World premiere in Scarborough

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Photo: Martin Lengemann
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Photo: Martin Lengemann

A composition by the former Master of the Queen’s Music has its world premiere at a Scarborough parish church as part of North York Moors Chamber Music Festival.

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, known as Sir Max, has chosen to premiere his work at the festival because he admires the Yorkshire landscape, the architecture, and the quality of the musicians the event attracts.

The famous composer’s piece premieres at St Martin-on-the-Hill, Scarborough on Saturday August 22. Audiences can hear it for just £10 per person thanks to festival founder Jamie Walton’s determination to let everyone experience world-class performances.

“There are all these myths about music being for the erudite and that’s rubbish so the festival is about getting rid of ego and elitism. It’s for everybody who wants to come,” Jamie says.

“I don’t want it to be too slick; it should be slightly flawed and informal and spontaneous.

“We have the high standard that you get at Wigmore Hall but I encourage people not to dress too smartly. I want to get back to the essence of chamber music when it was about getting people together.”

Each of the festival venues has been hand-picked by Jamie with the music specifically chosen to suit each one. Flutes, violins and harps can be heard at St Oswald’s in Lythe, a piano trio at St Mary’s in Lastingham, and an octet for bassoon, horn, clarinet and strings at St Hedda’s in Egton Bridge with Fauré, Ravel and Debussy on the music stands.

Festival patron Sir Max will be in residence throughout the festival in August when four other pieces of his music will also be performed, including A Welcome to Orkney Op.90 during the finale at St Hilda’s Westcliff, Whitby on Saturday August 29.

Internationally-acclaimed cellist Jamie, who lives in the North York Moors National Park, has enticed his accomplished friends and colleagues to play year after year, notching up more than 300 concerts so far.

The seventh festival, themed on La Belle Époque, runs from August 16 to 29 when Jamie says the moors are at their most beautiful.

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ world premiere is at St Martin-on-the-Hill, Scarborough at 7pm on Saturday August 22.

Tickets for each festival event cost £10, with students paying £5 and children admitted free. For details visit or call 01751 417795.