The Avison Ensemble play almost exclusively period instruments and are thus best experienced live, in the smaller more intimate venues where we prefer to play. Below is a diary of our upcoming performances, so check back often as we regularly add new performances throughout the year. Alternatively, signup for our mailing list to be kept informed of new concerts and Avison Ensemble events.


Jun Tue 26

Exhibition: Charles Avison

Exploring the music and heritage of Britain's foremost concerto composer

Charles Avison (1709-1770) played an outstanding role in 18th century Newcastle as organiser of the town’s most important musical entertainment. He successfully ran subscription concerts from the mid-1730s until his death in 1770. He also composed extensively and is regarded as Britain’s foremost composer of concertos in the 18th century. Of national importance in his day, Avison’s international reputation today rests not only on his important compositions but also on his Essay on Musical Expression, the first book in English to discuss the aesthetics of music.

The exhibition will celebrate Avison’s life and legacy through examples of his music compositions and works. The exhibition includes a rare opportunity to view his two manuscript Workbooks – volumes containing more than 600 manuscript pages of his music composition sketches and music by others. These Workbooks are very rare survivals showing how 18th century composers wrote their music.

The exhibition will look at Avison’s significance to Britain’s heritage and explore his important local connections and colleagues. The exhibition will also showcase the international revival of Avison’s music and reputation by the Avison Ensemble.

The exhibition will appeal to anyone with an interest in Newcastle’s history as well as anyone who is passionate about 18th century music and culture.

The exhibition has been organised by the Avison Ensemble in conjunction with Newcastle City Library and has been made possible with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Charles Avison Exhibition is part of our Avison Workbooks Project.

Newcastle Collection Showcase, Level 6
Newcastle City Library
Charles Avison Building
33 New Bridge Street West
Newcastle upon Tyne
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The Charles Avison exhibition is part of our Avison Workbooks Project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Click here for more information on our Avison Workbooks Project.


Jul Sat 14 11am

Gordon Dixon & John Treherne - cello recital

Part of the William Shield Festival 2018

As part of the week-long William Shield Festival organised by Community Music Whickham and Swalwell, the Avison Ensemble's executive director and cellist Gordon Dixon will be performing with pianist John Treherne a programme of music based around the premiere performance of a new set of variations on Shield's popular song The Ploughboy from his 1787 comic opera The Farmer which will be performed during the festival.

Born in Gateshead, William Shield (1748-1829) became a noted violinist in Newcastle and performed in Avison's orchestra before being appointed in 1773 as principal violist at Covent Garden where he also worked as a composer. He was appointed Master of the King's Musick by George III in 1817.

Steve Halsey has written a new set of variations for cello and piano on Shield's song The Ploughboy and the variations theme continues with a performance of Beethoven's 7 Variations on Bei Mannern, welche Liebe fuhlen from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, WoO 46. Gordon and John will also perform Beethoven's wonderful Cello Sonata in G minor op.5 no.2 written in 1796.


Steve Halsey, Variations for cello and piano on William Shield's song The Ploughboy

Beethoven, Cello Sonata op.5 no.2 in G minor and 7 Variations on Bei Mannern, welche Liebe fuhlen from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, WoO 46

As well as directing the Avison Ensemble Gordon Dixon is an accomplished cellist, having performed extensively in the UK, as well as performing on tour with international cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Click here for more about Gordon. John Treherne MBE is well-known in the North East for his fantastic work with Gateshead Schools' Music Service and since his retirement running the William Shield Festival. Steve Halsey's compositions are often performed in the North East and he is particularly known for his sterling work as Director of the Newcastle Music Service.

More details about the William Field Festival 2018 which runs from Monday 9th to Saturday 14th July can be found here.

The Literary & Philosophical Society
23 Westgate Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
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Tickets: £8 in advance or on the door, £6 concessions.