Sponsor our Grade-a-thon

27 Feb 2024

For the last few months a group of supporters and staff have been working hard on brand new instruments, getting up to Grade I standard!

They sit their exams at the end of February. There have been ups and downs, but it’s been a lot of fun. Across the group they’re learning the saxophone, snare drum, bassoon, viola, horn, clarinet, flute, piano and guitar!

Follow their progress, see who is joining in and sponsor their efforts here


JOIN OUR TEAM: Participation and Events Coordinator

15 Dec 2023

We are looking to appoint a Participation & Events Coordinator.

Deadline for applications
10.00am Monday 22 January 2024
Interviews w/c 29 January 2024

The Participation and Events Coordinator will be involved in the planning and delivery of events for a range of audiences that expand our programme of activity beyond the concert hall, enabling people of all ages and backgrounds to get closer to the music. The person who is recruited will join us at an exciting time as we focus on fully integrating all our strands of activity in the concert hall and with local communities in partnership with venues and organisations in Sheffield and beyond.

Find out more and download an application pack.



Composers announced for WeCompose 2023 – 24

13 Oct 2023

After a successful pilot, WeCompose moves into the first full year of delivery across our South Yorkshire home, the wider north of England region and with our longstanding collaborators in Portsmouth, Milton Keynes and Barking & Dagenham. This year, WeCompose is delivered in collaboration with the Ligeti String Quartet.

We have recruited a fantastic team of composers who will be visiting schools across the country to help develop the composition work of KS3 and KS4 students and support their teachers. Students get to experience working with professional musicians and are supported in developing compositional and collaborative skills, which they will use to create group and individual compositions. Students will then get to see their work being performed by professional musicians in a culmination concert towards the end of their academic year.

We are delighted to welcome:

Ed Driver
Ed Driver is a British composer and performer currently studying for a master’s degree in composition with Kenneth Hesketh and Dai Fujikura at the Royal College of Music, where he is an H R Taylor Charitable Trust Scholar and has held a Vaughan Williams Bursary. He won his first composition prize, the Howard Greenwood Composition Award in 2017. Upon graduation from the University of Birmingham, where he studied with Michael Zev Gordon and Ryan Latimer, Ed was awarded the COMPASS Composition Prize in association with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. He has also collaborated with other leading contemporary ensembles, having written music for Britten Sinfonia, The Hermes Experiment and the Fidelio Trio. Fascinated by aesthetics, his recent music often aims to intertwine the logic of social-philosophical concepts with a vibrant sense of humour. He has previously held a role in a school music department, where he worked extensively with young people aged 13-18, teaching GCSE and A-level composition and curriculum lessons; running composition clubs and mentoring sessions; and directing and composing for a wide variety of ensembles. He is keen to continue to share his excitement for music-making with young people of all backgrounds and to promote its accessibility.

Yuen Po Hang

Yuen Po Hang has received countless commissions and collaborative opportunities from leading soloists and ensembles, including the Avanti Chamber, BBC Philharmonic, Britten Sinfonia, PHACE, Psappha, Sofia Philharmonic, and Trio Immersio. His piano trio Triptych has recently won the third prize in the professional section of the “The New Melodies” II International Composers Competition. The music was published by Dmitry Danilov Music Agency LLC and performed in St. Petersburg, at the Whitehall of the Polytechnic Institute. This July, his newest ensemble work, “Cosmic Embrace”, received its world premiere in Porvoo, Finland, as a part of the Avanti Summer Sounds Festival.

Emily Hazrati

Emily Hazrati is a composer and performer based in London. Her music is spacious, immersive, and environmental; with a focus on storytelling, collaboration, and global politics, as well as ideas around breath, ritual, and circularity. Emily has worked with ensembles and organisations including BBC Singers, Royal Opera House, Oxford International Song Festival, Ligeti Quartet, National Youth Choir of Great Britain, The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, Oxford Philharmonic, Psappha, Thames Philharmonic Choir, and CHROMA Ensemble, amongst many others. In 2022 she developed her second chamber opera, TIDE, which received its first, sold-out performances at the Aldeburgh Festival 2022. She was a Britten-Pears Young Artist 2021-22 and a Junior Fellow at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she learned with Julian Philips and Hollie Harding.

Alex Mackay

Alex Mackay is a musician whose practice spans composition, performance, production and education, incorporating a range of creative, technical and aesthetic approaches. Alex’s composition work has included concert works and collaborative projects with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Red Note, Glasgow New Music Expedition and Ludi Quartet Kernow; as well as interdisciplinary collaborations with artists working in film, theatre, dance and visual art. As a solo artist, he incorporates approaches from experimental compositional practices and contemporary electronic production to create recorded and live works, and has been presented through releases, performances and residencies across the UK and Europe. Alex studied composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and music production at the University of York, and he currently teaches music and sound recording at the University of York.

Laurence Osborn

Laurence Osborn is a British composer currently based in London. Laurence Osborn’s music has been commissioned and/or programmed by the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, Britten Sinfonia, The Riot Ensemble, Manchester Collective, 12 Ensemble, GBSR Duo, Ensemble Klang, and Ensemble 360, among others. He has also written for solo performers Sarah Dacey, Mahan Esfahani, Bartosz Glowacki, Zubin Kanga, Lore Lixenberg, Michael Petrov, and Agata Zubel. His music has been programmed throughout the UK, at venues such as The Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Royal Opera House, Symphony Hall (Birmingham), The Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, LSO St Luke’s, St Martin- In-The-Fields, Milton Court, Wilton’s Music Hall, Britten Studio (Aldeburgh), The National Portrait Gallery, The Holywell Music Room (Oxford), The Crucible Theatre (Sheffield), Kettle’s Yard (Cambridge), and at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (where he was an International Showcase Artist), St Magnus International Festival, Music in the Round, and Ulverston International Music Festival. His music has also been programmed throughout Europe, such as at Festival Présences (Paris), Alteoper Frankfurt, November Music Festival (Den Bosch), The Georg Solti Hall (Budapest). Laurence’s music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, Resonance FM, and Deutschlandfunk Kultur. His music has also been released on NMC, Resonus Classics, Rubicon Classics and Coviello Contemporary.

Helen Papaioannou

Helen Papaioannou is a composer and performer based in Leeds, UK. Helen’s work ranges from her solo project for electronics and baritone saxophone (Kar Pouzi), to ensemble compositions, music for moving image, and improvisation with a range of collaborators. Across her work, she gravitates towards a minimal sound palette, with persistent grooves and a textural focus which revels in drawing out a lot from a little. Helen has a fascination with the dynamics of group interaction, collaborating with a variety of artists and ensembles, and leading workshops in a variety of settings.

Marcus Rock

With a background in film making, Marcus made the decision to pursue Composition seriously in 2018, earning himself a place at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on a scholarship (beginning 2019). In his first year studying music seriously, he was selected to collaborate with and write a String Quartet for Quatour Bozzini and to compose music for the Cheltenham Music Festival (2021) Working closely with Chineke! players and mentored by Composer Daniel Kidane. He was invited to participate in the festival the following year where he has written a piece for violinist Fenella Humphreys and Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani. He has written a mixed ensemble piece for BCMG. He has written a string duo for members of Fidelio Trio: Darragh Morgan and Tim Gill (2022). He was selected as a Composer on the Britten Pears young artist Programme (2022-2023) receiving one to one tuition from Composers Colin Matthews and Mark-Anthony Turnage and is also a London Symphony Orchestra Panufnik Composer of 2023-24. His work has been conducted by Jonathan Berman, Daniele Rosina and will be Conducted by Francois Xavier Roth. Since being programmed alongside George Lewis (18/11/22) He has received an invitation to be mentored and study with him at Columbia University. He has won the 2022 Echo from the Old Times Chamber Music Commission, meaning he will have work performed by students of the China Central Conservatory of Music.

Ellen Sargen

Ellen Sargen is a composer, performer and researcher based in Manchester. She is currently studying for a PhD in long-term composer-performer collaboration at the RNCM with Larry Goves and Steven Daverson. Her recent work has included projects with House of Bedlam, Ensemble Recherche, Riot Ensemble and Psappha as well as with long-term collaborations with soloists up and down the UK. Recent work has been performed at Ensemblehaus (Freiberg), Bishopsgate Institute (London), Firth Hall (Sheffield), RNCM Concert Hall (Manchester) and featured by OperaVision, Lost and Found (Sydney), RNCM Future Music Festivals, RNCM PLAY Festivals and Incognito Manchester in the concert hall and in audiovisual formats. Commissions have included those from National Opera Studio, Music in the Round and Classical Sheffield and Ellen’s recent piece ‘Lost in your whole world’ was broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Andrew Smith

Andy is a Manchester based composer with experience of working with many of the country’s leading orchestras, theatres and production companies.  His music spans multiple genres, and in recent years he’s focussed on composing music for children and family audiences. As an arranger, he specialises in orchestral and choral writing, including pop music mash ups, multi-ability arrangements for youth/amateur ensembles, and remixing of classical works into modern orchestrations and genre. He also collaborates with upcoming and renowned artists to add flavours of the orchestra onto their tracks. He’s also very passionate about composing and arranging for music education and outreach purposes, with the aim of creating high quality, artistically valued projects and performances that have ‘participation’ at their core.


WeCompose is funded by Arts Council England, Mayfield Valley Arts Trust, Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Church Burgesses Trust, Sheffield Grammar School Exhibition Foundation, Vaughan Williams Foundation, Sheffield Town Trust, Earl Fitzwilliam Charitable Trust, Sheffield Bluecoat and Mount Pleasant Educational Foundation and Freshgate Foundation, Three Monkies Trust and R Walker Trust. The project is also supported by Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley Music Hubs.

Thanks to generous funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation the project is now confirmed as covering Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 around the country until at least 2026.



8 Sep 2023

Have you ever fancied playing a musical instrument, but never quite got round to it?
Want to play the piano with more than two fingers, or finally get a noise out of the trumpet?

We invite you to learn an instrument to Grade I standard in only a few months, and ask your friends and family to sponsor you. Share the joy, and the highs and lows of learning, as a group of us take on the challenge together and raise funds for Music in the Round as we do it!

The team in the Music in the Round office are joining in too, and we’ll be there to support everyone through the process.

If you’d like to sponsor our Grade-a-thoners in their challenge, you can follow the progress of our campaign and donate online here.




WeCompose pilot success

20 Jul 2023

A pilot WeCompose initiative from Music in the Round has helped 183 young people from ten schools to write then finesse their own music to be performed live by musicians from our Bridge Ensemble.

WeCompose is our newest project for schools. Launched in January 2023 for Key Stage 3 students, the project also includes training for teachers.

For the pilot, students worked with the five wind players of the Bridge Ensemble, a Music in the Round-supported group of musicians from backgrounds under-represented in chamber music.

Sheffield schools that took part in the pilot project are: Sheffield Park Academy, Chaucer School, Newfield School and King Edward VII School.

Oakwood High School in Rotherham, Trinity Academy in Doncaster, Hungerhill School in Doncaster, Ash Hill Academy in Doncaster, Outwood Academy Danum in Doncaster and Trinity Academy St Edward’s in Barnsley were also part of the scheme.

Students were visited by three professional composers: Georgia Denham, Laurence Osborn and Ellen Sargen, who helped to develop their work. Some students had little or no experience of music outside of compulsory school lessons, so traditional composition methods were adapted.

Ellen, who also managed the project, said: “We had to find different ways to engage students in the project. We did a lot of rhythm work such as clapping exercises, a lot of harmony work, and soon they were writing melodies. It was incredible.

“I’m so proud of the students who had never done anything like this before. They’ve written four pieces of music now.”

One group of students used the digital creation studio GarageBand to craft their work, and the piece was then transcribed into music for the Bridge Ensemble. Others wrote dance music which was then adapted.

Ellen added: “When students heard their music for the first time they were blown away.

“One of the teachers told us that students are now writing music independently.

“All of the music they made was so different – the students had such fantastic imaginations and they really embraced the idea they could write a piece about whatever they wanted.

“It was very diverse and creative.”

The final stage of WeCompose was a culmination day where students heard their music in a workshop, shaped it further and then saw it performed in a concert by the Bridge Ensemble.

The premiere included other composers’ work, so pieces both 100 years old and mere days old sat side-by-side in one concert.

Ellen added: “At the start we asked students what they thought a composer is, and a lot of them said they think a composer is someone who is dead.

“Getting them to understand they could be composers too was quite a big thing, they definitely hadn’t considered it before.

“We like to say there are 183 new composers in South Yorkshire now.”

In an inspirational twist to the project, Georgia Denham, another of the composers involved, was given an early experience of composing at school by Music in the Round over a decade ago. The then 14-year-old was a student at Stocksbridge High School when Music in the Round visited classrooms to introduce children to music composition as part of a previous project.

Georgia, who is now studying for her PhD in composition at the University of Cambridge, said: “It was such an important and transformative experience for me in school.

“Actually hearing the music that I’d written for the first time was a defining moment.

“At that point I didn’t know you could become a composer – that it was a real job people could have.

“After that piece was performed I think everyone realised I was really into this.

“One of my teachers found out about a summer school for composition, and there I found out more about studying it.

“Music in the Round’s work was the catalyst for all of that – someone saying to me ‘you are a composer’ was the most powerful thing.”

Like many children taking part in WeCompose, Georgia did not have access to musical opportunities such as owning an instrument. She would race into the school’s music room every break time to write songs on the computer there instead.

The 25-year-old added: “I remember having some lessons but it was a financial pressure for my family, and when my lessons stopped it was really sad.

“There are children who have a love for music inside them and it’s so important that there is some way for them to express it, whether they become a musician or not.”

Georgia said she hoped that the new project would have a long-lasting legacy, especially in the shadow of cuts to musical education.

She added: “A lot of composers come from very privileged backgrounds.

“Feeling your music is important enough for someone else to play is a big barrier, there are also financial barriers and demographic barriers.

“So something like this, where composition is accessible to all, is very special.”

WeCompose will return to the same schools next year at a more advanced level for Key Stage 4 students, as well as being introduced to more South Yorkshire schools at Key Stage 3 and expanding nationally. To find out more please email

WeCompose is a composition project for Key Stage 3 students run and managed by Music in the Round with funding from Sheffield Church Burgesses Foundation, Sheffield Grammar School, Vaughan Williams Foundation, Sheffield Town Trust, Earl Fitzwilliam Charitable Trust, Sheffield Bluecoat and Mount Pleasant Educational Foundation, the Freshgate Trust Foundation and the Music Education Hubs of Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley. 


Ensemble 360 has been shortlisted for a prestigious national music award

27 Jan 2023

Our resident group, Ensemble 360, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national music award. 

The musicians have been nominated in the Ensemble category of the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Awards 2023. 

Billed by BBC Radio 3 as the ‘BAFTAs of classical music’, the awards celebrate classical musicians nationwide, shining a light on brilliant individuals, groups and initiatives inspiring communities across the UK.  

Ensemble 360 were commended by the RPS for the outstanding quality and scope of their performances. They were praised for being “a national ensemble embedded in the Sheffield community and a thriving example of the transformative ways music can serve its local area. They equally channel their excellence and artistry into community partnerships and resounding concerts.” They sit alongside Manchester Collective and BBC Singers in the Ensemble category, which is supported by Wise Music Group in its 50th anniversary year.  

Nominees for RPS Awards this year also include English National Opera and Manchester Camerata, and notably four nominees come from Yorkshire (Sheffield’s Ensemble 360, Leeds Piano Trail, Bradford Festival Choral Society and Ryedale Festival). 

The winners will be announced at a public event at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on 1 March, with tickets available from only £10. Cello sensation Sheku Kanneh-Mason will give a special guest performance. 

Ensemble 360’s pianist Tim Horton said:  

“It is a great honour for Ensemble 360 to have been recognised in the Ensemble category of the RPS awards. It has been a privilege to have been resident at Music in the Round for seventeen years and to have had such loyal and friendly audiences for so long at the Crucible Playhouse in Sheffield and our homes in Barnsley and Doncaster. We inherited a wonderful ethos of inclusivity and exploration from the Lindsay String Quartet that continues to be borne out in the breadth of repertoire we present to more and more diverse audiences around the UK. We also take great pride in the work we do in communities across South Yorkshire, in particular with schools, which has included many specially-commissioned works that we have performed for thousands of children since 2005. We look forward to continuing our efforts to bring classical music to as many people as possible for many years to come.” 

Music in the Round’s Chief Executive Jo Towler said:

“We are so pleased to see Ensemble 360 receiving this much-deserved national attention, which recognises their world-class performances on the concert platform alongside a willingness to share their music-making with people of all ages and abilities. Sheffield should be proud of being the home of this group of amazing musicians so we can regularly enjoy their fantastic and engaging concerts.”  

Ensemble 360’s next concerts with Music in the Round take place in South Yorkshire this weekend (in Barnsley on Friday 27 January and in Sheffield on Saturday 28 January), with further performances in Sheffield on Friday 10 February, Friday 17 March and Saturday 1 April. They also play a central role in the Sheffield Chamber Music Festival each year in the Crucible Playhouse. This year’s Festival runs from 12 – 20 May 2023 with appearances from Ensemble 360 alongside guest Festival Curator pianist Kathryn Stott, and stars of the international classical music world including trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth and saxophonist Amy Dickson.  

Read more here.


Music in the Round’s NPO funding application confirmed by Arts Council England 

4 Nov 2022

Music in the Round has been successful in its application to Arts Council England for National Portfolio funding from 2023-26. Based in the Crucible Playhouse, it presents around 120 concerts a year in South Yorkshire and across the country, engaging around 25,000 people. Over the coming months it will finalise a three-year funding agreement with the Arts Council to deliver its activity of concerts and events for people of all ages, alongside projects in schools and supporting emerging musicians.  

Chief Executive Jo Towler said ‘We are really pleased to remain part of ACE’s National Portfolio so that we can continue bringing people closer to the music as we approach our 40th anniversary in 2024. It is fantastic to see that our partners at Goole Junction have received an uplift and that Black Lives in Music have joined the portfolio, and we are excited for what the future holds with this shift in funding to more places across the country.”   

Chair Jenny Dibden Stevens said “We are delighted that Arts Council England has continued to recognise and endorse the contribution of Music in the Round, with an investment for 2023 – 2026. We look forward to building on our successful partnerships and driving forward our exciting and innovative plans for the future.” 

The current autumn season includes two sell-out days of concerts for over 3,000 school and nursery children on 10 and 11 November and a sell-out concert celebrating the 150th birthday of celebrated composer Vaughan Williams. Music in the Round will also be staging its busiest day on record: on Saturday 12 November, its Crucible Theatre home sees a world premiere, two family concerts and a tango quintet featuring extraordinary accordionist Miloš Milivojević, as heard on the hit dancing show, Strictly Come Dancing, and the chart-topping Classic FM recording guitarist Craig Ogden. Later in the month their resident musicians, Ensemble 360, return for concerts in Upper Chapel and the Crucible Playhouse, where Sheffield Jazz and pianist Tim Horton will also be performing. Tickets are still available for many of these events. 


For more information and requests for interviews, please contact Music in the Round on 0114 281 4660 or email 

About Music in the Round 

Music in the Round (MitR) was established in Sheffield in 1984 by Peter Cropper and the renowned Lindsay String Quartet, who pioneered the idea of music performed and listened to ‘in-the-round’. When The Lindsays retired in 2005, we formed Ensemble 360, a group of 11 highly talented musicians who are at the core of all our activity.  

We are now the leading national promoter of chamber music, presenting hundreds of events in partnership with venues across the country for audiences of all ages, particularly in areas where there is little provision of professional live classical music, including Doncaster, Barnsley, Portsmouth and Barking & Dagenham. Our annual programme includes the nine-day Sheffield Chamber Music Festival in the Crucible Theatre each May, as well as activity across the city in unusual venues.  

Our mission has always been to ‘get people closer to the music’. Audiences do this by experiencing live music while seated in the round; musicians introduce themselves and the music they’re playing; and we also provide contextualising talks, participatory events and online resources as part of our programme. Although ‘in the round’ is defined through the physical arrangement of the audience sitting around the musicians, just a few metres away from amazing artists playing spine-tingling music with their heart and soul, fundamentally it is about connecting people to each other through music in a way that lives on long after the event. We present chamber music that is characterised by passion, excellence and proximity, through: 

  • Ensemble 360, a world-class resident group of musicians
  • outstanding visiting artists from a diverse range of musical genres
  • a varied learning and participation programme for Early Years to Later Years
  • a commitment to supporting the development of young audiences and musicians
  • delivering hundreds of live music experiences in a collaboration with different venues and organisations across the country to thousands of people each year

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. They have set out their strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 they want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. They invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.  

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies responsible for administering the Government’s unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund, of which we delivered over £1 billion to the sector in grants and loans. Find out more at 

The Arts Council England’s 2023-26 Investment Programme headline data: 

  • £446 million per annum of investment to bring art, culture, and creativity to more people, in more places, across the country  
  • 990 organisations will receive a share of £446 million investment, including  
  • 276 new organisations of all shapes and sizes  
  • Each year, we’re investing £43.5 million in Levelling Up for Culture Places across the country   

Find out more on their website:  




We are saddened to learn of the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II

9 Sep 2022

All of us at Music in the Round are saddened to learn of the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II, who was such a supporter of music and musicians in this country. Our thoughts and condolences are with the Royal Family at this time.

She showed support for music makers in many ways, from appointing the first female Master of Queen’s Music, inaugurating The Queen’s Medal for Music and recognising creators in the Honours.

We are now in a period of national mourning. Advice from the palace is that official and routine business should continue, which feels a fitting tribute in some ways to a monarch who kept going through the best and worst of times.

Our concerts on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 September with Ensemble 360 will therefore go ahead as planned.


Music in the Round announces Kathryn Stott and Steven Isserlis CBE as Guest Festival Curators

19 Apr 2022

We are thrilled to announce our next two Guest Curators for our annual festival of chamber music for 2023 and 2024. 

We’ll be launching our first ever edition of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival with a Guest Festival Curator this year, with composer Helen Grime MBErunning from Friday 13 – Saturday 21 May 2022.  

Helen will be followed by pianist Kathryn Stottwho will curate Sheffield Chamber Music Festival in 2023She is an internationally-renowned musician who has performed across the world and appeared at the Last Night of the BBC Proms. Alongside this, formore than 25 years, Kathryn has been the artistic vision behind many major festivals and concert series in Norway, Italy, Leeds and Manchester, and most recently was Artistic Director for the Australian Festival of Chamber Music (2018–2021). 

She said:  

I’m absolutely thrilled to be a guest curator in 2023! Music in the Round has been very close to my heart for so many years and I’ve always loved the intimacy of this wonderful setting. It’s particularly exciting to programme for such versatile musicians, and I’m really looking forward to working with Ensemble 360 and the whole team on this new venture. “ 

Cellist Steven Isserlis CBE takes on the role of Guest Curator for Sheffield Chamber Music Festival in 2024, to celebrate Music in the Round’s 40th anniversary year. Steven Isserlisenjoys a unique and distinguished career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, author and broadcaster.As a chamber musician, he has curated series for many of the world’s most famous festivals and venues, including Wigmore Hall, 92nd St Y in New York and the Salzburg Festival. Steven is currently the artistic director of the International Musicians Seminar, Prussia Cove, in Cornwall.  

He said: 

“I’m very happy to be joining Music in the Round for their 2024 festival, particularly as so many members of Ensemble 360 are old friends of mine. No detailed decisions yet re programming, but there will be a wide variety of works; one of the many joys afforded by the variety of instruments in Ensemble 360 is the almost limitless scope it gives for programming any number of chamber masterpieces.” 

Music in the Round launches its first ever edition of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival with a Guest Festival Curator this year. Running from Friday 13 – Saturday 21 May 2022, the chamber music showcase will be a vibrant nine-day celebration held in the Crucible Studio Theatre and other venues around Sheffield, curated by the composer Helen Grime.

This year, over a third of the Festival programme features chamber works by living composers and women composers past and present, including the world premiere of The Light Blinds, a new RPS commission by Angela Slater (Saturday 21 May). 

The Festival displays the extraordinary versatility of the 11 musicians of Sheffield-based Ensemble 360, who perform in 15 concerts over the nine days of the Festival, joining to form duos, trios, string quartets and wind quintets in myriad combinations.  

Started in 1984 by leader of the world-renowned Lindsay String Quartet, Peter Cropper, the Festival is held in the intimate Crucible Studio Theatre, an extraordinary and unique in-the-round space that brings audiences to within an arm’s length of the chamber musicians. 

Jo Towler, Chief Executive of Music in the Round, said:  

“Sheffield Chamber Music Festival is the highlight of our year-round programme, as it has been since Peter founded it 38 years ago. As we approach our 40th anniversary we thought we would take it to the next level by inviting amazing musicians to curate each year, bringing their own personal perspective to the Festival. Helen has been a fantastic start to this evolution, and we are absolutely delighted that Kathryn and Steven are on board for 2023 and 2024 to bring their sprinkle of stardust to Sheffield. I for one cannot wait to see what they and Ensemble 360 will put together!” 

Tickets to Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2022 can be purchased online, or from Sheffield Theatres box office in person, or by calling 0114 249 6000. 


A very warm welcome Rachel Roberts and Robert Plane

3 Mar 2022

We’re delighted to announce that internationally renowned soloists and chamber musicians Rachel Roberts, viola and Robert Plane, clarinet (who you may have caught in concerts in recent months) have officially become members of Ensemble 360.

Rachel Roberts is one of Europe’s leading viola players who performs internationally as a soloist and chamber musician as well as being Professor of Viola at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Until last year, clarinettist Robert Plane was Principal Clarinet of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and is Head of Woodwind Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama as well as a keen chamber musician. Both are amazing additions to the Ensemble, and we look forward to hearing them in years to come!  


A fully funded two-day programme for wind and horn musicians aged between 18-28

8 Feb 2022

Running on 2 and 3 April 2022, the Music in the Round Development Weekend in Sheffield is a fully funded two-day programme for wind and horn musicians aged between 18-28 who are interested in exploring ensemble group music making.

The programme will feature chamber music coaching, insights and guidance from members of Ensemble 360 as well as guest speakers, and social mixers with a chance to connect with peers and professionals in the classical music world.

Confirmed tutors include Matthew Hunt, Solo Clarinet with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, and Naomi Atherton, Principal Horn of Manchester Camerata and the Northern Chamber Orchestra.

One of the aims of this programme is for Music in the Round to build relationships with, offer opportunities to, and promote musicians in a way that is truly representative of our UK community. We recognise the many barriers faced by people from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse backgrounds to working professionally in classical music in the UK and wish to be part of redressing this imbalance. We really want to hear from all musicians representative of the UK community.

The residential weekend will be fun, full of learning and will provide the perfect opportunity to make friends and build connections. You will work with and be inspired by world class musicians while having the chance to find out about the amazing work of Music in the Round, the leading promoter of chamber music in the UK. Music in the Round is focused on promoting great music making, developing talent and helping people to access music performed at the highest level.


Music in the Round announces composer Helen Grime as the first ever Guest Festival Curator for Sheffield Chamber Music Festival

3 Dec 2021

 Friday 13 – Saturday 21 May 2022

Crucible Studio Theatre and venues across Sheffield

Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2022

Music in the Round announces composer Helen Grime as the first ever Guest Festival Curator for Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2022, a vibrant nine-day celebration of chamber music this year featuring well over a third of the chamber works by living composers and women composers past and present, including the world premiere of The Light Blinds, a new RPS commission by Angela Slater (Saturday 21 May).

The Festival displays the extraordinary versatility of the eleven musicians of Sheffield-based Ensemble 360, who perform in 15 concerts over the nine days of the Festival, joining to form duos, trios, string quartets and wind quintets in myriad combinations. Started in 1984 by leader of the world-renowned Lindsay String Quartet, Peter Cropper, the Festival is held in the intimate Crucible Studio Theatre, an extraordinary and unique in-the-round space that brings audiences to within an arm’s length of the chamber musicians.

Two concerts on Sunday 15 May tune in to the wonders of the natural world at the opening and closing of the day, with performances at Sunrise (5:15am) and Sunset (8:00pm). Alphorn transcriptions herald the dawn alongside Tansy Davies’s Yoik, drawing inspiration from traditional Sámi song, while Pablo Casals and Akira Nishimura bring musical depictions of birdsong to the early-morning event. Old meets new as night falls with Ensemble 360 joined by Sheffield Music Hub in eventide choral music by Sheffield local Judith Bingham, Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Tarik O’Regan alongside their Jacobean predecessors.

Many concerts in the Festival venture further afield: on Thursday 19 May, Ensemble 360 take a Nordic journey through the Danish Horn Trios of Hans Abrahamsen, Swedish composer Britta Byström and Norwegian favourite Edvard Grieg, before returning the next day for a soundscape from twentieth-century France (Friday 20 May), as chamber pieces by Nadia and Lili Boulanger are heard alongside Debussy, Ravel and the harmonious language of contemporary composer Arlene Sierra.

The wind players of Ensemble 360 push forward to new frontiers (Friday 20 May), pairing Aaron Copland and Mozart’s Piano Quintet with the beautiful clarity of Judith Weir’s Airs from Another Planet, imagining ancient Scottish melodies transformed through generations of evolution in outer space.

The Festival opens on Friday 13 May with a programme stressing the similar sonorities of Janáček and Anna Meredith.

Ensemble 360 trace the close links between masterpieces in art and music on Saturday 14 May, conjuring up extraordinary images by contemporary composers, from Francisco Goya’s broad brush strokes of an old couple dancing (as heard by Martin Suckling in Visiones) to Huw Watkins’s resurrection of First World War soldiers, originally portrayed by British artist Stanley Spencer. Festival curator Helen Grime finds inspiration in the miniature worlds of American visual artist Joseph Cornell’s assemblage boxes and miniatures by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, in a concert that also includes works by Bach, Chopin & John Cage: who inspired the artists Paul Klee, Whistler and Gerhard Richter respectively.

Joined by soprano Ruby Hughes & pianist Joseph Middleton (Thursday 19 May), Ensemble 360 explore songs for chamber ensemble, including Helen Grime’s Bright Travellers cycle, exploring pregnancy and early motherhood through the achingly beautiful poetry of Fiona Benson, Respighi’s Il Tramonto – setting Shelley’s The Sunset – and songs by Ives.

Further visiting artists include guitarist Sean Shibe (Wednesday 18 May) and folk duo Karine Polwart & Dave Milligan (Tuesday 17 May). A late-night experimental performance in Sheffield’s Site Gallery by Bastard Assignments (Thursday 19 May) continues Music in the Round’s Sounds of Now series, curated by Tom McKinney and launched by Elaine Mitchener and Apartment House in Spring 2022.

Works by Helen Grime are featured throughout the Festival, including her String Quartet No.1 (Monday 16 May), heard as the string players of Ensemble 360 recontextualise harmony across the centuries from Purcell’s intricate Fantasias to Sky Macklay’s Many Many Cadences. Grime’s Seven Pierrot Miniatures close the Festival on Saturday 21 May in a programme of Britten, Brahms, and Oliver Knussen’s …upon one note.

Joining together in trios for clarinet, viola and piano, as heard in Schumann’s Märchenerzählungen, Ensemble 360 pays homage to the composer through the trio and duo works of Helen Grime, György Kurtág and the twentieth-century composer Rebecca Clarke, renowned for her viola writing (Tuesday 17 May). Later that afternoon, Ensemble 360 bring the oboe to the fore in works by Grażyna Bacewicz, Helen Grime and Martinů.

Ensemble 360 conclude their survey of Beethoven’s String Quartets, including his final String Quartet No.16 and final three Piano Sonatas Op.109-111, joined by the complementary musical voices of Caroline Shaw and Errollyn Wallen’s The Negro Speaks of Rivers in recital on Wednesday 18 May and Friday 20 May.

Two family concerts open and close the Festival, including the enchanting story of an intrepid young inventor, Izzy Gizmo (Saturday 14 May), presented by Aga Serugo-Lugo.

Guest Festival Curator Helen Grime said:

“It’s been a huge pleasure and honour to be guest curator of the 2022 Sheffield Chamber Music Festival. I’ve had lots of fun, working with Ensemble 360, putting together programmes of music I love, finding connections between old and new music and threading through various themes that are close to my heart.

Each concert features the music of at least one female composer, including overlooked gems from the last few hundred years, as well as more recent pieces and a world premiere.

I’m very excited to be welcoming some of the most distinguished musicians working in the country as guest artists, and I hope audiences will enjoy meeting them, as well as seeing Ensemble 360 back in their Festival home, the Crucible Studio Theatre.”

Tickets to Sheffield Chamber Music Festival go on general sale on Tuesday 7 December 2021 at 10:00am. These can be purchased from, or from Sheffield Theatres box office in person, or by calling 0114 249 6000.