St Christopher  



Our Patron

We're proud to welcome distinguished composer David Matthews as our Patron. His work has often been featured at the Festival. Only last year, Sarah-Jane Bradley played Sonatina for Viola and Piano op141 which David wrote for her.

"I am delighted to have been asked to become Patron of the Little Missenden Festival, which I have been attending regularly for nearly 30 years, ever since Richard Drakeford commissioned my 6th Quartet for the 1991 Festival. Some time ago I described Little Missenden as 'England's best-kept secret festival', and that still seems to sum it up rather well. Every year there are unusual concerts of a very high standard played to discerning and highly appreciative audiences, who are not afraid of contemporary music. I look forward to many more visits, and hope that the Festival will never lose its spirit of adventure." David Matthews


Best Country Pub in Britain

Congratulations to Trevor and Carolyn How at The Crown Inn named 'Best Country Pub 2019' in The Good Pub Guide - all the more reason to visit Little Missenden during the Festival! Read the story here


Ailsa Dixon
Dobrinka Tabakova, Ailsa Dixon and Cheryl Frances Hoad July 2017
Courtesy of the London Oriana Choir/Kathleen Holman

Daughter of Little Missenden Festival founder Pat Harrison, Ailsa Dixon grew up in Little Missenden and followed a musical career. Her interest in composing was developed while reading music at Durham University in the 1950s.

Several of Ailsa's compositions were premiered at the Festival during the 1980s, but with no agent and little interest in self-promotion, much of her work never saw the light of day. One such piece is the anthem These things shall be which lay in manuscript for 30 years, until it was chosen as part of the Five15 project highlighting the work of women composers and premiered in July 2017 by the London Oriana Choir - shortly before Ailsa died.

It also formed part of Sansara's programme of choral works during the 2018 Festival. Read more about Ailsa Dixon or go to her website



Dennis Cox
Michael Garrick's 2002 CD featuring 'Green and Pleasant Land ' commissioned by Dennis Cox and recorded live in the Church

The Festival was very sorry to learn of the death of Dennis Cox, who served on our programme committee for many years.

It was Dennis who introduced jazz sessions to the Little Missenden programme; who first brought Stan Tracey to Little Missenden; commissioned Michael Garrick to write a piece for us (Green and Pleasant Land); and introduced us to a galaxy of other jazz talents. He had great love and enthusiasm for jazz in all its forms, an encyclopaedic knowledge of jazz musicians, and a great set of contacts with performers and jazz journalists. 

Dennis left our committee in 2010 after moving to Henley-upon-Thames, where he started organising a stream of local jazz activities. A most amiable colleague who will be missed by all who knew him.

Alan Hedges, Festival Chairman


Radio 3 broadcasts Robert Smith recital

We're delighted that Robert Smith's recital of the 'lost' Telemann Fantasias for solo Viola da Gamba (recorded live in the Church by BBC Radio 3) was broadcast on New Year's Eve 2017 during The Early Music Show. These remarkable pieces were written in 1735. Thought lost, they were discovered nearly three hundred years later. Click here to read Robert's appraisal of the music he plays. His recording of all twelve Fantasias is available from Resonus Classics on CD or to download (click here). For more about the concert, click here


'New' wall paintings found at Little Missenden Church


Click here to listen to Amanda Bolt at Wycombe Sound as she interviews Church Treasurer, John Lamb, and Conservator, Richard Lithgow, about the previously unknown early wall paintings that have been discovered during the Heritage Lottery Funded conservation work being undertaken by the Perry Lithgow Partnership

Click here to see the conservation work that led to the discovery of these important paintings


Fieri win Cambridge Early Music prize at York Festival


"I awarded the Cambridge Early Music prize at the York Early Music Festival International Young Artists Competition to the Fieri Consort because they are great communicators with the audience, sing with immaculate poise and tuning, and have a great breadth of interesting repertoire" John Bickley Trustee, Cambridge Early Music

To read what Paul James, Director General of the European Union Baroque Orchestra (EUBO), had to say about their performance, click here

Fieri were featured artists at the Festival on Wed 18 October 2017 (click here for details)


Heard the one about the bassist on the bus?

The old joke may well go, 'How on earth do you get that under your chin?', but Jasper Høiby, bass player with Malija, has found a way to make travelling with such a cumbersome instrument rather easier. Watch him get ready for yet another trip within his busy schedule...

Malija were the featured artists at our Festival Jazz event on Sat 14 October 2017 (click here for details)


Lottery Funding for St John the Baptist


Earl Howe and the Reverend John Simpson

The Parish Church of St John the Baptist is being supported by the National Lottery grant’s Heritage Lottery Fund for its Christopher Project, which aims to clean, protect and conserve a series of ancient wall paintings, which have been described as an “exceptional ensemble of paintings of different periods and certainly of national importance” by the Courtauld Institute of Art.

The church will receive £305,000 for the project, which will also see the installation of new lighting, plaster repairs, the limewashing of the walls, and improved environmental controls, all designed to “maximise the presentation of the paintings and to ensure their long-term conservation”, plus the creation of an information and education area for visitors.

Earl Howe, Minister of State for Defence and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, who is patron of the church and project, said it would give existing church visitors “opportunities for deeper engagement with the wall paintings and church heritage”.

He added that the project would also attract new audiences, such as schools, families and young people.

(This news item courtesy of The Bucks Free Press. Click here for the full article and photographs. Click here for the Newspaper's Homepage)


A Bit of Fun with Midsomer Murders


Actress Jane Wymark (who played Joyce Barnaby in the popular TV series) talks to the Reverend John Simpson about the day Mark Gatiss set fire to his beautiful church!

Click here to find out what happened...