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Chester Summer Music Festival

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St Mary’s Centre, Chester

This year the Chester Summer Music Festival included artists from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Norway, Belarus and Russia and ran from 1st   – 16th July 2011.  Celebrating its 34th year, performances at the festival included vocal music from The King’s Singers and the Gabrieli Consort, violin repertoire from Jack Liebeck, Pavel Šporcl and Ruth Palmer and jazz with Stefano Bollani and cabaret with Claire Martin and Richard Rodney Bennett. Fellow YCAT artists Rhodes Piano trioPhilip Higham (cello) and the Doric String Quartet  also took part in the festival.

On Monday 4th July 2011  I returned to St Mary’s Centre, Chester to perform in the first lunchtime concert of the festival a recital of arias and song with pianist Daniel Browell.   The concert was supported by friends of the Chester Summer Music Festival and was really well attended.   I had previously performed at the Festival for the first time in July 2008 and it was just as I had remembered – a lovely audience, atmosphere and venue.

Chester Summer Music Festival Recital with Daniel Browell (Pianist)

St Mary’s centre, originally a medieval parish church,  is situated in the south west of the city on top of St Mary’s hill behind Chester Castle. There is some great information about St Mary’s Centre here.

This year the Festival had a theme of British Music running through the programmes and I loved the opportunity to celebrate pieces by Benjamin Britten and Elgar during the recital.

It was such a joy to be a part of the finale concert of the Chester Summer Music Festival  at Chester Cathedral on the evening of Saturday 16th July 2011.   I performed Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Five Tudor Portraits” with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Conductor John Wilson, Baritone Christopher Purves and the Chester Festival Chorus under the direction of their chorus master Frances Cooke.

The Chester Festival Chorus was formed in 1981 and follows a rich tradition of choral singing in Chester.  Over the last 30 years it has established itself as one of the leading large scale choirs in the North West.

Chester Cathedral

Chester Cathedral is a truly remarkable building with a history spanning almost two thousand years – it was a perfect setting for the finale concert with a full house and a truly celebratory atmosphere of  “The Best of British” Music and a great Festival!  Thank you to the organisers of the Festival, who did an amazing job, and everyone who joined in the celebrations!


Chester Festival: Vaughan Williams – ‘Five Tudor Portraits’ – Thelma Handy, Frances Cooke, Christopher Purves, Kathryn Rudge, John Wilson, RLPO and the Chester Festival Chorus

 “Chester, summertime and great music-making in beautifully unique surroundings: there’s no better way to spend your time!”  Andrew Cornall, Artistic Director of the Chester Summer Music Festival


Kathryn is a critically acclaimed professional opera singer, concert artist and song recitalist from Liverpool. Described by What's on Stage as 'One of Britain's brightest young mezzos' and named as The Times 'Rising Star of Classical Music.' Kathryn regularly works with leading singers, instrumentalists, orchestras and ensembles in concerts and broadcasts nationally and internationally.

Kathryn has performed leading opera roles for companies including English National Opera, Glyndebourne and Opera North. She has made recordings for Hyperion, Chandos, Somm, Nyman Records and her debut CD 'Love's Old Sweet Song' was released by Champs Hill Records. Kathryn was a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist 2015-17.

Kathryn trained at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, studying voice with Susan Roper and piano with Naomi Kayayan. Her many awards include the Joyce and Michael Kennedy Award for the Singing of Richard Strauss, Susan Chilcott Scholarship and The Joaninah Trust Award. Kathryn is now an Associate Artist of the Royal Northern College of Music.

Kathryn co-founded Mersey Wave Music in 2012 in her home city of Liverpool and was recognised for her serivces to the community with a Merseyside Woman of the Year Award in 2016 with a passion for championing live music and education, encouraging and developing music participation opportunities for people of any age, from all backgrounds in all circumstances.

Kathryn recently toured as ‘Zerlina’ in Mozart’s opera ‘Don Giovanni’ with Opera North and sang ‘The Angel’ in Elgar’s ‘Dream of Gerontius’ for Easter at King’s College Cambridge broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

Copyright Kathryn Rudge 2019