21st Century

Hereford 2000

Francis Grier’s Around the Curve of the World, and the first performances of Judith Weir’s Otherworld and Kenneth Leighton’s Concerto for Oboe and Strings.

Gloucester 2001

The Festival was billed as ‘A Celebration of British Music’ and included the first public performance of Whispers of Heavenly Death by Vaughan Williams and the first Three Choirs performance of A Mass of Life by Delius.

Worcester 2002

The first performance of  The Vision of Piers Plowman by Andrew Gant.

Hereford 2003

Geraint Bowen’s first festival as Artistic Director at Hereford. The first performance of Air and Angels by Anthony Powers.

Gloucester 2004

Andrew Nethsingha’s first festival as Artistic Director at Gloucester. Five composers were each invited to contribute a variation on ‘Down Ampney’ as an orchestral tribute to Ralph Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Variations on Down Ampney. The five were John McCabe, James Francis Brown, Judith Bingham, David Matthews and Robert Saxton. The new work was conducted by Martyn Brabbins.

Worcester 2005

Adrian Lucas’s Creation Canticles. The first performance of Songs of Truth and Glory by Howard Blake.

Hereford 2006

The UK première of Sun-Dogs by James MacMillan, conducted by the composer. The first Three Choirs performance of Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri.

Gloucester 2007

The UK première of Robin Holloway’s orchestration of Debussy’s En blanc et noir, originally for two pianos. Unfortunately, a scheduled performance of the First Symphony by Arnold Bax had to be abandoned following the collapse of the conductor, the late Vernon Handley, during a rehearsal.

Worcester 2008

The first performance of A British Symphony by Andrew Gant and an innovation: an orchestral concert of Classic British Film Music.

Hereford 2009

First UK performance by David Briggs of his composition Three Preludes & Fugues: Hommage à Marcel Dupré (2009). World premiere of the newly-commissioned orchestral version of John McCabe Songs of the Garden. UK premiere of John McCabe Les martinets noirs.

Gloucester 2010

Adrian Partington’s first festival as Artistic Director of Gloucester. World premiere of festival commission John Joubert  Jubilate  at the Opening Service. World premiere of festival commission John Joubert An English Requiem conducted by Adrian Partington. The first in our new masterclass initiative for aspiring professionals from UK music colleges filmed by the Masterclass Media Foundation, a Choral Masterclass with Simon Carrington. Centenary performance of Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis written for the Gloucester Festival in 1910, conducted by Sir Roger Norrington without vibrato! First performance of Ivor Gurney A Gloucestershire Rhapsody written in 1921 but never performed, edited for this premiere by Philip Lancaster and Ian Venables. Debut performance of the newly formed Three Choirs Festival Youth Choir.

Worcester 2011

World premiere of festival commission by Cheryl Frances-Hoad Songs and Dances written for cellist Jamie Walton. First use by the Festival of ‘surround sound’ for the performance of John Adams On the Transmigration of Souls. World premiere of festival commission by David Briggs – an organ transcription of Elgar Symphony No 2 performed by David himself to commemorate the centenary of its composition. World premiere of festival commission by Jackson Hill Still in remembrance. World premiere of festival commission by Ian King A Worcestershire Song Cycle with words by Chris Jaeger. World premiere of festival commission by Nicholas Brown On the Operations of the Sun.

Hereford 2012

The start of a formal three-year residency for the Philharmonia Orchestra. World premiere of festival commission by Dobrinka Tabakova Centuries of Meditation. World premiere of David Briggs Piano Sonata, Bernard Hughes All Across this Jumbl’d Earth,  Richard Rodney Bennett One Equal Music, Francis Pott The love of God is in Eternity. English premiere of Judith Bingham Celticity. First performance at the Festival of Dyson The Canterbury Pilgrims. Dame Felicity Lott appointed as President of the TCF Society.

Gloucester 2013

Centenary performance of Sibelius Luonnatar (commissioned for Gloucester in 1913). World Premiere of Venite by James d’Angelo, Fanfare by John Hardy and The Bargee’s Wife and a song cycle by John O’Hara. First appearance at the festival of conductors Vladimir Ashkenazy and Edward Gardner.

Worcester 2014

Peter Nardone’s first festival as Artistic Director of Worcester. World premiere of festival commission by Torsten Rasch A Foreign Field, commissioned jointly with Chemnitz Opera to commemorate events in the First and Second World Wars.

Hereford 2015

Celebration of the festival's 300th anniversary marked by performances of masterpieces of the repertoire from the three centuries including Beethoven Missa Solemnis, Verdi Requiem, The Dream of Gerontius, Bernstein Chichester Psalms. Period instruments played at Opening Service which included music by Purcell and Handel that would have been familiar to early concert-goers. Seven premieres: Three Choirs Service (Mag & Nunc) by Bob Chilcott; two Song cycles A swift radiant morning by Rhian Samuel for Roderick Williams (baritone) and Susie Allen (piano) and A Welsh Night by Torsten Rasch for Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano) and Joseph Middleton (piano); Prayer of Thomas Ken by George Arthur, an introit for Hereford Cathedral Voluntary Choir chosen through an anniversary competition; Alec Roth Stargazer for Voces 8; Anthony Powers O Gott du frommer Gott, for organist John Scott who gave his last recital in England at the festival; Pete Churchill Echoes: A Song of Poland for The Gathering Wave community choir project. Sir Andrew Davis conducted rarity Morning Heroes by Arthur Bliss and the Philharmonia performed Messiaen's Turangalîla-symphonie to great acclaim, probably the first time the work had been heard in any Three Choirs city.

The Three Choirs Festival Foundation was launched with a reception at the House of Lords in January 2015 and the anniversary year concluded with a performance in the State Ballroom of Buckingham Palace on 24 November, in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales, President of the Three Choirs Festival. The massed Three Choirs Festival Chorus, Youth Choir and Three Cathedral Choirs were conducted by Geraint Bowen, Peter Nardone and Adrian Partington and the organ was played by Christopher Allsop, Peter Dyke and Jonathan Hope. Brass players from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama also took part.