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Berwick Music Series 2023

September 22, 2023 @ 7:30 pm - October 21, 2023 @ 8:00 pm

£39.00 - £50.00
The influences of folk music on classical music.

All composers are influenced by the sounds around them, from the sound of horses trotting or galloping in the pre-modern era to that of machines, influencing minimalist music of today. One important source of musical ideas is the prevalent folk music of the time. This year’s programme reflects the influences of folk music on classical music. As usual, our concerts feature performers of the highest calibre, playing music from Bach to that composed in the present day. We are also delighted to again join forces with Berwick Literary Festival, this time to welcome special guest journalist and BBC Radio 3 presenter Kate Molleson. And we have a folk session, open to all, with special guest, Northumbrian piper, Chris Ormston. As usual, the concerts are supplemented by talks on aspects of the music being performed.



Chris Ormston (Northumbrian pipes)

Radio Rooms, Tweedmouth

Sept 22, 7.30 pm FREE

We kick off the Berwick Music Series 2023 with a folk session featuring renowned Northumbrian piper, Chris Ormston. Post-performance, there’ll be an open mic and a tunes session, so bring along your instrument. All are welcome, musicians, performers and listeners alike, so come along and join in if you feel like it.

Chris has been a musician from an early age. He was given his first set of pipes on his 15th birthday and nine months later won the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society Junior Class. Within three years he had won every Open competition in the county. Chris has appeared on a number of compilation recordings, and even topped the USA album charts as a session musician on Peter Gabriel’s ‘Us’, playing with Peter and Sinead O’Connor in ‘Come Talk to Me’. Chris has collaborated with the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society in the publication of two collections: ‘The Clough Family of Newsham’ (2000) and ‘The Clough Family Tune Book’ (2012). His 2003 solo CD ‘Time Out of Mind’ was described as “… unprecedented in the history of recorded Northumbrian piping” – FolkMusic.net


Darragh Morgan (solo violin)

St. Andrew’s Church, Berwick-upon-Tweed

September 23, 1.00 – 2.00 pm £14

We welcome back violinist Darragh Morgan. Described by The Strad Magazine as ‘hugely impressive, he plays with seemingly effortless control’, Darragh is a renowned exponent of contemporary music. He has appeared as a soloist at the Aldeburgh Festival and BBC Proms. Darragh will be playing works by Bach, Paganini and the contemporary composer Sam Hayden. The programme also includes a selection of classical works influenced by folk music from around the world, with some Irish, Turkish and Greek folk melodies.


JS Bach and his suites for solo cello

Presenter: Dr. Mike Worboys

Parish Centre, Parade, Berwick-upon-Tweed

October 5, 1.00 – 3.00 pm £6

Mike Worboys’ popular talks continue with a discussion of JS Bach’s Suites for solo cello.The talk will review Bach’s residency at the court of Prince Leopold at Köthen (1716-1723), where much of his secular music, probably including the great cello suites, was composed. Mike will focus on the second suite, as this will be performed in viola transcription in one of the concerts. Mike holds a PhD in Music from the University of Durham.


Fiona Winning (solo Viola)

St. Andrew’s Church, Berwick-upon-Tweed

October 7, 1.00 – 2.00 pm £14

Scottish violist Fiona Winning was until 2014 Principal Viola of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. She has been a regular guest principal of the Philharmonia and London Philharmonic Orchestras, including four seasons at Glyndebourne Opera. Fiona’s concert last year, interleaving Bach and Ligeti, was a huge success. This year, the centrepiece of her programme will be Bach’s second cello suite, transcribed for viola. She will also perform the winning piece from this year’s BMS international composition competition.

SPECIAL EVENT (in conjunction with Berwick Literary Festival)

Kate Molleson in Conversation

Baptist Church, Golden Square, Berwick-upon-Tweed

October 11, 7.00 – 8.30 pm £8

Kate Molleson is a journalist, music critic and BBC Radio 3 presenter. She is the author of the best-selling book ‘Sound Within Sound: Opening Our Ears to the Twentieth Century’ (Faber & Faber, 2022), which introduces the life and work of ten lesser-known composers of that period. As reviewed in the Observer, ‘Molleson’s enthusiastic style and eye for character and place give them life’. Kate will talk about her book and reflect on musical life today, illustrating with musical examples.


Folk influences in classical music

Presenter: Dr. Mike Worboys

Parish Centre, Parade, Berwick-upon-Tweed

October 19, 1.00 – 3.00 pm £6

Folk music has had an influence on ‘classical’ composers, from Hildegard von Bingen to composers of the present day. This talk will provide an historical whistle-stop tour, before focusing in greater depth on specific composers and works, including Schubert, Bartok and Dvorak, whose String Quartet, Op. 96 (American) will be performed at a later concert in the series.


Frankland String Quartet

St. Andrew’s Church, Berwick-upon-Tweed

October 22, 1.30 – 2.30 pm £14

Formed in 2017, the Frankland Quartet’s musical identity is embedded in the North East of England. Long-time colleagues in Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Quartet has a deep commitment to the cultural life of the area, inspired by its landscape, its history and communities. They will play Dvorak’s popular String Quartet, Op. 96 (American), along with two new works by North East composers, Janet Graham and James Weeks, both of whose works are influenced by the climate crisis.

You can buy a Series Pass, which gives entrance to all seven events. We are keeping the price of a Series Pass very low (£39) to encourage people who might not normally attend concerts or lectures to take advantage of our full programme. However, running the Series is an expensive exercise, and you can contribute a bit more by buying a Patron Series Pass instead (£50). To secure either Pass, please click the red ‘Tickets’ button. You can also learn more about and book tickets for individual events.

The Berwick Music Series would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors: Berwick Town Council, Northern Angel Fund for Berwick, Pen and Palette Club Fund, and Vaughan Williams Foundation.

If you book this course online, we will hold your personal data in accordance with our privacy policy. If you do not wish us to hold your personal data, please book by post .


September 22, 2023 @ 7:30 pm
October 21, 2023 @ 8:00 pm
£39.00 - £50.00


Various venues
Starts in the Radio Rooms
Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland TD15 United Kingdom