For eight days, The Priory’s ancient nave becomes stage to orchestra and chorus, virtuoso soloists and exquisite ensembles – and even a cinema screen!

Unmissable first and final concerts
Music and Arts Festival 2024

A full-sized Orchestra of exceptional musicians perform alongside a large Festival Chorus for the opening and closing concerts under the baton of The Priory’s Director of Music, Simon Earl: Elgar’s huge orchestral and choral masterpiece, The Dream of Gerontius and Gershwin’s evocative ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ plus some “Last Night” favourites.

Expected to sell out — book early to avoid disappointment.

Organ 25 celebrations – join the party!
Priory Organ

For 25 years, audiences and musicians have been enjoying our awesome Nicholson organ after its major installation by Nicholson & Co. in 1999. To celebrate this anniversary we’re shining a spotlight on this impressive instrument with glittering organ performances, including recital from celebrity organist Thomas Trotter!

All events that feature live organ music are marked with this symbol: This concert features an organ

Enchanting choral concerts
Mark Derudder

2024’s Festival boasts an amazing line-up of choral events, including world-class close harmony masters The Gesualdo Six and a performance of Vivaldi’s well-loved ‘Gloria in D‘.

FREE choral events include lunchtime operatic arias from mezzo-soprano Grace Lovelass, and the chance for you to join us in song at Hymnfest — back-to-back singing of all the nation's favourite hymns!

Saturday 15 June, 7.30pm
Christchurch Priory Choir

Elgar The Dream of Gerontius
Christchurch Priory Festival Chorus & Orchestra
Simon Earl Conductor

Elgar’s powerful oratorio based on John Newman’s poem about life, death and the after-world, featuring full chorus, orchestra, soloists and organ.

Tickets: £30, £25, £20 and £15

Sunday 16 June, 10.00am
Photo of the Choir at Christchurch Priory

Festival Sung Eucharist
Bob Chilcott A Little Jazz Mass
Christchurch Priory Choirs
Christchurch Priory Festival Jazz Ensemble

Chilcott’s wonderful score fuses jazz and choral idioms, promising an energetic, expressive and exultant Sung Eucharist.

Sunday 16 June 6.30pm
Congregation singing at Hymnfest at Music and Arts Festival 2024 art Christchurch Priory

Hymnfest
Christchurch Priory Choirs
Geoffrey Morgan Organ

Join our massed choir in a joyful celebration of the nation’s best-loved hymns.

Monday 17 June, 7.30pm
The BSO's Mark Derudder

Vivaldi's Greatest Hits
Christchurch Priory Festival String Ensemble
Vivaldi The Four Seasons; Gloria

Vivaldi’s greatest hits in an exquisite setting. Contrasting seasons delivered by the Festival’s String Orchestra and virtuosic co-leader of the BSO, Mark Derudder, plus the much-loved choral masterpiece Gloria.

Tickets: £25, £20, £18 and £15

Tuesday 18 June, 12.30pm
Damon Oliver saxophonist

Lunchtime Jazz Recital with The Homecoming Trio
Damon Oliver Saxophone
Ed Rice Piano
Johnny Wikham Bass

Exceptional jazz players play to a home crowd in this lively lunchtime recital.

Tuesday 18 June, 7.30pm
Organist Thomas Trotter

Thomas Trotter Organ

With a towering reputation as one of the world’s leading concert organists, multi-award-winning instrumentalist Thomas Trotter will grace the Nicholson organ in this very special celebrity recital, featuring epic works from Holst and Bach.

Tickets: £15 and £12

Wednesday 19 June, 12.30pm
Grace Lovelass

Lunchtime Opera with Grace Lovelass
Grace Lovelass Mezzo-soprano

Sublime Grace Lovelass presents a delightful programme of her favourite operatic arias.

Wednesday 19 June, 7.30pm
Organ at Christchurch Priory

Synergy of Sounds: Organ and Orchestra
Festival String Orchestra
David Beeby Organ
Denis Bédard Organ Concerto
Albinoni arr. Giazotto Adagio in G minor
Elgar Sospiri; Serenade for Strings

Explore the moving combination of orchestral strings with the power and range of The Priory organ.

Tickets: £25, £20, £18 and £15

Thursday 20 June, 12.30pm
Organ at Christchurch Priory

Six Hands, Six Feet, Three Organs, Three Organists!
Simon Earl, David Beeby & Tom Moore Organ

An exciting opportunity to see and hear three organists in action at the same time. This fun programme combines the sounds of the Nicholson organ with those of the Walker Lady Chapel, as well as the Peter Collins Continuo organ.

Thursday 20 June, 7.30pm
Silent Film still

The Phantom of the Opera silent film with live improvised Organ accompaniment
Jonathan Hope Organ

Jonathan Hope improvises a dramatic accompaniment to Lon Chaney’s iconic 1925 silent horror movie. Behold The Priory’s mighty pipe organ at this unique screening, when Christchurch Priory becomes the oldest cinema in the country for one night only.

Tickets: £15

Friday 21 June, 7.30pm
The Gesualdo Six

The Gesualdo Six Vocals
Owain Park Director

Fresh from their recent tour of Europe and the US, award-winning British vocal ensemble The Gesualdo Six bring an exquisite blend of voices and eclectic repertoire to this midsummer’s evening. “Gleaming vocal purity” (The Guardian). “Ingeniously programmed and impeccably delivered” (Gramophone).

Tickets: £28, £25, £20 and £15

Saturday 22 June, 7.30pm
Last Night Performance at The Music Festival

Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
Christchurch Priory Festival Orchestra & Chorus
Duncan Honeybourne Piano
Simon Earl Conductor

Experience the magic of George Gershwin’s jazz and classical masterpiece 100 years after it premiered, followed by a lively second half of “Last Night” favourites. Expect exceptional music, rousing choruses and flag-waving at this roof-raising Festival finale.

Free glass of Prosecco included in ticket price for this event only

Tickets: £30, £25, £20 and £15

Arts

We are delighted to have three local artists exhibiting in the Church as part of the Festival. More detail about the artists can be found below. Work is for sale through each artist directly.

We are also very pleased to be participating in Christchurch Flower Fest’ 24, which overlaps with our Festival week.

Alan Hayden
Alan Hayden artwork

Alan is a local and has for many years lived in and around Christchurch, Dorset. He has always painted, even at an early age, and was constantly encouraged during his days at school. On leaving, he attended the Bournemouth College of Art and Design. His artistic interest continued throughout many years of working in the family business, before he had time to indulge in his creative pursuits full-time in 1990. Alongside his passion for painting runs a deep interest in wildlife, particularly in the birds of the local area.

Kate Marr
Kate Marr artwork

Kate is a professional seascape artist from Bournemouth and is best known for her lively and atmospheric paintings based on locations from the Dorset coastline. Kate loves to create pieces in an intuitive way, focusing on evoking the mood and feeling of a place. These works are created inspired by plein air sketches, photos, and memories of walks in these areas. Kate uses high quality art materials. Her work can be found in private art collections around the world.

Jeanette Law
Jeanette Law artwork

Jeanette has been painting for most of her adult life, both plein-air and studio works involving many wonderful trips with like-minded friends. Membership of, and the exhibiting of paintings with several Art Societies, led to total immersement in the local art scene. Her work has evolved from watercolour and acrylic landscapes to more abstract work in recent times. The discovery of flow painting techniques awoke an interest in the materials and the process of formulas that produce the most amazing results.

About the Christchurch Priory Music & Arts Festival

For hundreds of years, live music has resounded throughout The Priory's impressive stone building, bringing worshippers and visitors joy, peace, and inspiration. Those fortunate enough to have sung or performed in The Priory will tell you that it is a very special experience.

At The Priory it’s our ambition to touch, shape and inspire people through music. Our Music & Arts Festival, staged every two years, offers both new audiences and our regulars the chance to be entertained and enriched through an uplifting programme of concerts and recitals.

The repertoire unashamedly features some of the world’s most-loved works – popular classical and jazz pieces that have stood the test of time. To hear these incredible pieces performed by professional ensembles or a large-scale orchestra and chorus inside a magnificent 900-year-old church promises a unique and uplifting experience.

Innovation is also embraced throughout the Festival; original retellings of past works, exciting new music and music combined with film and visual arts can be enjoyed.

Participatory choral events offer Festival-goers the opportunity to join others in song: powerful, collective music-making that is key to the ethos of the Festival.


Making the Festival Accessible

To make this Festival as accessible as possible to a wide range of audiences we offer free events and educational workshops. There will be a voluntary collection at each free event to help fund the music, charitable mission, and upkeep of Christchurch Priory.


Post-concert Lunch and Interval Drinks

Glass of Prosecco in Cloister Way at Christchurch Priory

Make the most of your visit by enjoying lunch or drinks at The Priory Tea Rooms or Festival Bar after each event.

The Priory Tea Rooms offers snacks or lunch before or after events. Additionally, you can purchase drinks from the special Cloister's Bar during evening intervals.