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Science & Music


June is a jam packed month for Cheltenham Festivals – with six days of debate and discovery at the Science Festival from 7-12 June, and ten days of classical brilliance at the Music Festival kicking off from 29 June. With so many fantastic festivals to enjoy, here is our guide to some of the inspiring, entertaining and uplifting events you can enjoy over the coming month.

The Times Cheltenham Science Festival
The Science Festival celebrates its tenth anniversary with the biggest and most exciting programme yet. The big questions will be dsicussed, debated, explored and experimented with in over 200 fun and inspiring events. The festival is proving to be hugely popular with lots of events already sold out – but there’s still time to get your last minute science-fix.

All the big issues will come under the festival microscope. Modern technology takes centre stage as the festival delves into GPS, genomes and green energy; healthcare is examined as the festival asks how climate change affects health, explores the chemicals in cannabis and discusses how mobile phones can improve healthcare; and the festival gets inside your head as it explores every aspect of psychology – from schizophrenia to an obsession with excess. The festival is just a great place to ask all those questions you’ve been yearning to ask but were afraid to ask – the specialist speakers all really know their stuff and really welcome audience questions.

The Science Festival is so much more than a series of lectures - it’s a Festival too and that means comedy, cabaret, a special blend of the absurd and some truly unforgettable moments. Think Glastonbury meets the Royal Society and you’re getting there! Bring some friends along for an evening out with a difference and experience food and wine tasting as you’ve never known it before with the Microbial Taster Menu, escape to an evening of dance, music, image and poetry sure to raise a Shiver and discover a new view of life and the environment with songs, sketches and surprises in Gaia: the Cabaret.

Look out for Professor Lord Winston, comedian Robin Ince, psychologist Tanya Byron and Coast presenter Alice Roberts all making appearances throughout the festival. Writer and comedian Mark Steel has even put together a brand new lecture just for the festival – all about migration.

If you’ve never been to the Science festival before – the Discover Zone is a great place to start. It’s a completely free, interactive exhibition space in Cheltenham Town Hall You can get really hands on and explore science in a whole new way. For the first time this year, there is also an ‘adult-only’ interactive space – Area 42. Here you will be able to get hands-on with the very latest in gadgets and tech.

The science festival runs from 7-12 June and features something for all inspired minds – no matter what age or scientific qualifications! So join in, take a chance and see the world in a whole new way.

HSBC Cheltenham Music Festival
At the end of the month festival thoughts turn from explosions and debate to stylish concerts with world class performers as the Music Festival takes over the town. The 2011 programme features top-notch performers, mainstage classics and cutting-edge contemporary music, alongside some unexpected treats – including a series of events exploring the links between maths and music, a host of family friendly fun, and a range of exciting films and exhibitions.

The Music Festival is internationally renowned for the quality of programming and this year Cheltenham welcomes some true classical greats. The festival kicks off with a rare performance from top percussionist Evelyn Glennie. Evelyn’s concert includes the world premiere of a cocktail-inspired commission by Joseph Phibbs – so a cocktail shaker is bound to feature! Leif Ove Andsnes is an exceptional pianist, and an unrivalled superstar in Norway. His festival debut includes pieces by Beethoven and Brahms and is a really unique chance to experience world-class talent right in your home town.

Seeing a full orchestra in Cheltenham Town Hall is one of the great music festival experiences, and this year’s line-up sees two of the country’s best take to the stage. Taking a night off from their summertime Glyndebourne residency, The London Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski will perform a sensational programme of Brahms, Wagner and Strauss. The second night of orchestral brilliance sees pianist Borsi Giltburg join Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in an all Russian programme with conductor Kirill Karabits. The repertoire fetaures Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto – this year voted as the nation’s favourite classical piece on Classic FM, and much loved for its starring role in Brief Encounter.

The festival makes the most of its setting in and around Cheltenham with show-stopping concerts in the Town Hall, intimate musical adventures in the Pittville Pump Room, and a feast for the senses in cathedrals, abbeys and churches across the region. Gloucester Cathedral plays host to the 14 sublime voices of Stille Antico and the music of renaissance Spain. This award-winning music will be accompanied by projections of religious art by El Greco and his contemporaries. Tewkesbury Abbey will also welcome some sublime sounds with an all-Bach programme form The Magdalena Consort – whose UK debut in Cheltenham in 2010 was a huge triumph.

Alongside classical legends, the programme welcomes some of the music world’s brightest rising star. Man of the moment, classical guitarist Milos will play at Parabola Arts Centre; rock-star pianist James Rhodes will perform in his concerto debut and cellist Natalie Clein will be joined by four stunning instrumentalists in a Dvořák double-bill at the Pittville Pump Room.

In a surprising twist, the music festival embraces some of the science festival by delving into the links between maths and music. The whole series is led by broadcaster Marcus du Sautoy and explores how Pythagoras discovered how to tune a guitar, how composers conceal codes in their music and the mathematical patterns which lead to great art.

Tickets for both the Science and Music Festivals are available now from or on 01242 505 444