Ripon International Festival
Co-Founder and Artistic Director: Janusz Piotrowicz
Co-Founder and Director: Susan Goldsbrough (pictured below)
President: Sir Derek Jacobi Vice President: Barrie Price
Patrons: The Archbishop of York The Marquess of Zetland Baroness Masham of Ilton Jude Kelly CBE
Ripon International Festival is a project of The World Trust
Reg. Charity No. 1003265 Founder: Janusz Piotrowicz
Trustees: The Rt Hon Baroness Cox – Chairman
Stephanie Bell MA Michael E. D. Brook
Martin P. Clark MA CEng MIET
Honorary Legal Adviser: Adrian Longley OBE
History of the Festival
Ripon International Festival was founded in 1997 by international pianist and conductor, Janusz Piotrowicz and classical music promoter, Susan Goldsbrough. Ripon Cathedral, dating from the 13th Century, is the Festival’s focal point, providing a magnificent setting for orchestral and choral concerts of iconic works conducted by Piotrowicz, whose profound musical insight and formidable energy produces revelatory performances. He has invited the Hallé, Royal Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia, London Mozart Players, Orchestra of Opera North, London Bach Orchestra and Manchester Camerata to perform the great symphonic repertoire of Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert, Shostakovich, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky as well as choral works from Bach to Arvo Pärt, with Leeds Philharmonic Chorus and the Rodolfus Choir.
Outstanding occasions include Miklós Perényi in the Dvorak Cello Concerto with Northern Sinfonia; Beethoven 5/Tchaikovsky 5 with the RPO; Shostakovich 10 with Opera North; Mahler 1 and Shostakovich 5 with the RLPO “it [Shostakovich 5] was given a superb performance … though our lasting memory will be of the sheer power Janusz unleashed”(Yorkshire Post); Bach’s Mass in B minor with the Rodolphus Choir and a thrilling performance of Mozart’s ‘Great’ G minor and Beethoven’s Second Symphony with the London Mozart Players, marking their first-ever visit to Ripon in 2018. The Festival also extends its reach to the Royal Hall, Harrogate where, among other performances, Piotrowicz conducted a searing Tchaikovsky Pathétique with the Hallé in 2011, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (Alexandra Soumm) and Brahms 1 in 2013, a monumental Rachmaninov 2nd Symphony with the Hallé in 2014, and, continuing a long and happy association with Royal Northern Sinfonia, a magnificent performance, with a much enlarged orchestra, of the First Symphony of Sibelius in 2018.
Another major achievement was to secure one of the world’s finest choirs for the 2004 festival. The thirty-eight members of the St. Nikolai Church Choir of the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow – “astonishingly young, but their voices are as old as time” (The Times) – gave a breathtaking performance at Ripon Cathedral of the Rachmaninov Vespers in the year which marked the 400th Anniversary of the granting of the City’s Charter by King James I.
Many stage and literary celebrities have appeared: Sir Derek Jacobi, Geraldine McEwan, Michael Pennington (RSC), Richard Pasco (RSC), Barbara Jefford, Rohan McCullough, Barrie Rutter, Liverpool Poet Adrian Henri, Michael Holroyd, Wendy Cope, Alison Weir, Simon Armitage, Ian McMillan, Alexander McCall Smith, Andrew Motion. Chamber ensembles include the Lindsays, Chilingirian, Wihan and Skampa quartets, the Busch Trio, and other popular events include John Williams guitar, folk star Kathryn Tickell, Japanese Taiko Drummers, puppet theatre, Zulu dance, song and drums, and jazz singer, Clare Teal. The Festival also reaches out into rural areas, staging events in ancient village churches and great houses such as the uniquely preserved moated mediaeval manor, Markenfield Hall.
Over the years the Festival has built a strong following from throughout the UK with visitors from Europe, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and the USA. The part played by local companies and individuals as sponsors and volunteers continues to be a vital factor in its success and we are grateful to them all.