A piano festival in the Colne Valley will star some of the best musicians in the north of England and feature some of poet Simon Armitage’s poems set to music.

The annual &Piano Music Festival, based in Slaithwaite, will feature exceptional performers based in the north of England, including musicians from Opera North, West End musical director Rosalind Jones and internationally acclaimed soprano Sarah Fox.

It will also feature the world premiere of a new collection of songs by emerging composer Alice Beckwith, originally from Halifax, setting poems by Huddersfield-born Poet Laureate Simon Armitage (pictured below) to music.

The festival runs from May 18 to May 25 and marks the centenary of the birth of British composer and pianist Madeleine Dring (1923-1977), exploring her music for bassoon, oboe and voice in its instrumental and song events.

The festival’s musical theatre event on May 18 celebrates women working in the industry with a programme of iconic songs for female roles, alongside songs written by female musical theatre composers.

Before &Piano 2024’s main week of events, the festival presents an alternative classical evening at Dark Woods Coffee between Slaithwaite and Marsden after the success of its first event last year, featuring rising star baritone Armand Rabot who will be a young artist at the prestigious Salzburg Festival this summer. This will be on Saturday, April 27.

The &Piano 2024 family event on May 18 will feature the Mystery of the Golden Yorkshire Puddings which takes families with young children on a detective adventure using song and instrumental music to tell the story.

On Tuesday, May 21 the festival will be at the Attic Theatre at the Lawrence Batley Theatre for its Performance Pub event which gives musicians of all backgrounds and musical abilities the opportunity to perform as part of the festival in a relaxed and supportive environment.

The festival also continues to support the next generation of musicians with its Young Musicians Showcase on Thursday, May 23 at St James’ Church, Slaithwaite, where it invites eight talented singers and instrumentalists currently studying and living in Kirklees and Calderdale to each perform a short programme of music.

The festival’s artistic director, Huddersfield-based pianist Chris Pulleyn, says: “I’m really delighted that &Piano continues to go from strength to strength, working to introduce, promote and celebrate classical music across Huddersfield, Halifax and the surrounding areas.

“We invite some of the north’s finest musicians to perform and share their passion for amazing, powerful music and this year is no exception.

“We’ve got an incredible line-up of exceptional musicians at this festival who have performed all over the world, and I’m so excited we’ll be presenting a brand new collection of songs that have never been performed before.

“Classical music is such an exciting and interesting genre of music and you’ll definitely experience that by coming along to any of our events.”

 The yearly festival, established by Chris in 2018, celebrates and introduces people to piano music in all its forms and features exciting professional artists with a connection to the north of England.

The festival presents relaxed and informal concerts where performers introduce and chat about the music before it’s performed with audiences.

&Piano 2024 is supported by Arts Council England, the Foyle Foundation, One Community Trust, the Vaughan Williams Foundation and One17 Design Trust.

For more information go to its website www.andpiano.co.uk

Full details about all of the 2024 Events can be found here:


Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.

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