A LONG RUNNING and popular music festival returned to Hereford this week.

The Three Choirs Festival started in the city from Saturday, July 23 and runs until this Saturday, July 30.

It has its origins in the end of the 17th century after visits by the lay clerks of Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester to one another’s cathedrals for joint services and informal singing.

The festival celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2015, and has been interrupted only by two world wars and the recent Covid pandemic.


It is believed to be the oldest continuously running classical music festival in the world.

The centrepiece of the festival is a series of spectacular evening concerts in the cathedral, featuring the Three Choirs Festival Chorus and the Philharmonia Orchestra that have been resident at the festival since 2012), alongside internationally recognised soloists.

Included in this year's line up is internationally renowned classical saxophonist Amy Dickson.

Ms Dickson recently made history by becoming the first saxophonist to win a Classic BRIT Award for Best Breakthrough Artist of the Year in 2016 and has also been nominated twice for a Grammy Award.

This year’s festival features over 50 works from 43 living composers, including headline commission "Voices of Power" on Thursday July 28.

Created by Jessica Walker with music by Luke Styles, it explores the impact women have made with words over the centuries.

Also featured at this year's festival is a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Ralph Vaughan Williams, the Gloucestershire composer who also has close links to Herefordshire.

Highlights include performances of Vaughan Williams’ Te Deum in G by the festival’s own chorus, Silence and Music from I Fagiolini and a selection of folk songs arrangements from Finnish male voice choir Valkia.

Gloucester Cathedral's director of music Adrian Partington said earlier this year about the anniversary: "Every year, it’s a privilege to be conducting in the same buildings, at the same festival, as great composers such as Howells, Elgar and Vaughan Williams have done before, but it is particularly special as we mark this significant anniversary."