The 2011 York Early Music Festival (8 "“ 16 July) celebrates the spirit of the 1951 Festival of Britain, with a ground-breaking series of concerts of English music from the Medieval to the Baroque. Widely regarded as the 'Mecca of early music' York Early Music Festival features a characteristically brilliant line-up of internationally renowned artists, including the Gabrieli Consort, The Sixteen, The Dufay Collective, The Orlando Consort, The English Concert and  soloists Elizabeth Kenny, Mahan Esfahani and Lucy Crowe, to present this year's inspiring programme.

â–ª The Gabrieli Consort directed by Paul McCreesh present William Byrd's magnificent Great Service (Friday 8 July, York Minster)

â–ª The English Concert with Harry Bicket director/harpsichord, Lucy Crowe soprano, Joseph Crouch cello and Katharina Spreckelsen oboe perform some of Handel's glorious Italian works alongside concertos by his Venetian contemporaries Marcello and Vivaldi. (Saturday 9 July, Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York)

â–ª Yorkshire Baroque Soloists directed by Peter Seymour present a semi-staged production of Purcell's King Arthur which features one of his most popular songs 'Fairest Isle'. (Sunday 10 July, University of York)

â–ª The Rose Consort of Viols, joined by The Festival Consort of Singers, present 'From Chapel, Court and Country: music for vocal and viol consort by Richard Dering and Peter Philips', part of A Golden Age Reviewed "“ a special series of concerts and events curated by John Bryan for the 2011 Festival. (Monday 11 July, NCEM, St Margaret's Church)

â–ª The Dufay Collective presents Echoes of Albion: Song and Dance from Medieval England which reflects the variety and beauty of English secular music from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries and is part of A Golden Age Reviewed. (Tuesday 12 July, Merchant Adventurers' Hall, York)

▪The Sixteen directed by Harry Christophers perform their 2011 Choral Pilgrimage concert celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death of perhaps the greatest composer of the Renaissance, Tomás Luis de Victoria, with a sumptuous selection of the music he wrote in honour of the Virgin Mary. (Friday 15 July, York Minster).

â–ª 2011 York Early Music International Young Artists Competition takes place within the Festival from 14 – 16 July featuring rising young artists and ensembles from around the world. (

Delma Tomlin, Administrative Director, says: "This year's Festival celebrates the spirit of the 1951 Festival of Britain, and is inspired by a series of concerts which the Arts Council (then of Great Britain) promoted as part of the London Season of the Arts in that year. The theme of 'Englishness' runs throughout our programme alongside a less obvious but nonetheless significant theme from 1951 "“ that of the positive benefits of new ideas brought into England through migrant musicians and composers which we celebrate in programmes featuring music by Handel, JC Bach and Abel.

In the final week of the Festival we are delighted to welcome the young artists representing America, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK and individual artists from Croatia, Australia, Malaysia, Japan and Iran who are taking part in the exciting conclusion of the York Early Music Young Artists Competition 2011, whose judging panel is led by the distinguished violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch."

Throughout the Festival an exhibition of photographs of religious architecture drawn from the world-class collection of the National Media Museum in Bradford titled The Architecture of Faith will be on show at the NCEM, St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, York, as part of New Worlds: Many Routes to Yorkshire which is a strand of the imove programme.

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