Welcome to the Gower Festival

We look forward to welcoming you to great concerts in a wonderful environment.

Following a sell-out success in 2023, this year I again have chosen a programme of great variety, including artists who have thrilled Gower audiences in the past. We will also involve more of the smaller, beautiful churches on Gower.

One special evening will celebrate the 80th birthday of our Patron, Sir Karl Jenkins, in conversation with John Suchet. They will explore his music through recordings and film.

A summer full of musical offerings for everyone, in unique and intimate settings.
Do come and enjoy!

Gordon Back
Artistic Director
Image of Gordon Back Artistc Director

gordon back

Artistic Director

The Festival programme planned for July 2024 is lively and varied, with outstanding musicians from many countries performing in some of the most beautiful churches and chapels of this area. Besides eleven concerts, there will be talks, including an evening of words and music for the 80th birthday of Sir Karl Jenkins.

There’ll also be a special exhibition featuring the work of artists inspired by the life and landscape of Gower.

2024 FESTIVAL

“It is a privilege for me, as President, to be able to welcome you to the Gower Festival, my ‘local’ festival, having been raised on the beautiful Gower Peninsula. There is an exciting programme for you to enjoy, with concerts in the historic churches of Gower.”

Sir Karl Jenkins CBE
President
Image of Sir Karl Jenkins, President

Sir Karl Jenkins CBE

President

“The Gower Festival represents the best of the British summer festival tradition, great music for friendly and appreciative audiences in the most beautiful surroundings. I always look forward to returning with much anticipation.”

Llŷr Williams
Patron
Image of Llyr Williams, Patron

Llŷr Williams

Patron

“Performing at the Gower Festival on many occasions has always been a special experience for me. I am therefore thrilled to be invited to be a Patron of this outstanding Festival.”

Catrin Finch
Patron
Image of Catrin Finch, Patron

Catrin Finch

Patron

2024 programme

‘One of the most inspired of today’s pianists’, Yevgeny Sudbin has performed with many of the world’s greatest orchestras. This evening he plays music by Liszt, Chopin, Scriabin and Debussy – his L’Isle Joyeuse, sparkling with summer sunshine. A perfect opening to the 2024 Festival.

Visit artists website
Monday 1 July 7.30pm
yevgeny sudbin, piano
Photo © Nikolaj Lund

yevgeny sudbin, piano

Monday 1 July 7.30pm
St Paul’s Church, Sketty  
SA2 9AR

Bartosz Głowacki was a hit at the 2022 Festival and we are delighted that he is returning to Gower in July. His programme of baroque, classical and world music includes pieces by Scarlatti, Maxwell Davies (Farewell to Stromness) and Astor Piazzolla. An evening to remember.

Visit artists website
Tuesday 2 July 7.30pm
BARTOSZ GLOWACKI, accordion

BARTOSZ GŁOWACKI, accordion

Tuesday 2 July 7.30pm
ST Hilary's Church, Killay
Sa2 7DZ

Morgan Szymanski is Mexico’s leading guitarist and an international ambassador for his country’s music and culture. In the beautiful surroundings of Cheriton Church he takes us on a Latin American musical journey, with pieces from Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina.

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Wednesday 3 July, 7.30 pm
Photo © Tania Esquivel

Morgan Szymanski, guitar

Wednesday 3 July 7.30pm
St Cadoc’s Church, Cheriton
SA3 1BY

A mixed programme of music by baroque and classical composers – Bach, Sor, Tárrega and Albéniz. Also included are some lively dance movements specially composed for Morgan Szymanski by Gareth Walters.

Visit artists website
Thursday4 July 2.30pm
Photo © Tania Esquivel

Morgan Szymanski, guitar

Thursday 4 July 2.30pm
St David’s Church, Llanddewi  
SA3 1AU

In conversation with music presenter John Suchet, our President Sir Karl Jenkins, born and raised in Penclawdd, talks about his life and career as a multi-talented composer and instrumentalist. His appeal is universal: ‘music without boundaries, loved by everyone’.

Visit artists website
Thursday4 July 7.30pm
John Suchet and Karl Jenkins

KARL JENKINS at eighty, in conversation with John Suchet

Thursday 4 July 7.30pm
Avalon Suite, King Arthur Hotel,
Reynoldston  
SA3 1AD

‘A pianist of extraordinary gifts’, Clare Hammond offers a beautifully varied programme. She will play Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ Sonata as well as a new workby Samy Moussa, pieces by Fauré and Debussy alongside music of Clara Schumann and Cécile Chaminade. An evening of delights and discoveries.

Visit artists website
Friday 5 July 7.30pm
Clare hammond, piano
Photo © Philip Gatward

Clare hammond, piano

Friday 5 July 7.30pm
St Peter’s Church, Newton
SA3 4RB

The Bach Choir’s recent concerts in Swansea have been wonderful and we look forward to welcoming these talented singers to Gower. Their programme includes music by Britten, Holst and Vaughan Williams, plus the premiere of a new work written for them by Welsh composer Gareth Treseder.

Visit artists website
Saturday 6 July 7.30pm
swansea bach choir
Photo © George Mutter

swansea bach choir

Saturday 6 July 7.30pm
St Cenydd’s Church, Llangennith
SA3 1HU

Leading recorder player Tabea Debus and lutenist Toby Carr move across the centuries from anonymous medieval dances to the music of 16th- and 17th-century masters such as John Dowland and Henry Purcell. A fascinating exploration of ‘ear worms’, those tunes that get lodged in the mind.

Visit artists website
Monday 8 July 2.30pm
Toby Carr, lute and Tabea Debus, recorder

Tabea debus, recorder
and Toby Carr, lute

Monday 8 July 2.30pm
Clyne Chapel, Mayals, Swansea
SA3 5BT

Celebrating Gower art and artists, the Festival pays affectionate tribute to the painter Glenys Cour in the year of her one-hundredth birthday. Come and enjoy an exhibition of work inspired by Gower, a talk by the art historian Peter Wakelin, and a tea party.

Visit artists website
Tuesday 9 July 2.30pm
Exterior photo of glynn vivian building

ARTISTS OF GOWER
AT THE GLYNN VIVIAN ART GALLERY

Tuesday 9 July 2.30pm
Glynn Vivian Art Gallery,
Alexandra Road, Swansea
SA1 5DZ

We welcome the acclaimed Castalian Quartet on their first visit to Gower. Alongside Viennese classics by Schubert and Beethoven, they play Five Fantasy Pieces by Samuel Taylor-Coleridge, full of colour and rhythmic vitality echoing the music of Dvořák.

Visit artists website
Wednesday 10 July 2.30pm
Castalian String Quartet
Photo © Paul Marc Mitchel

Castalian String Quartet

Wednesday 10 July 2.30pm
St Mary’s Church, Rhossili
SA3 1PL

Name that tune–name the composer?

Griff Harries tells the stories of some composers from across South Wales who wrote melodies which became famous. Featured on film and television, their tunes were sung, whistled and hummed by millions. Sadly not all these composers are remembered: their names have disappeared into the mists of time but their music hasn’t. There will be sound clips, film, surprising facts, controversy, humour and even the chance to join in.

Visit artists website
Wednesday 10 July 7.30pm
Griff Harries

FUN TALK BY
griff harries

Wednesday 10 July 7.30pm
Vestry, Capel y CrwYs, Three Crosses,
SA4 3PU

In the beauty of Llanrhidian Church the Castalian Quartet perform three late masterpieces. Haydn’s ‘Sunrise’ Quartet, Op. 76, is followed by Janáček’s First Quartet, drawing on Moravian folk music, and then Schubert’s great G major Quartet, with its amazing fund of melody and drama.

Visit artists website
Thursday 11 July 7.30pm
Castalian String Quartet
Photo © Paul Marc Mitchel

Castalian String Quartet

Thursday 11 July 7.30pm
St Rhidian & St Illtyd’s Church, Llanrhidian
SA3 1ER

A firm favourite with Gower audiences, Pavel Kolesnikov is one of the most sensitive and thoughtful pianists of his generation, admired for his ability to offer listeners a fresh perspective on familiar music. After an absence of some years we look forward to welcoming him once again.

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Friday 12 July 7.30pm
pavel kolesnikov, piano
Photo © Eva Vermandel

pavel kolesnikov, piano

Friday 12 July 7.30pm
St Peter’s Church, Newton
SA3 4RB

Place holder text

2024 Gower Festival

Book your tickets online

Festival Friends have priority booking. Tickets will be on sale to the general public from April 2024.

Named after the original ‘red priest’, Antonio Vivaldi, this quartet of musicians are famous for their uniquely energetic approach to baroque music, combining technical wizardry and dramatic showmanship. They will bring this year’s festival to an exhilarating conclusion.

Visit artists website
Saturday 13 July 7.30pm
4 Red Priest artists striking a pose.

red priest

Saturday 13 July 7.30pm
Reynoldston Village Hall
SA3 1AA

Maxim Lando is one of the most brilliant and imaginative young pianists to emerge in recent years. His varied programme takes us from ragtime to ‘Frankenstein’, a new work by Lowell Liebermann here receiving its world premiere. We’ll also hear tunes from Stephen Sondheim’s musical Sweeney Todd, a piece by Florence Price, the first African-American classical composer, plus one of Liszt’s most evocative works, his Reminiscences of Don Juan on themes from Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni.  

A thrilling evening.

Visit artists website
Friday 14 July, 7.30 pm
St Paul’s Church, Sketty
Festival information

Become a friend

Benefits of becoming a Friend of the Gower Festival are summarised below, but include the advance booking for concerts, much appreciated as many concerts, particularly at smaller venues, sell out quickly.

download a form

gower festival venues

Map of Gower festival venues

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The Story of the Gower Festival

The Gower Festival has its roots in the long, hot summer of 1976 when Jonathan Beecher, an Oxford cellist, brought a student orchestra and a handful of professional soloists to perform an astonishing series of thirty-one concerts in Gower churches during the last two weeks of August. So many events packed into a fortnight may have been over-ambitious. But the idea of holding a music festival in Gower churches was such a good one that it led to the formation of the Gower Festival Society and in due course to the appointment of John Fussell MBE, Swansea's Director of Music and City Organist, as Artistic Director of the enterprise. More than anyone else, it was John who established the high standards of musical performance and well-chosen repertoire which have characterised the Gower Festival ever since.

Friends of the Gower Festival

We have some wonderful concerts arranged for the 2024 Gower Festival.
Festival Friends have priority booking.

Benefits of becoming a Friend

➢ Advance booking for concerts. This benefit is much appreciated by Friends as many concerts, particularly at smaller venues, sell out quickly.

➢ Regular Festival email updates.

➢ Acknowledgement in the Festival programme.

➢ Opportunities to help with the running of Festival events and to attend the Society’s Annual Meeting.

Annual membership costs £15 per household

You can join in one of four ways:

♦ Contact Mrs Anne Pope, 10 Vowley View, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire SN4 8HT

♦ Email: friends@gowerfestival.org

♦ Download a Gower Festival application form

♦ Pick up an application form at any festival venue.

Gower Festival Friends 100 Club

Don’t miss your chance to support the Gower Festival Society and win cash prizes for yourself!
There are three prize draws per year - July, November and March.

➢ 1st Prize per draw £100

➢ 2nd Prize of £50

➢ 3rd Prizes of £25 (the number of 3rd prizes is dependent on the number of tickets sold per year).
Last year the 100 Club raised over £600 for the Gower Festival - a significant contribution towards the cost of a concert.

The cost of a share is only £12 per year - that’s just £1 per month. You may take out more than one share if you wish.

You can join in one of three ways:

♦ Contact Mrs Anne Pope, 10 Vowley View, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire SN4 8HT

♦ Email: friends@gowerfestival.org

♦ Pick up an application form at any festival venue, or download an application form.

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