Hellensmusic returns to Herefordshire from 16 to 20 May with most varied programme to date

World-class concerts, masterclasses, tango at the church and a trip to the pub – the sixth Hellensmusic promises favourites and a couple of surprises. The year’s festival is the biggest and most varied yet taking place from 16 to 20 May in and around Hellens, one of England’s oldest manor houses, with events spreading to St Bartholomew’s Church and The Walwyn Arms pub in Much Marcle.

Now firmly established as one of the main events of the musical calendar in Herefordshire, the festival kicks off on Wednesday 16 May with an evening dedicated to tango’s star instrument, the bandoneon, played by the Argentinean virtuoso Omar Massa. The concert takes place at St Bartholomew’s Church and offers a musical journey from Bach and Vivaldi to tango master Astor Piazzolla.

17 May brings Christian Blackshaw’s much-loved piano recital, also at St Bartholomew’s Church. He will be performing three of his favourite sonatas: Mozart’s 15th, Beethoven’s 30th and Schubert’s Sonata in C minor. The festival continues at Hellens on 18 and 19 May with two chamber concerts dedicated to the music of masters such as Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mozart and Mahler. These will be performed by Hellensmusic’s extraordinary resident artists (Christian Blackshaw, Maya Iwabuchi, Markus Däunert, Máté Szücs, Bruno Delepelaire) and Matthew Hunt, one of Britain’s leading clarinettists. Afterwards it’s time to go to the Walwyn Arms pub (19 May, 9.30pm) for an entertaining night of tango, folk, classical and world music that is guaranteed to set your feet tapping!

The festival ends on Sunday 20 May with two concerts that are the culmination of Hellensmusic’s celebrated Masterclass Programme, which invites students from the top music schools in Britain to come to Hellens for a week of lessons with the festival’s artists.

Tickets cost from £5 to £18 and are available to book by phone (T. 0333 666 3366) or at www.hellensmusic.com via Ticket Source. You can also get them in Ledbury (Ice Bytes), Ross-on-Wye (River Music), Much Marcle (Premier Stores), Malvern (TIC) and Monmouth (TIC at Shire Hall). Masterclasses are free to attend – visit the festival’s website for a complete schedule of activities.