Suchet and Sheffield Newspapers journalist Julia Armstrong. The cakes, biscuits and sweet treats will all be on sale in aid of the Lindsay Foundation, the charity established by Music in the Round’s founder Peter Cropper to support the next generation of musicians.

General booking for Music in the Round’s Beethoven Revisited festival opens on Saturday 16 January at 10am. Tickets cost £5 - £17.50, with discounts for booking 5 or more concerts.

Book in person at Sheffield Theatres box office, online at or by calling 0114 249 6000.

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