AUTUMN in Malvern has been an exquisite jewel in the cultural calendar since 1989.

Founder Peter Smith wanted to contrast English music and art with that of a different nation and has followed the theme for the mix of music and words, visual art and performance ever since.

It's a mix that has paid off too for, while other more high-profile events have come and gone, this festival - which is largely self-funded - has continued annually.

In 1991, when the contrasted cultures were English and Russian, Oleg Prokofiev, the artist son of the composer Sergei Prokofiev, came to Malvern with an exhibition of his sculptures and paintings.

He and his wife fell in love with the town, returned frequently and he became the festival's patron.

So that's, in part, why this year's festival has deserted its traditional theme to celebrate the works of Prokofiev in the 50th anniversary of his death.

Oleg's work will also be on display and his poetry will be heard, contrasted with his father's violin music.

The programme also celebrates J S Bach's chamber music, with appearances by Russian violinist Yuri Kalnits, the Feinstein Ensemble, the Martinu String Quarter and the Aldwyn Voices.

There will be talks on the Dymock poets, on Elgar's friend Troyte Griffith and a showing of Eisenstein's legendary film Alexander Nevsky, with music by Prokofiev.

The work of the great contemporary artist of the Malverns, David Prentice, will be on show at the Cowleigh allery, Ruyssian artists at the Lyttleton House Gallery and there's a food festival too. The festival starts on Saturday until October 12. Box office: 01684 892277.