Leeds Lieder has ‘fully realised its potential and become an event of international stature. It attracts a large, loyal and knowledgeable audience, and not just from the locality’
Opera Now



Ten Festivals and a Pandemic! In 2004 a group of passionate, visionary song enthusiasts began programming recitals in Leeds and this venture has steadily grown to become the jam-packed season we now enjoy. With multiple artistic partners and thousands of individuals attending our events every year, Leeds Lieder is a true cultural success story. 2020 was certainly a year of reacting nimbly and working in new paradigms. We turned Leeds Lieder into its own broadcaster and went digital. It has been extremely rewarding to connect with audiences all over the world throughout the past 12 months, and to support artists both internationally known and just starting out. The support of our Friends and the generosity shown by our audiences has meant that we have been able to continue our award-winning education programmes online, commission new works and provide valuable training for young artists. In 2021 we have invited more musicians than ever before to appear in our Festival and for the first time we look forward to being hosted by Leeds Town Hall. The art of the song recital continues to be relevant and flourish in Yorkshire.

As the finest Festival of art song in the North, we continue to provide a platform for international stars to rub shoulders with the next generation of emerging musicians. However, at the 2021 Festival, we want to place the audience centre stage – we have missed you, and we cannot wait to share music with you once again! Turn to the closing recital and you can read more about your starring role! We enjoyed socially distanced recitals in Leeds Town Hall in the Autumn and feel confident that, Government Guidelines permitting, we can present a Festival you will enjoy in person and feel safe attending. Please see the back inside page for our Covid Safe Information. For those who have enjoyed our Livestreams, you can enjoy every event from the comfort of your home. Information about purchasing livestream tickets can also be found at the back of this brochure.

Our Young Artists will perform across the weekend and work with Dame Felicity Lott, James Gilchrist, Anna Tilbrook, Sir Thomas Allen and Iain Burnside. Iain has also programmed a fascinating music theatre piece for the opening lunchtime recital. New talent is on evidence at every turn in this Festival. Ema Nikolovska and William Thomas return, and young instrumentalists join Mark Padmore for an evening presenting the complete Canticles by Britten. I’m also thrilled to welcome Alice Coote in her Leeds Lieder début. A recital not to miss. The peerless Graham Johnson appears with one of his Songmakers’ Almanac programmes and we welcome back Leeds Lieder favourites Roderick Williams, Carolyn Sampson and James Gilchrist.

Our last season was our most ambitious to date, and we are unashamed in boasting about our growth in audience: a staggering 60% increase in the past four years. Let’s keep this upward trajectory! Our exciting Learning and Participation programme which opens up creative music-making to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities allows many more individuals to take delight in our events. Around 1000 school children will learn songs through our education programmes this year alone.

Ticket sales and public funding provide around half of Leeds Lieder’s income and the remainder comes from the most generous philanthropic support, without which the scope of our programming and artistic vision would be compromised. Our audiences prove to be our greatest supporters and we remain immensely grateful to all our Friends. Every gift, no matter what size, really does make a difference. Visit our supporters page on the website if you’d like more information about how you can help shape culture in Leeds. I hope you like what is on over over the next few pages and I look forward to welcoming you to this Festival. I feel confident it will be a very special few days.

With all best wishes,
Joseph Middleton – Director