Performances of Messiah, Vivaldi, and Epiphany carols to feature
In January 2018, the iconic surroundings of Worcester College will play host to a brand new Epiphany Festival, featuring musical events and services which open the College, with its famous Chapel, gardens, and award-winning new Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre to the wider public, and showcase the talents of its students to new audiences.
The Festival will begin on Thursday 18 January with a candle-lit Epiphany Carol Service (6 pm) celebrating the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem. Other highlights will be a performance of Handel’s Messiah (Saturday 20 January, 7 pm) and a service of Vespers featuring music by Antonio Vivaldi (Sunday 5.45 pm), both featuring the Chapel Choir and period instruments. The College’s latest building, the Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre (opened in October by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall) will be the venue for ‘Byrd and Beer’, a special beer tasting evening accompanied by the sounds of early music (Friday, 8 pm).
The Epiphany Festival really has something for everyone — seasoned concertgoer, student, local resident, or someone looking for something a bit different.
The Festival will also celebrate and link to academic research through events running alongside the performances. Friday will see a harpsichord masterclass given by keyboard specialist Terence Charlston, and both Vespers and Messiah will be preceded by introductory talks.
Director of Music Thomas Allery remarks: ‘We are proud to showcase our students and open up our chapel and college community in several very different events in this first festival. We really want to provide something for everyone in this festival – whether in our performance of Handel’s Messiah, in an atmospheric and uplifting choral service, or through our ‘Byrd and beer’ evening where we link with local brewery Tap Social for a beer tasting evening accompanied by sixteenth century music. We want to provide a series of events for all, celebrating community, learning, and inclusivity.’
Assistant Chaplain and lecturer in music Dr Matthew Cheung Salisbury adds: ‘As a college, we are proud to be located in the heart of Jericho. The extensive college grounds link to the middle of Jericho where many members of College staff live. We look forward to welcoming our immediate neighbours, as well as people from other parts of Oxford near and far, into our college community.’
The Provost of Worcester College, Prof Sir Jonathan Bate, said: ‘On behalf of Worcester College, I warmly invite the people of Oxford to join us. There will be a wide range of music, from the Tudor polyphony of Byrd to the Georgian glory of Handel to the mighty organ works of Howells, offering something for everyone!’