The 36th Presteigne Festival has a strong Baltic flavour, with important works by a range of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian composers, among them Ester Mägi, Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür and Pēteris Vasks.

Important birthdays for two composers with long-held Presteigne connections, Michael Berkeley and David Matthews, are also celebrated and the outstanding musical polymath Martin Butler is composer-in-residence.

New music commissions come from a mix of established and emerging talent – Cydonie Banting, David Bednall, Martin Butler, Gareth Moorcraft, Huw Watkins (Echo, a song-cycle for soprano and piano, jointly commissioned with Carnegie Hall) and, from Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize winner Manos Charalabopoulos, Two Poems for solo cello.

The Festival’s relationship with Nova Music Opera continues to flourish; the company perform Joseph Phibbs’ chamber opera Juliana, inspired by Strindberg’s unsettling stage drama Miss Julie.

The programme also includes a fabulous mix of repertoire by Bach, Bartók, Berg, Beethoven, Brahms, Britten, Cassadó, Grieg, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Sibelius.

The Festival features some truly outstanding performers in 2018 – the Navarra Quartet, former BBC New Generation Artist soprano Ruby Hughes, prize-winning Latvian violinist Kristīne Balanas, pianists Huw Watkins and Joseph Tong, a specially-formed Festival Ensemble, Polish cellist Joanna Gutowska, the Choir of Royal Holloway and the ever-popular Festival Orchestra conducted respectively by Rupert Gough and Festival director, George Vass.

A wonderful collection of supporting events include a Nordic film feature - curated by distinguished film editor Tony Lawson, who gives a short introduction to each of the screenings and including a screening of Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries - talks from Stephen Johnson, Ian Marchant and Peter Lord and Well Thumbed, Terry Victor’s irredeemably prurient riffling of well-used classics, somehow managing to squeeze the work of more than seventy great writers into less than an hour – ‘A show’, wrote Arts Scene in Wales, ‘that would have Mary Whitehouse spinning in her chastity belt.’

Ticket sales for the Festival are the best ever with online and postal booking currently open via; for telephone sales (01544 267800) and personal callers, the Festival Box Office opens on Monday 16 July.