SOLACE, escape and hope are at the heart of Ryedale Festival’s online Spring Festival, which marks the start of its 40th anniversary year.

Seven inspiring performances, each approximately 50 minutes, will be filmed and shared over a week in early May, in collaboration with Castle Howard, the Yorkshire Arboretum and award-winning filmmaker Cain Scrimgeour, whose stunning camerawork will capture spring’s arrival in Yorkshire.

To celebrate its anniversary, the festival will reveal 40 headline events in one-off, late-announced bursts, which allows it to remain responsive to the unique circumstances of 2021 and as creative and flexible as possible.

Spring Festival launches on Sunday, May 2, with the duo Michael Collins (clarinet) and Michael McHale (piano) playing Beethoven’s Spring Sonata, a virtuoso showpiece by Widor, and the spellbinding sonata that Poulenc composed for Benny Goodman.

On Monday, May 3, from the stunning Long Gallery at Castle Howard, two of the brightest stars on the British piano scene Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy perform Schubert’s gypsy-inspired masterpiece for piano duet, Divertissement à la hongroise.

The following day, vocal duo Fair Oriana offer a programme mixing renaissance and baroque with flavours of folk, medieval and contemporary music from the Great Hall. Helen Charlston and Christopher Glynn mark a return to the Long Gallery with famous spring-inspired songs by Schumann, Brahms, Copland and Finzi, as well as extracts from Helen’s much-praised Isolation Songbook which she commissioned in 2020.

Thursday, May 6,sees the trademark joie de vivre of the Maxwell Quartet illuminate St Mary’s Church, Ebberston, with one of Haydn’s most sparkling quartets (op.74, no.1), alongside Scottish folk music and a tribute by Anna Meredith to the grungy power pop band Teenage Fanclub she loved as a teenager.

On Friday, May 7, The Immy Churchill Trio sees the fast-rising jazz vocalist join friends to celebrate the arrival of spring with a late-night session of jazz standards from the Great American Songbook at Helmsley Arts Centre.

Finishing the spring celebrations at Castle Howard, the virtuosic London Mozart Players and Ruth Rogers perform a programme of Grieg’s Holberg Suite, Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending and Vivaldi’s Spring from The Four Seasons.

The Spring Festival season will be available to view on RyeStream until the end of May. Each concert is free-to-view but donations in support of the festival would be welcome.

Director of Ryedale Festival, Christopher Glynn said: “We are delighted with our Spring Festival, which promises to be a wonderful mix of great music in beautiful places.

"I asked our fantastic line-up of performers to reflect a hopeful, springtime theme in their programmes which we’ll interleave with footage specially created by the superb wildlife filmmaker, Cain Scrimgeour, who is spending several days capturing spring's arrival in and around the Yorkshire Arboretum."

On Friday, June 4, at Pickering Parish Church, in-person music making returns to the Ryedale Festival. World-renowned violinist Nicola Benedetti opens her festival residency and launches Ryedale’s 40th Anniversary Season: Live and in Person series, by joining her regular chamber music partners to perform one of Beethoven’s wittiest and most loveable works and an inspired piano trio by Brahms.

Christopher Glynn said: “There will be no brochure and no ‘big-reveal’ of the programme this year. Instead, our 40th anniversary will be a 'build-as-we-go' festival, where the full 40-piece jigsaw gradually comes into view.”

The programme for Ryedale’s Summer Festival, from July 16 to August 1, will consist of 40 headline events, some of which may also be repeated or shared on RyeStream. Artists will include Jess Gillam, Isata Kanneh-Mason, Coco Tomita, Abel Selacoe and BBC Big Band.