Festival poised for Holst's 150th birthday celebrations in 2024

Andrew Jenkins, Thaxted Festival's artistic director

Andrew Jenkins, Thaxted Festival's artistic director - Credit: Thaxted Festival Foundation

Thaxted Festival's new artistic director has promised a special celebration for Gustav Holst's 150th birthday.

Andrew Jenkins, who has been appointed Thaxted Festival's new artistic director after coordinating the 2020 and 2021 programmes, has set out his priorities for the event's future.

He has promised to develop the festival's year-round programme of affiliate events and host a special programme to mark Holst's 150th birthday in 2024.

He said: "I am honoured that the Festival Foundation Board has entrusted me with the role of Artistic Director.

"I will do my utmost to continue the tradition of presenting excellence in professional performance set by my predecessors, which dates back to Gustav Holst and Thaxted’s Whitsuntide Festivals."

Holst is famous for his 'The Planets' suite.

The composer first visited Thaxted in 1913 before settling in the village.

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Thaxted Festival - which takes place annually - was set up to mirror the Whitsun Festival which Holst established in 1916.

Mr Jenkins said he would celebrate the work of Holst and his contemporaries throughout the festival programme.

He added: "The 150th anniversary of Holst’s birth will an occasion for special programming in 2024.

"At the same time, the festival will continue to champion the best of emerging artists and composers, and will continue to feature jazz and other genres alongside its core classical offering.

"With Thaxted’s unique setting and venues, I am keen to develop affiliate events as companions to our main festival programme."

Mr Jenkins began his training at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral and three churches in north-west England.

He built a career in music publishing and theatre in London.

Peter Donovan, chair of the Thaxted Festival Foundation, said: "The board is delighted that Andrew has agreed to accept his central position, and wishes him every success."

The festival's next event takes place on October 17 at 3pm, when Iyad Sughayer will perform work by Beethoven, Haydn and Khachaturian at Thaxted Parish Church.

The 2022 festival will run over four weekends from Friday, June 17 until Sunday, July 10.

More information about Thaxted Festival and its year-round programme is online: https://www.thaxtedfestival.co.uk/

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