SOPRANO Ruby Hughes makes her Presteigne Festival debut with two concerts this weekend.

She began her musical studies as a cellist graduating from the Guildhall School of Music in London, before going on to study voice at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Munich and the Royal College of Music, London, graduating in 2009.

Holder of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, Shortlisted for a 2014 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award, Winner of both First Prize and the Audience Prize at the 2009 London Handel Singing Competition and a former BBC New Generation Artist, Ruby is the daughter of the celebrated Welsh ceramicist Elizabeth Fritsch.

Tonight (Friday, August 24), she sings in the 'Lonely Angel' concert at 7.45pm at St Andrew’s Church with the Latvian violinist Kristine Balanas, also making her festival debut, and the Presteigne Festival Orchestra conducted by festival director George Vass.

The concert takes its name from the work by Peteris Vasks, one of the Baltic region composers who are being spotlighted in this year’s festival themes.

It will also include 'Remember' by festival favourite composer/pianist Huw Watkins who will be accompanying Ruby on her second festival concert 'A Charm of Lullabies' on Saturday at 2pm at St Andrew’s Church, when they will include the UK premiere of Huw’s 'Echo' jointly commissioned by the festival and by Carnegie Hall New York.

Saturday’s recital takes its name from the composition by Benjamin Britten which will also be played together with works by Helen Grime and Alban Berg, another Baltic composer

Radio broadcaster and writer Stehen Johnson will give a musical discovery talk on 'Baltic Music Since the End of the Soviet Era' at Presteigne Assembly Room at 4pm today (Friday).

Internationally renowned specialists in the performance of Baltic music, the Choir of Royal Holloway are festival’s choir-in-residence, under director Rupert Gough, and their three festival appearances will include 'A Baltic Celebration' concert on Sunday evening at St Andrew’s Church with the Festival Orchestra, James Turnbull and Ben Marshall on oboes, Kathryn Thomas on flute and Florence Cooke on violin.

It will include singing Pēteris Vasks’ 'Dona Nnobis Pacem', and Tõnu Kõrvits’ wonderfully original setting of Estonian hymn-tunes 'Kreek’s Notebook'. The concert will be preceded by a talk with David Wordsworth and guests at the Assembly Rooms.

The choir will also perform Arvo Pärt’s 'Passio', his setting of the 'Passion according to St John', this Saturday afternoon at St Mary’s Church, Pembridge; and on Monday, they are back in town at St Andrew’s with Ant Law on guitar and Lian Condon on organ, to give an intriguing late-night 'Queen of Heaven' programme of Marian settings from English and Baltic composers, including a specially commissioned work from David Bednall,.

The festival opened yesterday (Thursday) evening and included the Nova Music Opera in 'Juliana', a new version of the Stringberg play 'Miss Julie', including mezzo soprano Rebecca Afonwy-Jones from Snead.

It ends on Tuesday night with the Festival Finale with the Festival Orchestra and guests with music including the world premiere of composer-in-residence Martin Butler’s 'Concertante Dance' for piano and chamber orchestra with Martin himself as pianist.

In addition to concerts and recitals, the 36th Presteigne Festival also has talks, poetry, exhibitions, a feature of three Nordic films, and 'Well Thumbed', a wonderfully irreverent one-man show from Terry Victor.

Full details are at, or with the box office by phone on 01544 267800 between 11am to 2pm, Monday to Saturday. Most events are held in the town itself but there are also events at Discoed, Pembridge and Kinnerton with a festival bus from the town centre on which seats can be booked.