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Oxford Lieder Festival 2020

A welcome from Sholto Kynoch, Oxford Lieder's Artistic Director:

I'm delighted to launch this year's Oxford Lieder Festival. Over eight packed days, more than 110 singers, pianists and speakers will bring 41 events to life, live-streamed in the highest quality from venues around Oxford. We've been working flat-out to turn adversity to advantage and I believe our online Festival offers some fantastic opportunities to get closer to our artists and acess some amazing spaces in Oxford, as well as enjoying the wonderful music making that is at the heart of the Festival. Although we are all eager to be back sharing music in person – and are also laying plans for a tremendous celebration of our 20th anniversary next year – I hope you’ll share our excitement at the many possibilities offered by a temporary move online.

Passes for the Festival this autumn are on sale now and I hope you may be tempted by these. A regular Festival Pass at £90 offers full access to all events with a discount of over 60%, while the £250 Pioneer Passes are a way of supporting this year's Festival and our artists, and have a number of additional perks. Further details follow below. If you're not already a Friend of Oxford Lieder, please do consider this as well; we need your support now more than ever.

The live element of the Festival is vital and exciting, but all tickets give at least two weeks of access to watch again. If you are a Festival regular who can't always make it to everything, I hope this will mean the full Festival can be accessible for you this time. And if you are further afield and can't usually make it to Oxford, I'm delighted that this year we can bring the Festival to you!

I am truly thrilled to think that we can bring you an imaginative, uplifting Festival programme. It is also with our artists in mind that we present this Festival: I count myself among the many colleagues who are beyond eager to start making music and connecting with audiences again. It is certainly a change, but there are myriad exciting possibilities and I hope you’ll want to join us. Please book now!

Stay safe and well, and we look forward to seeing you soon. Thank you.




At the heart of the Festival will be an exceptional series of live concerts, with artists including Benjamin Appl, Ian Bostridge, Sarah Connolly, Lucy Crowe, James Gilchrist, Stephan Loges, Christoph Prégardien, Ashley Riches, Carolyn Sampson, Kitty Whately and Roderick Williams, performing in stunning Oxford venues. We will be bringing you closer than ever to these artists, through interviews, live Q&As where you will have the chance to question the artists directly, and in the world-class filming and audio that will beam them directly to your home. We retain our strong commitment to the best emerging talent, and recitals will be given by the winners of this year's Oxford Lieder Young Artist Platform, as well as recent winners of the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Awards.


Our ‘Connections Across Time’theme will coax out links between Bach and Schubert, Dowland and Britten, and range from 14th-century songs by Guillaume de Machaut to freshly-minted works. Many of the perennial favourites of the song repertoire will naturally feature as well, with concerts devoted to Schubert, Schumann, Fauré and others. We explore diverse settings of poets, looking for example at the reception of the great Persian poet Hafez across centuries and at Thomas Hardy's approach to the passing of time.


Oxford itself and our many wonderful venues are an integral part of the Festival and will remain so. In addition to the usual range of venues at the Festival, we plan to take you into some stunning spaces that would not usually be accessible. A combination of our intimate art form, these magical places, and carefully crafted filming will create a different but special atmosphere and keep the Festival rooted in the fabric of the city.


We are also fortunate to be based in Oxford for the wealth and diversity of specialists on hand who can draw connections between music, poetry, art, history, science and geography. With an online Festival, we can be more imaginative than ever with our series of 'Song Connections' events. As well these live study events with musical illustrations, every concert will have a host of resources provided, from pre-recorded talks and interviews to curated playlists and listening notes, available to ticket holders from two weeks before the Festival.


This Festival will be diferent to others, but the personal, intimate feel that is a hallmark of Oxford Lieder will remain. We will invite interaction at various events including the end of all evening recitals and Song Connections events. We are still exploring other ways to ensure people feel this is a truly shared experience.


Festival Passes are available now, priced at £90. Passes give access to all of the Festival's 40 events, completely live and for two weeks after the Festival, as well as all associated resources; notes, translations, interviews, talks, and more. They represent a saving of more than 60%.



Please also consider buying a special Pioneer Pass. The Pioneer Pass is a statement of enthusiasm and support for this year’s Festival, and includes a number of exclusive benefits:

  • Access to all 40 Festival events, with a full month of access to the Oxford Lieder digital concert hall after the Festival, to enjoy all the concerts, talks and more at leisure

  • A special live concert, for Pioneer Pass holders only, on the eve of the Festival, given by Alessandro Fisher

  • Exclusive artist interviews and other content

  • An exclusive post-Festival DVD, with a selection of Festival highlights

  • Two guest tickets to Dame Sarah Connolly’s recital, to share with friends

  • An invitation to a special party, where we can convey our thanks in person, as soon such an event is viable

The Pioneer Pass supports Oxford Lieder and our artists, at a cost of £250 (roughly equivalent to the total ticket cost of all Festival events). By buying a Pioneer Pass now you'll be helping ensure the success of this innovative and ambitious project.



  • Concerts will be completely live, vibrantly filmed and streamed on our website in HD with top-level audio, and then available for two weeks after the end of the Festival (four weeks for Pioneer Pass holders).
  • Ease of access will be key, and we will create various tutorials for anyone not comfortable with navigating online resources.
  • Booking passes and tickets will work in the same simple, secure way as usual via our website. Tickets already have a unique 8-digit number, and this will become your password for each concert.
  • Every concert will have its own ‘digital concert hall’, where its other resources (interviews, notes, texts, etc.) will be available approximately two weeks before and for two weeks after the Festival.
  • Questions at Song Connections events and artist Q&As will be sent live by social media or email.