2022 Buxton International Festival Highlights

Buxton International Festival’s northern lights will shine brighter than ever this summer with 17 days of operas, concerts, a musical, an oratorio, books, walks, lifestyle events, and a brand-new jazz programme, providing entertainment from morning ‘til night in the heart of Derbyshire’s Peak District between 7 and 24 July 2022.  Alongside the Festival’s schedule of world-class live performances across its six venues, there is an emphasis on participatory events this year with lively audience debates as well as opportunities to sing, dance and walk.

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Headline events in this year’s Festival include five operas and a musical, including three new productions:


Jazz director Neil Hughes introduces a brand-new jazz programme for BIF including a Festival-within-a-Festival for the opening weekend, based in a specially created jazz club at Buxton’s Palace Hotel.

Canadian trumpeter Jay Phelps opens BIF Jazz on 7 July and on 8 July Ian Shaw and Guy Barker launch a brand-new show telling tales from the city. Later that evening, a Swingtime Big Band featuring Emma Holcroft with 18 musicians led by Jez Murphy perform at the Pavilion Arts Centre joined by specials guests Ian Shaw and Guy Barker. To end the day Buxton violinist Graham Clark and his quartet perform back at the Palace Hotel.

On 9 July, The Impossible Gentlemen, founded by Gwilym Simcock and Mike Walker, appear with new bass and drum superstars, Laurence Cottle and Ian Thomas in the Ballroom at The Palace Hotel, a fantastic coup for BIF. On 10 July, the Festival features the AMC Gospel Choir, the Xhosa Cole Quartet, Clare Teal headlining a brand-new show at the Buxton Opera House with The Clare Teal Seven, and the Kirk McElhinney Trio end the first weekend with some mellow urban folk. Seven more jazz events follow during the Festival including the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Ray Davies Songbook.


BIF is proud to present a specially commissioned oratorio, Our Future In Your Hands, composed by Kate Whitley and written by Laura Attridge (10 and 17 July).

Over the last twenty years the global scientific community has been raising the alarm about climate change and this work, with soloists Fiona Finsbury, Rhiannon Doogan and Edward Robinson and a huge community cast, give voice to the hopes and fears of the young people who will one day inherit our world.

The concert is in collaboration with the Royal Overseas League, with members of the Northern Chamber Orchestra and the Festival’s Young Instrumentalist Programme.  With thanks to the PRS Foundation, Granada Foundation, Golden Jubilee Trust (via ROSL), The D’Oyly Care Charitable Trust, Ida Carroll Trust, Borletti-Buitoni Trust, Samuel Gardner Memorial Trust, Andre Bernheim Trust, RVW Trust, Bingham Trust, Orchestra Live.

There’s also a chance to come and sing Haydn’s The Creation on Saturday 23 July.  Join Buxton Musical Society Chorus and Orchestra for a morning rehearsal workshop, led by the inspirational Jack Apperley (Assistant Chorus Master of the London Symphony Chorus), followed by an afternoon orchestral rehearsal and evening performance.  Applications to join the chorus are available from the Buxton Musical Society website until 24 June 2022.

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The Brodsky Quartet and Manchester Camerata, both founded in Manchester and both celebrating their 50th birthdays this year will give a special joint concert with Jess Gillam. These two ensembles have been at the centre of music-making in the north since the 70s so it’s only fitting that they will be celebrating together (and separately) with concerts at Buxton. These old favourites sit alongside new talent including soprano Louise Alder, pianist Jeneba Kanneh-Mason, the Mithras Trio (BBC New Generation Artists) and cellist Jamal Aliyev.

The English Concert returns, this time with soprano Anna Dennis and the ever-innovative pianist, Joanna MacGregor CBE.  BIF continues its long association with Chetham’s School of Music for its popular Spotlight on Chetham’s as well as showcasing this year’s Royal Overseas League competition winner, violinist Eleanor CorrIestyn Davies and Christopher Maltman both give song recitals and Fretwork, the world’s leading consort of viols, makes its Buxton debut.  Other ensembles include the Jess Gillam Ensemble, Gould Piano Trio, the Solem Quartet, the Chroma Harp Duo, the Delphine Trio and the Solus Trumpet Ensemble.


The strength of this year’s BIF Book Festival is its sheer breadth, with insight and discussion on history, heritage, politics, pioneers, the climate crisis, the environment, mathematics, law and biographies.  This summer’s speakers are represented by the young and old, and the near and far, in Buxton and with Booker Prize winner Damon Galgut, live from Cape Town.  There is also a mash up of music and books, unique to Buxton, with musical interludes within events.

Our history and heritage are represented by Sir Simon Jenkins, Simon Thurley, Anna Keay and Tristram Hunt who have headed institutions from the National Trust to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Across a broad chronological sweep, the Buxton stage will also see Toby Wilkinson analysing the objects within Tutankhamun’s Tomb; Tom Nancollas discussing Britain’s maritime legacy; Robert Sackville-West and Lindsey Fitzharris offering a very different perspective of the immediate aftermath of the First World War; Giles Milton returning with a look at another aftermath, that of Berlin in 1945; and David Kynaston looking at the watershed moment of 1962 as part of his monumental Tales of a New Jerusalem series.

Politics is a heady cocktail with an impressive line-up of guests – Lord Patten returns to Buxton 25 years after he negotiated the handover of Hong Kong to the Chinese; Rory Stewart is a polymath and diplomat whose knowledge of the world genuinely transcends political allegiance; Lady Hale was president of the Supreme Court that delivered the judgment that the Prime Minister was wrong to suspend Parliament at a critical time for Brexit. Following on from 2021’s enjoyable and provoking ‘Prime Ministers’ panel, Iain Dale returns for ‘The Presidents’ – Colleen Graffy with a view from within the White House, Sir Christopher Meyer participating within the British Embassy in Washington, and Justin Webb reporting for the BBC.

The climate crisis and its environmental impact is questioned by Guardian columnist George Monbiot. Sarah Langford and Jake Fiennes both look to a hopeful future for food, nature and British farming. Karen Lloyd, in her new book Abundance: Nature in Recovery, looks to restoration and repair, while Tim Birkhead looks at our cultural need for the natural world.


The Festival’s Walks combine history and nature with short walks around Buxton and its environs – this summer’s walk titles include Women of Note, Vera Brittain at the Devonshire Dome, All Ale and Higher Buxton, Church Matters, Common People and Wildlife Walks with Mark Cocker.  Visitors are also invited to dance with the Buxton Festival Dance Band, banter with bakers or join a sing-along of Haydn’s Creation.

Booking Dates

Public booking is now open!

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