Ludlow English Song Weekend runs from tomorrow until Sunday, a unique celebration of music, poetry, music, culture and ideas, which has taken place in Ludlow since 2001.

As well as the concerts featuring the work of a wide range of poets and composers working in the English language, the Weekend includes talks and discussions, a masterclass, a special film screening introduced by the director, and a competition for young composers.

Artistic director, the pianist, writer and broadcaster Iain Burnside, says: “The April Weekend in Ludlow is one of the high points of my year. It’s a place I love, and the perfect festival town: compact, historic, beautiful, friendly. This year’s artists bring a new dimension to the Weekend: we’re presenting a group of hugely gifted young singers, all bursting through into major careers. They're excited to be singing the repertoire I’ve chosen for them - and I can’t wait to play for them. Having BBC Radio 3 with us is the icing on the cake. ."

The theme for this year’s festival is looking to the future, and we embrace this with a unique collaboration with English National Opera and their ENO Harewood Artists Programme. The programme enables 13 exceptionally talented British and British-trained singers to perform with English National Opera while receiving specialist coaching, support and guidance for 2-3 years. We welcome seven of these outstanding young singers to Ludlow: David Ireland (bass baritone), Soraya Mafi (soprano), William Morgan (tenor), Alex Otterburn (baritone), Rowan Pierce (soprano), Elgan Llŷr Thomas (tenor) and David Webb (tenor).

St Laurence’s Church, the largest parish church in Shropshire, is the venue at the heart of the Weekend, with the first concert tomorrow at 7pm with three ENO Harewood Artists, Rowan Pierce, David Ireland and Elgan Llŷr Thomas; artistic director and pianist Iain Burnside; and violinist Michael Foyle. The programme includes Housman settings by Vaughan Williams, Moeran, Janet Hamilton and Muriel Herbert, together with Finzi’s I said to Love, and the world premiere of a new commission from Ludlow English Song Weekend by composer Alex Woolf, a member of last year's young composer’s workshop.

A late night film follows at 9.15pm on Friday, in the Ludlow Assembly Rooms with a showing of O Though Transcendent: the Life of Ralph Vaughan Williams with an introduction from the director, Tony Palmer in person.

Saturday begins with an introduction to the weekend by Katy Hamilton, who hosts two panel discussions over the weekend.

Three concerts on Saturday feature pianist Iain Burnside, William Morgan, Alex Otterburn and violinist Michael Foyle at 11.30am; Bath Camerata make their LESW debut under the direction of Benjamin Goodson at 2.30pm with Iain Burnside and Alex Otterburn in a programme of works by English composers old and new; and at 8pm RPS Award-winning guitarist Sean Shibe and ENO Harewood Artists Soraya Mafi, William Morgan and Elgan Llŷr Thomas perform Britten’s Songs from the Chinese, Tippett’s Songs for Achilles and works by Dowland, Malcolm Arnold and Nicholas Maw.

Artistic Director Iain Burnside, Soraya Mafi, Alex Otterburn and David Webb give the final concert of the weekend at 3pm on Sunday with contrasting song-settings of 17th century texts.

Festival Evensong in the magnificent surroundings of St Laurence’s sung by the Choir of St Laurence under the direction of Shaun Ward, director of music, brings the Weekend to a close at 5pm.

For full programme details, visit