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Ely Catherdral


Only days following its US premiere at The Lincoln Centre in New York, Ely Cathedral is to host the highly anticipated performance of James MacMillan's Stabat Mater under the baton of Harry Christophers, and featuring the unparalleled partnership of the Britten Sinfonia and The Sixteen,

Stabat Mater originated as a 13th-century text depicting Mary's suffering and anguish at the crucifixion of her son, Jesus Christ. Throughout the centuries it has been set to music by many famous composers but MacMillan's 2009 compelling composition for choir and string orchestra has been heralded as 'a powerfully moving and gripping masterpiece'.

The concert is one of the highlights of the Cambridge Music Festival. Justin Lee, Festival Director, says "It's a real pleasure to be able to hold this Cambridge Music Festival event in Ely Cathedral. Although Cambridge has buildings which have stood for the same number of centuries, there is nothing with that history on the same scale, and the Cathedral has a very special atmosphere that changes the way one listens to the music. It is ideal for a devotional work like James MacMillan's Stabat Mater, but this is powerful, bittersweet music that audiences will find that they can lose themselves in whether they are religious or not."

The concert will also feature a performance of Vaughan Williams's Tallis Fantasia from the Britten Sinfonia, and will begin with MacMillan's Miserere, a more straightforward choral anthem written in 2009 and widely celebrated as a result of the the Sixteen's Choral Pilgrimage concerts.

MacMillan's Stabat Mater was first performed at the Barbican in 2016 with Britten Sinfonia and The Sixteen. They will present the US premiere in New York on 7 November before coming to perform the work in the imposing surroundings of Ely Cathedral on Saturday 9 November.

Tickets are available from the Box Office 01353 660349 or online at

"MacMillan's Stabat Mater is a masterpiece of choral invention." - Scotsman

"The Sixteen and Britten Sinfonia produced one of those performances during which you can hardly breathe for fear of missing a nuance of expression." - The Times

Further information about the Cambridge Music Festival can be found at


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Images - The Sixteen (Molinavisuals) Britten Sinfonia (Harry Rankin)

About Ely Cathedral

Highly regarded by historians and architects from all over the world for its beauty and size, Ely Cathedral is widely acknowledged as 'one of the wonders of the Medieval world'. Visible for miles around, the Cathedral is often referred to as 'The Ship of the Fens'.

The present building dates from 1081 and is a remarkable example of both Romanesque and Norman architecture. In addition to its unique Octagon Tower and magnificent Lady Chapel, Ely has the third longest nave of any UK Cathedral. The Cathedral's role today is not so far removed from its days as a Benedictine monastery and offers regular daily worship with a special emphasis on choral music. It still maintains a resident choir of 22 choristers and 6 lay clerks and so continues the tradition of choral evensong every day of the week during term time.

As well as being a major visitor attraction, the Cathedral serves as a cultural focal point for East Anglia by providing a unique venue for the arts & music, for exhibitions, concerts and theatre. Most recently Ely has gained global recognition a prominent film location including Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Other Boleyn Girl, Macbeth, The King's Speech and The Crown.