AMONG the anniversaries being celebrated at the 2017 Presteigne Festival later this month is the 60th birthday of George Vass who in turn is celebrating 25 years as artistic director of the festival’s 35 years.

The occasion will be marked by a special concert on Friday, August 25, at St Andrew’s Church at 7.45pm, during which George will conduct the Presteigne Festival Orchestra and the guests will be Bejamin Navarro on violin, Rachel Roberts on viola and Gemma Rosefield on cello.

The programme will include the world premiere of one of the festival’s commissions, Eight Variations for string orchestra on the beautiful English folk song "Lovely Joan” by Sally Beamish, Michael Berkely, David Matthews, Christopher Gunning, Thomas Hyde, Matthew Taylor, Huw Watkins and Adrian Williams.

There will also be a Sinfonia for String Orchestra, by Paul Patterson, “Goddess” by festival composer-in-residence Edward Gregson; Trio Concertante, by James Francis Brown; and Suite for String Orchestra by Frank Bridge.

Other birthdays being celebrated with performances of their music will be John Joubert, 90, including his “O Lord, the maker of all things” during the Festival Eucharist on August 27; his Diversions on a Ground as part of Gemma Rosefield’s “Bach to the Future” concert at Kinnerton on August 27; and his Three Carols during the Sine Nominee International Touring Choir concert at Pembridge on August 28.

Hugh Wood’s 85th birthday year is marked by performances of his Trio for Flute Viola and Piano by Katherine Baker, Rachel Roberts and Tim Horton on August 29; and his “Beginnings: Three Early Songs” as part of the Festival Finale concert on Tuesday, August 29.

The festival opens on Thursday, August 24, and contains some 30 different events including exhibitions, films, talk, literature, and workshops, as well as concerts and recitals,

Other musical highlights include a feature on Danish chamber music, Judith Weir’s music drama “The Consolations of Scholarship”, and another celebratory multi-composer commission with six solo piano Bagatelles after Beethoven.

Events take place in Presteigne and surrounding villages with bus links provided. The Festival Box Office has opened at the Assembly Rooms in Presteigne and is open to telephone bookings on 01544 267800 and to personal callers 11am to 2pm Mondays to Saturdays. The festival runs from August 24 to 29 and brochuires can be downloaded at