Past Festivals

History of the Budleigh Music Festival

There have been annual music festivals in the town since 2005 when 25 residents, led by Roger and Brenda Bowen, decided to form a committee to decide the format and frequency of concerts. Many of this original body had retired here from cities and towns where cultural life flowed. They had been missing the buzz and excitement of live classical music and other cultural activities often readily available on their doorstep. Could the small town of Budleigh sustain a festival of 8 or 9 full classical music evening concerts and the expense of employing the artists to deliver such programmes? The answer has been emphatically positive with most concerts fully sold out in the 2015 Series. The 2016 Budleigh Music Festival programme, again with 8 ambitious evening concerts and a daily free-entry lunchtime concert, is now ready for delivery in July.

Past Festivals

The twelfth Festival

The success of the twelfth festival is assured.

In previous years such has been the support of the active Friends, the local general public and ever-increasing visitors from near and far, that it is now possible to ensure that the artistic content will maintain and even improve upon the standards set in previous years.

In the first few festivals the initial aim was to deliver a great variety of performance. There were 2 daily concerts, folk music at Otterton Mill, the visits of the Imperial College Opera students, talks, a river trip, two garden parties and art exhibitions over 8 days. Since then growth has become more specialised with the Literary and Jazz Festivals separating to go their own ways. This allowed the classical music content to develop in scope.

Past Festivals

Distinguished Artists

Many distinguished artists have visited Budleigh since 2005.
Just look at this list!

Pianists include:
Wu Qian, Richard Rodney-Bennett, Mark Bebbington, Pascale & Amie Rogé, Gottlieb Wallisch, Alexandra Dariescu, Polina Leschenko, Anna Tilbrook, Yuanfan Yang
Kurt Nikkanen, Hugo Ticciati, Tamsin Waley-Cohen
Viola player:
Sarah-Jane Bradley
Xue-fei Yang, Craig Ogden
Cellists: Raphael Wallfisch, Natalie Clein, Laura van der Heijden
Flautist: Judith Hall
Clarinettists: Kevin Hurst, Emma Johnson
Bassoonist: Graham Salvage
Recorder: John Turner, Piers Adams (Red Priest)
Singers: Lesley-Jane Rogers, Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, Nicholas Clapton, Thomas Hobbs, James Gilchrist, Jeremy Huw Williams, Clara Mouriz, Susana Gaspar, Roderick Williams
Speakers: Richard Baker, Katie Derham
String Quartets: Barbirolli, Henschel, Chilingirian, Piatti, Carducci
Ensembles: Florilegium, Honeymead, Pleyel, Dufay Collective, Schubert Ensemble.
Choirs: London Adventist Chorale, King’s Singers, Cardiff Polyphonic, Exeter Festival Chorus, Voces8.
Orchestras: The Orchestra of St. Paul's, conductor Ben Palmer; and  The Budleigh Festival Orchestra, conductor Nicholas Marshall, which continues to be a central event of every Festival.
Opera: From 2006 to 2012, through cooperation with the New Devon Opera Company we staged full performances - including the great romantic operas of Verdi and Puccini. In the 2015 Festival the re-formed Devon Opera company provided a gala evening of opera favourites.

Past Festivals

Lunchtime Concerts

No description of previous events is complete without mentioning a highlight of the weeklong festival period.

It was one of our original undertakings that we should present local talented performers to audiences that maybe had only 45 minutes to spare during their lunch break. We have gone further than this. The standards of music making have steadily increased to the point where professional, semi-professional and amateur artists of all ages have presented concerts to appreciative audiences. Full houses at 12noon have become one of our most satisfying achievements.