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Durham University

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A classical start to the Durham Festival of Arts 2018

(4 June 2018)

Durham Festival of Arts 2018 opened with a spectacular ‘Beyond The Realms’ concert in the City’s majestic Cathedral.

The 250-strong ensemble included performers from Durham University’s Orchestral Society, its Chamber Choir, and the celebrated acapella group ‘Northern Lights’, as well as the University’s Big Band, Choral Society, and Concert Band. 

Around 300 local classical music devotees filled the Cathedral’s atmospheric Nave – which is almost 1,000 years old – to listen to a rich range of performances, united under a ‘supernatural’ theme.

A Musical University

Durham University is currently ranked first in The Complete University Guide’s 2019 University Subject Tables for Music – which ranks 85 Music departments in the UK according to student satisfaction, graduate prospects, research quality, and entry standards.

The world-renowned opera singer Sir Thomas Allen is Chancellor of Durham University. Famous musical alumni include Ralph Allwood, former Director of Music at Eton College, and Patrick Hawes, ex-Classic FM Composer in Residence. 

Director of Experience Durham, Quentin Sloper, said: “Whenever I watch our students perform I am always mesmerised by their quality and professionalism and it goes without saying that they once again excelled expectations tonight. The concert was a fantastic opening to this year’s festival, which draws together some of the City’s finest creative talents."

Durham Cathedral’s Head of Marketing and Events, Ruth Robson, said “We are always delighted to welcome Music Durham and the student music societies to the Cathedral. They are amongst the best student musicians in the country and their performances are always extremely polished and well executed. Last Friday’s concert was no exception.

“We look forward to the remainder of the Festival of the Arts.”

Durham Festival Of Arts 2018

Each year the concert marks the beginning of a three week-long festival of music, comedy, art, and theatre – coming together to be one of the City’s biggest and most popular cultural events of the year.

Mr Sloper continued: “The annual Durham Festival of the Arts is one of the highlights of the year. The Festival weaves together a wealth of artistic and photography exhibitions, alongside musical, comedy, and theatrical performances in a way that few other Universities can match.

“It is great to see so many members of the local and regional community enjoying the entertainment – the performances and exhibitions certainly add a little more colour and depth to our lives and help to make June a very special month.”

This year’s festival also includes a range of ‘masterclasses’ in which local people can try something new, expand their knowledge, and even discover a new love or hobby. Masterclass subjects include brass, voice, organ, and gamelan.

Durham Festival of the Arts – organised by the University’s Music Durham and Durham Student Theatre teams – runs from 1 to 25 June 2018. For more information, please visit:

Related links

Durham Festival of the Arts

Durham City Arts Festival

Durham Cathedral

Music at Durham University