Welcome to the Southern Cathedrals Festival 2023

14 - 16 July 2023 in Chichester Cathedral

Cathedral music is truly one of this country's national treasures. The Southern Cathedrals Festival offers a unique opportunity to enjoy music and to take part in worship within the setting of three magnificent cathedrals. We cherish the friendship between our three Cathedrals, a family to which our musicians, patrons, worshippers and audience members belong. It offers sacred choral and organ music performed to the very highest standard by the three cathedrals' renowned choirs. The choirs will be performing separately and together and will be complemented by visiting performers. The music is presented in concerts and within worship.

We are delighted to invite you to the Southern Cathedrals Festival 2023. A varied programmes of events, performances and services will be offered in Chichester Cathedral and in other iconic venues around the city centre.

The Festival celebrates the music of two towering figures of English music, William Byrd and Thomas Weelkes, both of whose 400th anniversaries fall this year. The achievements of Byrd, one of the great Renaissance polyphonists, rank alongside those of Palestrina, Victoria and Lassus in the history of European culture. Thomas Weelkes is of special interest here at Chichester Cathedral, where he was Organist and Master of the Choristers for much of his career. His reputation as a ‘notorious drunkard and blasphemer’ is at odds with the beauty of his musical output, which includes some of the finest Elizabethan madrigals, instrumental works, and (of course) anthems and service settings. The final concert, for which we will be joined by the renowned Rose Consort of Viols, will feature music by these two composers, with later works by Parry and Stanford. 

The Festival Eucharist will be adorned by Frank Martin’s masterpiece, the Mass for Double Choir, a work that the composer withheld for forty years after its composition. Young soprano Natasha Page gives a recital in the beautiful surroundings of Pallant House Gallery, and Colin Walsh, a leading exponent of French organ repertoire, gives a concert on the Cathedral’s distinctive Mander/Hill instrument. 

The Festival is a joyful expression of the friendship between our three cathedrals. We look forward to welcoming our extended family of audience members, worshippers, patrons, sponsors and musicians, and to sharing the Festival with you.

Download the SCF 2023 Brochure