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'England's best-kept secret festival'
David Matthews, composer
  

Recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, Little Missenden is a beautiful, unspoilt, English village on the river Misbourne, nestling amongst the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire, near to the town of Amersham.

For 59 unbroken years, the village has hosted the Little Missenden Festival which offers a programme of Music, Literature and Arts of the highest quality. There's something for everyone. Early, baroque, classical and contemporary music, rub shoulders with jazz, folk music, art lectures, poetry and children's events.

The music programme ranges from classic masterworks to the less familiar, but no less intriguing, and features promising young musical talents as well as nationally and internationally famous artists and composers. The Festival prides itself on commissioning original works. From John Tavener’s Greek Interlude (1979), to Laura Jurd’s Jump Cut Shuffle (2016), and Mark Bowden's piece in 2018, the variety of music written for the festival is extraordinary.

Click here to read what Classical Music Magazine said about the Festival 

 

The Church

Most events take place in the ancient village church of St John the Baptist, a small Saxon-cum-Norman building enriched with 12th-17th century wall paintings, dominated by a famous St Christopher. 

A Heritage Lottery Fund grant of more than £300k allowed extensive conservation work on these important artifacts to be undertaken during 2017 and resulted in the discovery of some previously unknown paintings. Scroll down the News Page for more information on these paintings and the grant.

This lovely place has a fine immediate acoustic. Music heard at this intimate range has real impact and presence. A concert here is a very special experience.

 

The Festival Fazioli

Since 2014 we’ve hired Fazioli 228 grand pianos. Born into a family of Italian furniture makers, Paolo Fazioli was obsessed with the piano from an early age. In 1979 he set up his piano business, developing and creating individually hand-crafted pianos to his own designs. A small, specialist firm producing fewer than 150 hand-made instruments of outstanding quality a year, Fazioli now make the instrument of choice for a growing number of leading pianists and concert halls.

Luka Okros (Event 1), Elliot Galvin (Event 3) and John Lenehan (Event 5) will play the Fazioli which has been provided by one of the leading suppliers of concert quality pianos, Jaques Samuel, whom we thank for their continuing support.

Click here for the Fazioli website. Click here for the Jaques Samuel website.

 

Pat Harrison (1905-1998)

 

Had it not been for the commitment and determination of the Festival's founder, Pat Harrison, we would not now be able to look back on such a rich legacy. Click here to read an article from the Amersham Museum website about Pat and the history of the Festival. 

This year we recognise Pat's daughter, composer Ailsa Dixon, who died last year. Her work These things shall be, sets words by late-Victorian poet John Addington Symonds and will be sung by the brilliant young choir Sansara (Event 8).

Several of Ailsa's works were premiered at the Little Missenden Festival in the 1980s, including songs and duets performed by Ian Partridge and Lynne Dawson, Nocturnal Scherzo by the Brindisi Quartet, and Shining Cold by Sally Harrison, Cynthia Millar and members of the Brindisi Quartet.  ​​

Read more about Ailsa Dixon here

Website: www.ailsadixon.co.uk

 
Helping with the Festival

Being a completely volunteer-run organisation we always need offers of help.  People we can call on for a few hours work now and again, and others who can make a bigger time commitment.  We have some tasks that involve specific skills and others that don’t. Click here for a list of things that need doing. If you feel you could help, please write to us: contact@little-missenden.org