Wooler Arts Summer Concerts 2024

Wooler Arts Summer Concerts 2024

The 2023 season was a resounding success with encouragingly large audiences enjoying music-making of the highest quality by artists of the international status. Questionnaires returned by audience members testify to this, and also about the thrill of experiencing a wide range of live music. Each concert proved to be very special and the involvement of children from the Middle School who had created their own graphic musical scores which the Aglica Trio interpreted with such imagination was a real highlight of the season.

In my website introduction to the 2023 concerts I asked what it was about the power of music and the experience of hearing live music that never ceases to move us. I suggested that the expression of feeling through musical sounds echoes human emotions, embodies dreams, can engage us in a visionary or spiritual way. Music can touch on the divine, and at the other extreme can be physically and dramatically exciting.

This is our vision, to bring to our community in North Northumberland musical performances that have the power to embrace all these things.

Some comments about the 2023 season of concerts:

"What a privilege to have such wonder in Wooler."

"An absolute treat - thank you!"

"Excellent concert. I was reduced to tears."

"Very exciting - the involvement with the Middle School children visualising artworks for the trio to interpret/improvise is a wonderful departure, much appreciated."

"Superb - we have thoroughly enjoyed the whole series and look forward to 2024!"

All concerts take place in St Mary’s Church, Wooler.

If ticket-holders would like to dine at Ad Gefrin before any of the concerts, there is a 10% discount. Simply show your tickets, but booking is essential. 


John Casken

Artistic Director
Wooler Arts Summer Concerts

John Casken
Wooler Arts St Marys Church Wooler

Some comments following our opening concert by Joyful Company of Singers

Great singing and extraordinary choir tone and timbre.

I think we are immensely fortunate to have such quality music so locally. I greatly approve of the variety.

Really marvellous! We are so lucky - wonderful selections.

Absolutely fabulous concert. Great programme brilliantly delivered.

Fabulous! I'm a singer but would struggle to sing some of those tricky things! Lovely Northumbrian sea theme.


Joyful Company of Singers

Far from Land

Vaughan Williams             

The Dark-Eyed Sailor

The Springtime of the Year

Just as the Tide Was Flowing

The Lover's Ghost

Judith Bingham                 

The Drowned Lovers

Charles Villiers Stanford   

The Blue Bird

Paul Reade                          

St Brendan and the Fishes

John Casken

Uncertain Sea

Jaako Mantyjarvi                 

Canticum Calamatis Maritimae

John Casken                         

Caedmon's Hymn

Floore of Allegories (first performance)

Charles Villiers Stanford     


Trad. arr. W.G.Whittaker     

The Water of Tyne

Bonny at Morn


Bobby Shaftoe

Trad. arr. Derek Hobbs         

Maa Bonny Lad

Dance ti thy Daddy


This highly-regarded London choir brings an imaginative programme of pieces relating to the sea and with a particular North-East theme. They will include music by Vaughan Williams, Stanford, Judith Bingham, John Casken, Paul Reade, Jaako Mantyjarvi, and arrangements of North-East folksongs by W.G. Whittaker and Derek Hobbs.

The Joyful Company will also be singing the following evening, Sunday 5th May in St Paul's RC Church, Alnwick, at 7.00pm where they will be joined by local poet Katrina Porteous in a complementary programme that features life's transitions and voyages of many kinds.

For further details and booking links: www.jcos.co.uk/performances


Slide Action - trombone quartet

Benny Vernon, Huw Evans, Jamie Tweed, Josh Cirtina

New Trombone Voices

Benjamin Britten arr. Cirtina         Prelude from Owen Wingrave
Ryan Latimer (b.1990)         C. Exigua
Mikolaj Zieliński (1550-1615)         Vox in Rama
Laura Jurd (b.1990)         Swamped
Matthew Locke (1622-1677)         Flatt Consort
Emily Hall (b.1978)         Close Palms
Francis Poulenc arr. Cirtina         Quatre Prieres de St. F. d'Assise
Zoltan Kodaly         Esti Dal
Claude Debussy         Trois Chansona
Saskia Apon (b.1957)         First Quartet
Piazzola arrangement (tbc)         

The multi-award winning quartet of young trombonists, Slide Action, comes with an exciting programme of early music, their own arrangements of Britten, Kodaly, Poulenc and Debussy, together with brand new pieces that they have commissioned.



What an outstanding concert this was. Slide Action's workshops at Glendale Middle School the day before were really exciting. In the Saturday evening concert a number of children played Wooler Arts' new Junk Orchestra alongside the trombonists in a new piece they had created together. It was mesmerising.

Some comments from members of the audience:

Wandering journey for the senses

It is a privilege to hear music of such quality and variety in Wooler.

Very creative concert, stretched my mind!

Absolutely blown away by 'Ting' (the new piece created by the children) -well done those young people and their teachers. The trombone quartet were excellent.

Loved the experience of being inside the group when they were spread around the church - felt immersive.

Good rapport between the band members.....Loved the 'Ting' piece and so good to see community involvement. Loved the second half - all great choices and the 4-part Kodaly!

A real treat to hear concert brass in this fabulous acoustic. MORE PLEASE. The Junk Orchestra (in Ting) was fantastic - well received and brilliantly executed. Kodaly was wonderful. It was ALL great. Loved it.


Slide Action Trombone Quartet


Quatuor Danel

Schubert's Greatest Masterpiece

Marc Danel, Gilles Millet         violins
Vlad Bogdanos         viola
Yovan Markovitch         cello
Petr Prause         cello
Janáček         String Quartet No.1 ('Kreutzer Sonata')
Casken         Inevitable Rifts I/II
Schubert         String Quintet in C, D.956

An internationally renowned string quartet based in Paris, the Danels are joined by Petr Prause to bring us Schubert's greatest masterpiece, his String Quintet in C, D. 956. Their concert also includes John Casken's string quintet Inevitable Rifts (now with a new, additional second movement). Passion and drama run throughout this concert and the Danels open with Janáček's wonderful First String Quartet 'Kreutzer Sonata' based on Tolstoy's novella of the same name.

Praised for their beauty of sound as well as their unique interpretations of the classics, the Danel's concert is certainly a date for your diary.

We were all immensely privileged to be able to listen to playing of such refined quality. It was a performance worthy of any international stage and in the acoustic of St Mary's Church it sounded glorious. The musicianship of all the players, their technical brilliance and communication of the emotional worlds of all the works was truly astonishing. Rarely has an audience been so spell-bound. The eruption of applause at the end of the Schubert and the immediate and spontaneous standing ovation were more than deserved.

Here are some comments from members of the audience:

The Schubert was magnificent!

Brilliant - Thank you!

Just Great - excellent! Thank you for bringing such high-quality musicians to Wooler.

Marvellous - great to hear new composition...performed by a marvellous group of musicians.

What an absolute JOY! Thank you!!

A wonderful performance. The series so far has been varied and altogether enjoyable.

Danel Quartet


Nigel Clayton and Imma Setiadi

Piano Four Hands

Sea, Sky and Spain

España         Chabrier
Debussy arr. Ravel         Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
Debussy         La Mer
Holst         The Planets

This is a truly unique programme of orchestral music arranged for four hands on one piano giving us the opportunity to hear popular masterpieces by Debussy and Holst in a completely new way. How the orchestral textures translate to the medium of piano duet will be fascinating as well as revealing new aspects of textural details through the sonority of the piano.

SUNDAY 23 June 3.00 PM

Matt Carmichael

Scottish Jazz, Folk Roots and Landscape

Matt Carmichael         saxophone
Fergus McCreadie         piano
Charlie Stewart         fiddle

Matt Carmichael, Scottish saxophonist and composer, is reaching a wide global audience with his powerful blend of jazz and folk music. Matt was a finalist in the BBC's Young Jazz Musician of the Year in 2020 and he brings award-winning collaborators, Fergus McCreadie and Charlie Stewart to Wooler. Influenced by Scottish landscape and coastlines as well as its vernacular folk music, Matt's innovative voice in Glasgow's burgeoning jazz scene promise a special conclusion to our 2024 series.


Summer concert
Summer concerts Jazz2

Our Previous Summer Concerts

Wooler Arts Summer Concerts 2023

Wooler Arts Summer Concerts 2023

After a very successful 2022 season we can now look forward to our 2023 concerts.

What is it about the power of music and the experience of hearing it live that never ceases to move us? Music is about expressing feeling through sound, through musical sound: it can echo human emotions, embody dreams, be visionary or spiritual, or physically exciting and dramatic. And, we all have our favourite songs and tunes which, with great chords and accompaniment, become unforgettable companions. After the Solem Quartet’s concert, one member of the audience said……”Well, it was quite serious, but I was moved elsewhere.” What a fantastic reaction, summing up the power of music to transport us to another place.

It is my intention to bring you the best musicians in programmes that are interesting and a little out of the ordinary. The level of performance of our 2022 artists was truly international and their concerts would not have been unusual in venues in major cities across the world. And here they were, playing for us in Wooler!

The 2023 season of Summer Concerts promises four more exciting concerts of the same high standard. The range of music is wide, from the Baroque period to contemporary music and taking in a range of styles that include jazz, gypsy and folk along the way. All concerts take place in St Mary’s Church, Wooler.


John Casken

Artistic Director
Wooler Arts Summer Concerts

John Casken
Wooler Arts St Marys Church Wooler

Full 2023 Concert Programme


Mishka Rushdie Momen (piano)

Beethoven         Sonata in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No.2
        (Moonlight Sonata)
Brett Dean         Prelude and Chorale
Bach         Preludes and Fugues: C major; B flat minor
        (Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1); F major (Book 2)
Rameau         Les tendres plaints; Les Cyclopes (Suite in D)
        Le rappel des oiseaux; Rigaudons I, II and Double;
        La villageoise (Suite in E)
Ravel         Prelude; Forlane (Le Tombeau de Couperin)
        Oiseaux tristes; Alborada del gracioso (Miroirs)
Schubert         Sonata in D major, D.850

This is a welcome return of a remarkable young pianist who created a sensation when she played in Wooler in September 2021. Her programme is an interesting set of pairings. Mishka begins with Beethoven’s famous Moonlight Sonata and ends her recital with Schubert’s late, great D major Sonata D.850. In between she pairs Preludes and Fugues by JS Bach with Brett Dean’s Bach-inspired Prelude and Chorale,  and follows Rameau’s Suites in D major and E minor with music from Ravel’s Miroirs  and Le Tombeau de Couperin.

Mishka Rushdie Momen was the Times Arts Critics’ chosen nominee in the field of classical music for their 2021 Breakthrough Award, given by Sky Arts and the South Bank Show, who profiled her for an episode of the programme broadcast in July that year. She appears in recitals and concerto performances worldwide, and Sir András Schiff has presented her in recitals in Zurich Tonhalle, 92Y in New York City, deSingel Antwerp, and other venues across Europe.


“Mishka Rushdie Momen plays the piano extraordinarily well, but it is the purity and depth of musical feeling that impress me most. She has the rare ability to communicate the essential meaning of whatever she plays.”

Richard Goode


Mishka Rushdie Momen Wooler Arts 2023 Summer Concerts


Tim Kliphuis Trio

Tim Kliphuis         violin
Nigel Clark         guitar
Roy Percy         double-bass

The Dutch virtuoso violinist Tim Kliphuis brings an infectious and uplifting concert with fellow members of his trio, Nigel Clark, guitar, and Roy Percy, double-bass, to perform a delicious cocktail of jazz, gypsy, folk and classical music. It will be a perfect afternoon of foot-tapping music, so come along and expect some familiar tunes to welcome the arrival of summer.

An invitation to the Richard Strauss Festival in Germany marked the start of the Tim Kliphuis Trio whose mission is a ‘total music’ without stylistic barriers. They performed for the Dutch King at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, curated the world fiddle night at Celtic Connections Glasgow, celebrated Stéphane Grappelli at the Django Reinhardt Festival in Samois-sur-Seine and have shared the stage with Les Paul, Richard Galliano, Frankie Gavin, Martin Hayes and Daniel Hope. The Trio have collaborated with the Netherlands and Tallinn Chamber Orchestras, The Hague and Cape Town Philharmonic and Sinfonietta Amsterdam and toured America, South Africa and Russia.


“Impressive and moving”
The Strad Magazine

“Playfully inventive and technically brilliant”
Time Out

Wooler Arts Summer Concerts 2023 Tim Kliphuis Trio


Aglica Trio

Carys Gittins         flute
Agnieszka Żyniewicz         viola
Lise Vandersmissen         harp
Arnold Bax         Elegiac Trio
William Mathias         Zodiac Trio: Pisces, Aries, Taurus
Debussy         Sonate pour flûte, alto et harpe
Hilary Tann         From the Song of Amergin
Toru Takemitsu         And Then I Knew 'twas Wind
Miguel del Aguila         SUBMERGED

Of all trios of musical instruments, that of flute, viola and harp is perhaps the most exotic and unusual. The major work in this repertoire is Debussy’s late Sonata, and its soundworld is complemented perfectly by the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu whose dreamy and beautiful sonorities will sound completely magical in the acoustic of St Mary’s Church. It is also a great pleasure to be able to programme music by the Welsh composer William Mathias and the English composer Arnold Bax. Hilary Tan is also Welsh, and now based in the USA, and Miguel del Aguila is a Uruguayan-born American composer whose energetic music reflects his South American heritage.

The Aglica Trio’s name derives from the Christian names of its three performers, the Polish viola player Agnieszka Żyniewicz, the Belgian harpist Lise Vandermissen, and Welsh flautist Carys Gittins. This young trio came together while studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and have performed in concert halls across the UK and in Europe.

The Aglica Trio - Wooler Arts Summer Concerts 2023


Gould Piano Trio

Lucy Gould         violin
Richard Lester         cello
Benjamin Frith         piano
Schumann         Piano Trio in F major Op.80
John Casken         Lust of Roots
Ravel         Piano Trio

The Gould Piano Trio is one of the very best piano trios working in the UK today and also one with a strong international reputation. They have given many broadcasts and recorded a significant number of CDs, and are well-known locally as artistic directors of the Corbridge Chamber Music Festival. Their concert opens with one of the most ravishing works ever written, Schumann’s Piano Trio No.2, whose slow movement is heart-stoppingly expressive.

John Casken was privileged to have his first Piano Trio recorded by the Gould Piano Trio and when he offered them a new one, this relationship continued and developed. They will premiere Lust of Roots at the Buxton International Festival in July 2022. The title draws on a comment by DH Lawrence but relates specifically to the poet Kathleen Raine’s ‘Northumbrian Sequence’.

We could not have a better end to the series than Ravel’s glittering and energetic Piano Trio, with its joyful waterfalls of notes, hypnotic and haunting melodies, and music that fizzes with sheer energy.


"The only comparison that comes to mind is the old Beaux Arts Trio; the combination of jeweller-like precision and a musical fire that ignites from the first bar.”

The Washington Post

Wooler Arts Summer Concerts Gould Trio

2023 Summer Concerts Leaflet

Click the above leaflet image to enlarge
Click the above leaflet image to enlarge

Summer Concerts 2022 Programme

The Summer Concerts in 2022 once again featured major international artists in another wide-ranging programme.

We opened with the world-class piano playing of Steven Osborne, then the irresistible and brilliant duo of Chris Stout and Catriona McKay in their own distinctive and original take on traditional folk music. Another duo, O Duo made the walls of St Mary’s reverberate with exciting percussion music and they also held a popular Family Percussion Workshop in the afternoon of the concert. We closed with a young, prize-winning British string quartet, the Solem Quartet, who have already made a big impression on audiences.

Summer Concerts 2022 Audience Feedback & Comments

- Steven Osborne (all-Debussy concert)
"Excellent to have top musicians on our doorstep – thank you!"

"Very beautiful pieces – please have him back"

"Relaxed atmosphere"

"Excellent – thank you and congrats! Particularly appreciated Steven Osborne talking about the pieces. What a treat….lucky us!"

"Wonderful concert – lovely to see a variety of ages"


- Chris Stout and Catriona McKay
"Fabulous evening of really interesting music. Great venue and acoustic"

"Loved it – so much energy and passion"

"These guys are real stars"


- O Duo

"Amazing, so well done"

"Huge fun!"


"So lucky to have such a wonderful series in Wooler. Thank you!"


"Very enjoyable. Very pleased to find a local concert whilst on hols"

"Absolutely fantastic! One of the best things we’ve seen in a very long time. Bring them back!"


- Solem Quartet

"Very much enjoyed the concert"

"Excellent value"

"Surprised how much I enjoyed their challenging programme"

"They knock other quartets into the long grass"