Cerne Abbas Music Festival


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Dear Festival Goer

The 2023 Cerne Abbas Festival was a special occasion as, after thirty-two years, it celebrated the last Festival in its current form. What a fabulous finale it was. The Ensemble welcomed back old friends such as Jonathan Williams who played at the very first Festival and whose horn you will have heard on many Gaudier and COE recordings, playing alongside our dear friends who have returned year after year to delight audiences. We have been fortunate indeed to enjoy a repertoire extending over centuries containing rare gems as well as highlights of the chamber music repertoire, all played to the highest standard.

The Festival in its new form will continue to be based in its home of Cerne Abbas. Performing classical music to a variety of audiences and across a range of styles and content is a core principle for the Gaudier Ensemble. It hopes to extend this to other local venues with the musicians presenting the Festival’s programmes in new and varied forms.

The Festival’s continued existence and its future plans depend on the loyal support of the Friends and Benefactors who have been its mainstay over the years. We are scheduling a weekend of concerts over the weekend of 12th to 14th July. On 12th and 13th July there will be concerts highlighting music from the Baroque period in St. Mary’s church followed by a concert at Ashton Farm on 14th July. In the autumn the Ensemble are planning another weekend of concerts entitled “Around Mozart” – the dates to be confirmed shortly. We hope very much to see you at both events in the new look Cerne Abbas Music Festival.

Richard and all the members of the Gaudier Ensemble would like to thank every one of our loyal supporters for their generosity and enthusiasm. Without this the Festival could not have flourished as it did for thirty-two years. By the same token, your support is essential to its continuation and development. We hope very much that you will continue with your annual donation which underpins the whole event. If you do wish to continue as a Friend, please could you let me have your subscription by 31st January 2024. If you pay by cheque, please make it payable to Cerne Abbas Music Festival for the sum of £25 and send it to me at the address above.

If you prefer to pay by bank transfer, the account details are: Cerne Abbas Music Festival, Sort Code 20-26-62, Account Number 80246441. Should you not wish to continue as a Friend, please would you cancel your Standing Order before the end of December.

We would not be here without you so, once again, the Gaudier Ensemble send a sincere and heartfelt thank you to you all and hope very much to see you again at their concerts in 2024.

I hope that you have a lovely Christmas and a happy New Year and look forward to seeing you again next year.

With all good wishes

Sue Foulser

Friends’ Secretary

Booking for 2024 is not yet available

Tickets are not yet available but will be online here

OLDER NEWS Spring 2023

We are thrilled to present the Thirty-second Cerne Abbas Music Festival. The glorious acoustic and wonderful atmosphere of St. Mary’s Church have hosted more than 150 concerts over three decades and we are proud to put on a very full programme of concerts again. 

The thirteen members of The Gaudier Ensemble arrive from across Europe to rehearse and perform here, and they have assembled a collection of masterpieces and lesser-known chamber works for our enjoyment.

Image © Jane Tearle
Image © Jane Tearle

The Dvořák Sextet, Brahms’s Piano Quintet, Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet are favourites for almost all music-lovers, and these are set alongside fascinating, less-familiar compositions. 

This blend of works from across the ages has been a hallmark of Gaudier Ensemble programmes over the years.

We hope you will join us for as many concerts as possible and enjoy our musical journey in the most idyllic setting.

A Little History

In 1990, Richard Hosford, leader of the Gaudier Ensemble and resident of Dorset, had a vision of a Music Festival different from the standard commercial model.

He was looking for a location that gave the musicians an attractive venue in which to perform but, equally importantly, somewhere they could all be together for a week to play the music they wanted to play – at the highest artistic standards. 

He wanted to develop strong links with its community, provide accessible music to the people of Dorset and create a stimulating environment for local young musicians and children.

Cerne Abbas was his chosen location, partly because of the excellent acoustics of the Church but also because of the village and its community.

Image © Jane Tearle
Image © Jane Tearle

Thirty Four years on

A group of Cerne Abbas residents still organises the Festival on the Gaudier’s and village’s behalf, totally on a volunteer basis.

Musicians live in the village at the homes of local residents during the Festival.

Rehearsals are informal and are open to the public.

Ticket prices are a fraction of the full commercial cost of equivalent events of similar musical status and standard.

Master classes are periodically organised for promising local musicians.

Leading students of the Royal College of Music are encouraged to perform with the Gaudier Ensemble. A huge opportunity which provides them with invaluable experience.


For more information please see our Bookings Page

  • The venue is St Mary’s Church. Seating is reversed for the concerts and a specially constructed stage is erected at the West End.
  • Seats are booked in advance and are numbered and reserved.
  • Booking starts approximately eight weeks before the first concert.

We launched a new, efficient ticketing system in 2022 which functions entirely online.

You are able to place an order and pay for your tickets in one easy sequence and they will arrive via email for you.


camf stage
Image © Jane Tearle
Image © Jane Tearle



Videos from Festivals since 1991

Two short selections of clips edited together from the Cerne Abbas Music Festival Archive, digitised from the original camcorder footage

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