Durham Cathedral concert honours war hero choristers

Festival director and cellist Jonathan Bloxham (center) joins choristers Rupert Browning (9), Beth Stenlake (8) and Liliana Banev (9) and cathedral steward George Hetherington in the Chapter House at Durham Cathedral ahead of the Northern Chords Festival.

Festival director and cellist Jonathan Bloxham (center) joins choristers Rupert Browning (9), Beth Stenlake (8) and Liliana Banev (9) and cathedral steward George Hetherington in the Chapter House at Durham Cathedral ahead of the Northern Chords Festival.

Festival director and cellist Jonathan Bloxham (center) joins choristers Rupert Browning (9), Beth Stenlake (8) and Liliana Banev (9) and cathedral steward George Hetherington in the Chapter House at Durham Cathedral ahead of the Northern Chords Festival.

Festival director and cellist Jonathan Bloxham (center) joins choristers Rupert Browning (9), Beth Stenlake (8) and Liliana Banev (9) and cathedral steward George Hetherington in the Chapter House at Durham Cathedral ahead of the Northern Chords Festival.

Festival director and cellist Jonathan Bloxham (center) joins choristers Rupert Browning (9), Beth Stenlake (8) and Liliana Banev (9) and cathedral steward George Hetherington in the Chapter House at Durham Cathedral ahead of the Northern Chords Festival.

Festival director and cellist Jonathan Bloxham (center) joins choristers Rupert Browning (9), Beth Stenlake (8) and Liliana Banev (9) and cathedral steward George Hetherington in the Chapter House at Durham Cathedral ahead of the Northern Chords Festival.

First published in News

A CATHEDRAL concert of classical music will honour the sacrifice of its former choristers killed during the First World War.

Some of the region’s finest musicians will present ‘Russia’, a celebration of music from the late Tsarist and revolutionary era; performing works by Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Rachmaninov in Durham Cathedral’s Chapter House even as the names of former cathedral choristers who never returned from the Great War mark the building around them, on a memorial on the apse wall.

The concert is part of the sixth annual Northern Chords Festival, which runs from May 26 to 30 and for the first time has a theme: the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Festival director Jonathan Bloxham said: “If you haven’t been to a classical music concert, this is the perfect chance.

“You will come to this incredibly beautiful place, where you will be looked after and taken on a journey, for a couple of hours, with young musicians at the top of their game, sharing their thoughts about the world.”

This is the first time the Tyneside-based Northern Chords Festival has expanded to Durham.

This year’s event will see more than 100 musicians perform 20 awe-inspiring works in eight spectacular concerts, including at the Sage Gateshead and Newcastle Cathedral.

Having been bullied for his interest in classical music as a child growing up in the region, Mr Bloxham, a cellist, hopes the festival will challenge expectations and engage with new audiences.

“The centenary of the outbreak of the First World War has enabled me to choose pieces from composers who were alive at the time, which was perhaps one of the most eclectic and diverse periods.

“Audiences will have the chance to hear works that have never been performed in the North-East before and will be surprised that many of their favourites were written by composers from this period,” he said.

The Durham concert takes place on Tuesday, May 27, at 7.30pm. Other concerts will have French, Jewish and American themes.

Tickets are priced £10 to £15. To book, visit the Sage Gateshead, go online to northernchords.com/tickets or call 0191-443-4661.

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