University Events

Newcastle Early Music Festival

Early Music @ Newcastle

Festival background

The Newcastle Early Music Festival was founded in 1996 with the aim of bringing together many of the best early music practitioners in the region alongside some of the leading names on the national and international early music scene.  The festival, normally held each spring, was relaunched and renamed in 2020 as Early Music @ Newcastle.  The festival offers an exciting programme of early music to audiences, whether virtually or in person, depending on circumstances,  in the North East.

The Newcastle Early Music Festival was established as a joint promotion between Newcastle University’s International Centre for Music Studies and Newcastle Baroque, the North-East based period instrument orchestra using primarily players from the region.  The orchestra, founded by trumpeter George Parnaby, has worked with various directors over the years including Catherine Mackintosh, Simon Jones and Adrian Chandler. The Festival has developed to promote historically-informed performance using instruments and performance styles appropriate to the particular work being performed, reflecting the historical and social context of its origins.  Over the years the Festival has included a wide range of different musics from different periods, with concerts of early folk music and jazz, and has worked with leading artists such as Dame Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, Crispian Steele-Perkins and Anthony Robson.


In response to present circumstances, this year’s Early Music @ Newcastle has moved entirely online. Some of our planned events have proved impossible due to travel and venue restrictions, so alongside a couple of concerts, via our LIVE Concerts at Home series, we have pulled together a series of a dozen short videos and podcasts that will be released in pairs each week across the latter part of February to the end of March.  These range from short concerts exploring particular repertoire and lecture/demonstrations from leading exponents of historic brass instruments, to talks on music-making in 17th and 18th century Newcastle.  

These 10-15 minute podcasts will be released at 11.00am and 11.30am on Wednesday mornings, but will then be accessible at any time during the following weeks.  The podcasts will be accessible via our YouTube channel, and via Facebook - the exact links will be updated on King's Hall website in due course, and also sent via email to this mailing list.

We kickstart our first podcast on 17th February at 11.00am by Russell Gilmour, a natural trumpet specialist, who will be talking about'Perfecting' the natural trumpet - the English slide trumpet from c.1784-c.1830

This is followed at 11.30am the same day, with a talk by Adrian France, bass trombone and period trombonist, who will be discussingThe trombone and its development within Beethoven's music.

The Festival starts on Thursday 11th February 2021 with a Lunchtime Concert, via LIVE Concerts at Home, with Daniel Moult performing organ music by Sweelinck, Byrd, Jacques Boyvin, and Mendelssohn.

For details of all the podcasts, and the LIVE Concerts at Home series, please visit