Cerne Abbas Music Festival


2023 Festival Thursday July 20th to Sunday July 23rd

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Tickets may be purchased in advance on this site or at the door, prior to each performance, payable by cash or cheque.

See Booking 2023 for details

Tickets are available online here

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 three 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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