SEDBERGH Music Festival is back with world class pianist Ashley Wass topping the bill.

One of the judges of the 2014 BBC Young Musician of the Year, Ashley is firmly established as one of the leading performers of his generation. He is the only British winner of the London International Piano Competition, prizewinner at the Leeds Piano Competition, and a former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist.

An acclaimed recording artist and increasingly in demand on the international stage, Ashley has performed at many of the world’s finest concert halls and plays Sedbergh’s St Andrew’s Church on Wednesday, June 11 (8pm).

Running from Sunday (June 1) until June 15, the grand Sedbergh gathering is once again packed with quality music.

Manchester Gospel Choir opens the festival on Sunday followed by Five-in-a-Bar’s Songs of Meaning sung with Feeling on Monday, June 2 (8.30pm), and on Tuesday, June 3 (8pm), Salsa Pa' Gozar, a six-piece salsa band, perform with percussionist Ric Parmigiani, a permanent member of the Halle Orchestra.

Another massive boost for this year’s festival is the return of the spectacular Cottontown Chorus, whose amazing singers brought the house down on their last visit.

As far as barbershop singing is concerned they don’t come much bigger and better than the Bolton-based outfit, current British Champions for a record fifth consecutive time, Renowned for a great sense of fun and a unique style of entertainment, the chorus heads for an International Convention in Las Vegas in July where Cottontown’s stirring harmonies, emotional lyrics, exciting choreography and visual effects will grace the stage of the 8,000-seater MGM Grand.

With 24 events, the 2014 festival features a diverse programme of music - there are song recitals, string quartets, the complete Beethoven cello sonatas, and solo violin recitals, organ recitals, medieval crumhorns and sackbuts from Cornucopia (Tuesday, June 10, 8pm), as well as a performance by the highly regarded Sedbergh Town Band, on Wednesday, June 4.

Local youth theatre Barrel of Fun host a lively evening showcasing the diversity of the group on Friday, June 6 (7.30pm), touching particularly on the festival theme of the First World War.

Sedbergh Orchestra perform Music in Time of War on Thursday, June 12 (8pm), a skilfully structured programme based around the 1900-1918 period in Europe with works by Sibelius, Respighi, Gournod, Butterworth, Jacob, Cecil Coles, as well as Edward Elgar.

Celebrated Ukrainian soprano Alla Kravchuk appears on Friday, June 13 (8pm), performing an exciting repertoire from grand opera to lieder, accompanied by pianist Simon Phillips.

And last, and by no means, least, comes the rousing, uplifting finale to this year’s festival - Handel’s The Messiah on Saturday, June 14 (7pm), under the baton of Tim Brown, former director of music at Clare College, Cambridge, who conducts soloists and Sedbergh’s own Festival Chorus and instrumental ensemble.

All festival events are staged a St Andrew’s Church, Sedbergh.

Box office 015396-20125 or from Sedbergh Community Information Centre.

Dinners can also be booked.