MARTIN Roscoe, one of Britain’s leading pianists, will be among a glittering line-up of internationally-renowned musicians performing in the tranquility of Brathay Church, near Ambleside, throughout the weekend of June 1-4. The first Brathay Festival of Music, which follows extensive refurbishment of the church, also features the Fitzwilliam String Quartet and award-winning Voces8.

The Fitzwilliam opens festival weekend with a concert on Friday evening, June 1, preceded by a talk from the only remaining founder member, Alan George.

Saturday evening’s performers will be Voces8, an English capella octet founded in 2003, whose repertoire embraces works from Bach to Gershwin, and on Sunday the church receives its rededication by the Bishop of Carlisle with a special appearance from Carlisle Cathedral Choir.

Meanwhile, on Bank Holiday Monday, June 4, there will be a lunchtime recital featuring Chinese guitarist Xuefei Yang. Born in the turbulent years following the Cultural Revolution, Fei Yang, who has made the UK her home, was a pioneer of guitar playing in China, and the first Chinese guitarist to gain international repute.

The festival concludes on the Monday evening with a recital by Ulverston-based Martin Roscoe, who has shared the stage as soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras, and a veteran of numerous BBC Promenade concerts.

The sensitive modernisation and restoration of the Italianate church also includes the organ and facilities. Outside the church, access has been improved with the addition of a woodland path and below the churchyard, beside the river, the disused Sunday school and neighbouring cottage have been transformed into a church hall with extensive facilities.

The poet William Wordsworth said of the church site in 1837 that ‘there is no situation out of the Alps, nor among them, more beautiful than that where this building is placed.’ Festival chairman, church organist and well-known choral conductor Peter Frost said that although primarily a church, as a performing space Brathay was enhanced by its music and fine acoustic.

He added: “The extent of the refurbishment work, if anything, has only served to improve the atmosphere of the building, such is the craftsmanship of stonemasonry and the quality of the woodwork.”For further information and tickets visit