THE Ulverston Music Festival springs into action for 2023 with a brace of concerts at Ulverston Parish Church.

The first day, Friday February 24, will celebrate a trio of female composers.

German soprano Sophie Klußmann and Italian pianist Andrea Rucli perform songs from Ella Adaiewsky’s 1907 collection of 24 Songs for piano and voice.

Ella was a successful concert pianist and also a pioneer in documenting the folk music of Resia, a remote region in north-eastern Italy.

Ella’s name may not be familiar to you but fellow female composers Clara Schumann and Alma Mahler are perhaps names you have heard of, although in a different context. In their time they struggled to gain recognition as composers and Ulverston Music Festival is proud to champion their accomplishments.

A spokesman for the festival said: “The first half of the second concert (February 25) may appeal to our younger audience when we hear Poulenc’s musical re-telling of the timeless classic Babar the Elephant.

“Poulenc placed the illustrations of this unusual story by French author Brunhoff on the piano after his granddaughter became bored with his piano playing, and these became the basis of his creation over the coming months.

Music with a story behind it continues in the second half with well-known songs and arias by Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro), Dvorak (Song to the Moon from Russalka), Puccini (La Boheme), Schubert and Strauss.”

The series at Ulverston Parish Church will continue in March with a Rachmaninoff marathon. This feast of the ivories will take place with two days of concerts featuring fourteen talented young pianists from across the world studying at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Festival Artistic Director Anthony Hewitt, who has curated the programmer alongside John Thwaites, head of Keyboard at the conservatoire, said: “It’s a chance to hear back-to-back some of his most beloved piano pieces, including the famous Prelude Op.3, No.2 which was dubbed ‘it’ and the languid ‘Musical Moments’.

“Rachmaninoff’s music is so infused with emotion and nostalgia, and he was such an incredible pianist with enormous hands, he wrote technically dynamic music that is so exciting and dazzling.

“Poetic one moment, passionate and powerful the next, it often overwhelms both performer and audience; he created a winning formula that has stood the test of time for over 100 years.”

Tickets for both weekends are now on sale via the festival website, but can also be purchased on the door, on the night.