Enjoy inspiring music in beautiful locations across Sussex.
The Shipley Arts Festival is well established as one of the leading cultural events in the South East of England. After more than 23 years, it has grown from a Saturday night concert in Shipley Parish Church, to the highly respected leading Classical Music Festival in Sussex.
Shipley Arts Festival 2023
We are celebrating our twenty third year with our outstanding ensemble of musicians and communities. We deeply thank all our vital Festival Friends, supporters, sponsors and String Academy members for continuing to support our vision.
This year our world premiere will be the third movement of “Knepp Piano Trio”, to complete this wonderful work by Roderick Williams OBE. (We are also delighted to congratulate Roderick on his other commission this year from King Charles III for his Coronation).
We will be celebrating a significant year for our great friend and composer Malcolm Singer. Helen Ottaway’s “White Storks” (one of our lockdown commissions) will enjoy its first live performance with an audience at Knepp Castle. Through this music we continue to innovate, celebrate and reflect the deep rooted natural environment of our county and country.
In 2000 we started our Festival with Christina Maude and Gini de Zoete in the Selsey Arms pub, just outside Horsham, and with support from a core group including Peter Sanderson and Gordon Lindsay we have shared a journey like no other.
From modest beginnings we have built the Festival over time to include performances from String Academy, proving itself a vital developmental platform for younger musicians. Our Stradivarius Piano Trio and the wider Bernardi Music Group regularly bring together some of the most diverse musicians from Roderick Williams OBE, to the late Jon Lord (formerly of Deep Purple).
Over the years we have collaborated and commissioned unique works from composers; Cecilia McDowall, Malcolm Singer, and John Rutter CBE. Helen Ottaway’s piece “White Storks” enjoyed a special Radio 3 broadcast from Knepp Castle’s Wilding Concert during lockdown, and Paul Lewis’ “Violin Concerto” describes the Stradivarius’ journey under our custodianship.
We bring together many communities across Sussex and over many years we have supported, and continue to support, several charities including Blood Cancer UK, Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice, The Alzheimer’s Society and many others. This year we opened the Festival with a return to the Lackenhurst Estate and joined Lady Louise Burrell in raising funds for Friends of Sussex Hospices.
We are looking forward to extending our reach and focus in 2023 and thank you so much for being on our journey.
Founded by Andrew Bernardi in 2000, the annual Shipley Arts Festival brings world class music to communities in and around Shipley and the Sussex county.
Through a curated programme of concerts and events, it celebrates the connection between music and nature, wellbeing and heritage. And, whilst showcasing our professional ensembles, we also champion young talent. As part of the festival, musicians from our String Academy are invited to perform alongside our professional musicians.
Established as one of the leading cultural events in Sussex, we also commission and premiere new works by some of today’s leading composers. The festival runs from April – November and performances take place in different locations each year; ranging from local community venues through to stately homes, heritage buildings, schools and churches.
We are grateful to our Shipley Festival Friends, and Sponsors and Patrons who have supported us since the beginning and without whom the success of the festival and community spirit would not have been possible.
Email Andrew to discuss sponsorhip opportunities at firstname.lastname@example.org. To become a friend of Shipley Arts Festival, follow the local giving link below.
Take a look at some of our brochures from previous years of the Shipley Arts Festival
Central to our work is the commissioning of new works from today’s leading composers which reflect the communities we serve.
Recent commissions include “White Storks” for string octet by Helen Ottaway inspired by the birth of wild storks at Knepp Castle Estate and a new violin concerto written by Paul Lewis.
- 2005 Three movements reorchestrated from the ‘Brotherhood Suite’ by Gordon Giltrap
- 2007 ‘Great Hills’ by Cecilia McDowall (commissioned by Eve Barret and published by Oxford University Press)
- 2007 ‘To Notice Such Things’ by Jon Lord (commissioned by Eve Barret and published by Schott Music)
- 2008 ‘Descending Blue’ by Cecilia McDowall (commissioned by Colin and Lucy West and published Gemini Press)
- 2013 ‘Stilled Voices by James Whitbourn (commissioned by John Snelling and published Chester Music)
- 2015 ‘Ada’ by James Whitbourn and premiered by Andrew Bernardi and Anna Lapwood and friends in celebration of 200 years of Ada Lovelace (commissioned by the Earl and Countess of Lytton and published by Chester Music)
- 2016 ‘Goodwood Variations’ by Roderick Williams OBE (commissioned by Maria Marchant and Andrew Bernardi)
- 2018 ‘Shipley Psalms’ by Malcolm Singer (commissioned by Revd Rupert Toovey and John Snelling)
- 2018 ‘Knepp Piano Trio’ by Roderick Williams OBE
- 2019 ‘Dragons’ by Malcolm Singer reorchestrated with Arts Council England support
- 2020 ‘White Storks by Helen Ottaway ( commissioned by Shipley Arts Festival Life Friend Jamie Martin and Alison Beckett )
- 2020 ‘Shipley Concerto for violin and strings: Cremona 1696 / Shipley Idyll /Chinese Adventure’ (commissioned by Shipley Arts Festival and published by Goodmusic)