Concerts at Pyrton was established by soprano Sophie Bevan and composer/conductor/pianist Ryan Wigglesworth in August 2020 with the aim of making world class performances of classical music accessible to as wide an audience as possible. All concerts take place in the beautiful setting of St Mary’s Church, Pyrton.

As a result of the global coronavirus pandemic the arts world is now entering a prolonged period of recalibration. A new cultural landscape will take time to emerge and the process will no doubt be difficult and painful. But it will come with opportunities. This, we believe, is the moment to explore how local artists can more fully engage with and benefit the communities within which they reside. And this is the moment for those communities to take “ownership” of such enterprises – to become directly involved, to invest and take pride in what can be achieved with a shared vision and a shared sense of endeavour.

Smaller scale, locally rooted arts festivals are nothing new, and to have seen so many spring up and flourish over the past couple of decades has been extremely heartening. Given the steady decline of arts education within our schools (where it exists at all), such organisations now have a more crucial role than ever. So, with this firmly in mind we begin our series at Pyrton. We hope that it will continue to benefit the community far beyond these initial concerts and well into the future. But in order to achieve this we need your help and support.

Our concert series will feature many of the country’s finest artists as well as young, up-and-coming musicians performing chamber music, song and choral music. Alongside this, we will mount occasional special performances of larger scale repertoire, both orchestral and choral. Details of events for the remainder of 2020 will be made available shortly.

We look forward very much to welcoming you to St Mary’s.

Ryan Wigglesworth has established himself as one of the foremost composer-conductors of his generation. He was Principal Guest Conductor of the Hallé Orchestra from 2015 to 2018 and Composer in Residence at English National Opera. He held the Daniel R. Lewis Composer Fellowship with the Cleveland Orchestra for the two seasons 2013/15 and 14/15 and was Composer-in-Residence at the 2018 Grafenegg Festival. As a conductor he is much sought after in repertoire ranging from the baroque to the present day.

Recent opera engagements include Birtwistle’s The Minotaur for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Cosí fan tutte, Carmen and Glanert’s Caligula for ENO, Oliver Knussen’s double bill and Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Aldeburgh Festival, and a widely acclaimed performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s The Silver Tassie with the BBC Symphony at the Barbican.

Recent concerts include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, DSO Berlin, Bergen Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales at the BBC Proms. Forthcoming engagements sees debut visits to the Finnish Radio Symphony, Swedish Radio Symphony, RSO Vienna, Tokyo, Melbourne and Seattle symphony orchestras, BBC Philharmonic, Frankfurt Opera for The Cunning Little Vixen, as well as a return to the Hallé and the BBC Proms with the Britten Sinfonia.

One of the leading composers of his day, his first opera, The Winter’s Tale, premiered at ENO in February 2017 in a production directed by Rory Kinnear and conducted by the composer. Other recent works include commissions from the Royal Concertgebouw and Cleveland orchestras, BBC Symphony (BBC Proms), song cycles for Sophie Bevan (Wigmore Hall/Grafenegg) and Mark Padmore (Aldeburgh Festival/Wigmore Hall). Further performances of his works have been directed by, amongst others, Sir Andrew Davis, Edward Gardner, Pablo Heras-Casado, Vladimir Jurowski, Oliver Knussen, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Franz Welser-Möst. Current projects include a song cycle for Roderick Williams (Barbican), and a large-scale work for chorus and orchestra.

Born in Yorkshire, he studied at New College, Oxford and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Between 2007-9 he was a Lecturer at Cambridge University where he was also a Fellow of Corpus Christi College. In January 2019 he took up the position of Sir Richard Rodney Bennett Professor at the Royal Academy of Music.

Photo: Zcva Zcva/BBC/Chris Christodoulou

Sophie Bevan MBE studied at The Royal College of Music where she was awarded the Queen Mother Rose Bowl Award for excelling. She was the recipient of the 2010 Critics’ Circle award for Exceptional Young Talent, The Times Breakthrough Award at the 2012 South Bank Sky Arts Awards and the Young Singer award at the 2013 inaugural International Opera Awards.

Her operatic roles include, most recently, Ilia Idomeneo and Sophie Der Rosenkavalier, Susanna Le nozze di Figaro and Pamina Die Zauberflöte at the Royal Opera House, title role The Cunning Little Vixen for WNO, Hermione in Ryan Wigglesworth’s The Winter’s Tale for ENO, Melisande Pelleas et Melisande for Dresden SemperOper, Freia Das Rheingold at Teatro Real, Madrid and Governess The Turn of the Screw for Garsington Opera. She made her debut at Glyndebourne Festival Opera as Michal Saul and at the Salzburg Festival and Metropolitan Opera as Beatriz in Thomas Adès’ The Exterminating Angel.

Sophie performs regularly with conductors such as Elder, Gardner, Nelsons, Jurowski, Christophers, Curnyn and Bicket. Recent performances include Strauss’s Four Last Songs with the Philharmonia at the RFH, Haydn’s The Seasons, Ryan Wigglesworth’s Augenlieder with the LPO, and Britten’s Les Illuminations with the BBC Phil. She has made appearances as a recitalist both on the concert platform and on disc with pianists including Julius Drake, Malcolm Martineau and Graham Johnson at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam and The Wigmore Hall in London.

Sophie was awarded an MBE for services to music in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2019.

Photo: Sussie Ahlburg