Ripon International Festival

Co-Founder and Artistic Director: Janusz Piotrowicz 

Co-Founder, Director & Administrator: 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 ofThe World Trust
Reg. Charity No. 1003265 Founder: Janusz Piotrowicz


Trustees:   The Rt Hon Baroness Cox – Chairman

Stephanie Bell MA Michael E. D. Brook  Martin Clark MEng         Reverend Paul Spurgeon

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


The inaugural festival took place in September 1998. The programme included a  Symphony Concert by Manchester Camerata, the world-famous Lindsay Quartet, the Yorkshire Building Society Band – reigning European Champions,  recitals, poetry and puppetry. The Festival made an immediate impact on the region and drew unanimous appreciation for its quality and variety.


Ripon Cathedral is its focal point, providing a magnificent setting, warm ambience and kind acoustic. Its cornerstones are the orchestral concerts conducted by Janusz Piotrowicz, whose profound musical insight and energy produces revelatory performances. He has invited some of the finest orchestras in the country – the Halle, Royal Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Opera North, London Mozart Players, London Bach Orchestra and others –  to perform the great symphonic repertoire of Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert, Sibelius, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky as well as choral works from Bach to Arvo Pärt, with choral contributions from Leeds Philharmonic Chorus and the Rodolfus Choir. Performances of particular note include Miklos Perenyi in the Dvorak Cello Concerto with Northern Sinfonia; 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,  a searing Tchaikovsky Pathétique with the Hallé in 2011, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (Alexandra Soumm) and Brahms 1 at the Royal Hall in 2013, a monumental Rachmaninov 2nd Symphony with the Halle at the Royal Hall in 2014, Beethoven’s Eroica with the LMP in 2015, Tchaikovsky’s Fifth (2017) and Sibelius 1 (2018)  with Royal Northern Sinfonia.


Another major achievement was to secure one of the finest choirs in Europe 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 of the Rachmaninov Vespers in the year which marked the 400th Anniversary of the granting of the City’s Charter by King James I.


A stream of stage and literary celebrities has also run through the programme: Sir Derek Jacobi, Geraldine McEwan, Michael Pennington, Richard Pasco, Barbara Jefford, Rohan McCullough, Barrie Rutter, Liverpool Poet Adrian Henri, Michael Holroyd, Wendy Cope, Alison Weir, Simon Armitage,  Ian McMillan, Nicholas Parsons, Alexander McCall Smith, Andrew Motion. Other popular events have included John Williams guitar, Japanese Taiko drummers, puppet theatre, Zulu dance, song and drums, jazz and folk concerts.


The Festival also reaches out into rural areas, staging events in ancient village churches and great houses up to twenty miles distant, such as St. Mary’s Nun Monkton, one of Yorkshire’s architectural jewels, and Markenfield Hall, the superbly restored moated mediaeval manor.


Over the years the Festival has steadily developed the scope of its programme and built a strong following from throughout the UK with visitors from Europe, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and the USA. Spring concerts take place in alternate years,  attracting capacity audiences. 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.  

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