The classical programme in this years festival includes many of the ‘big names’ of composer – Haydn, Bach, Schubert, Handel and the like. But dotted amongst those names are a handful of composers that don’t have the same profile, but arguably, should. Here’s a brief guide to some of them, plus a playlist of the featured music at the end.

Sally Beamish (born 1956 – pictured above)

“I woke to the sound of a door closing softly downstairs. Even now, that sound chills me”.

When Sally Beamish’s viola was stolen from her house it was of course, hugely distressing. But it also provided the impetus for a new career, spurring her on to become, instead of a performer, a composer. Since that day, she’s gone on to compose a huge range of music including works for theatre, film and TV.

Hear Sally’s Carnival Samba on Friday 25th August as part of the Salieca Trio’s concert. Details.

Alejandro Viñao (born 1951)

Argentinian-born but London based, Alejandro Viñao is particularly known for his percussion music, and it’s his ‘Kahn Variations’ that feature in our Festival, written for solo Marimba, possibly his most famous piece, Alejandro has composed music for over 20 films and has also presented for BBC Radio 3.

Hear the Kahn Variations in our late-night concert on Friday 25th August. Details

Pablo Casals (1876-1973)

Perhaps better known as a cellist, especially his recordings of the Bach Cello Suites, the Catalan-Puerto Rican Pablo Casals was also a conductor and a composer. Rascal’s performed his Song of the Birds at the White House for President John F Kennedy in 1961, and you can hear that performance below, and also live as part of the Festival.

Hear Song of the Birds as part of our late-night concert on Saturday 26th August. Details.

Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)

At his peak of his fame in the mid 20th century, composer Edmund Rubbra is now less well known. He started composing while still at school but later worked in one of the many shoe factories in his home town, Northampton. Aged just 17 his life was changed when he decided to put on a concert of music by the composer Cyril Scott, who then took him on as a pupil. Edmund went on to write 11 symphonies, choral music and concertos as well as chamber music, piano music and much more besides.

Hear Edmund Rubbra’s Alabaster Sonnets as part of our coffee concert on Sunday 27th August. Details.

Sir Arthur Bliss (1891-1975)

Arthur Bliss went from being a musical renegade, to composer of popular romantic music, to being somewhat out of fashion. He was a prolific composer, with over 140 compositions to his name, ranging from chamber music through to opera, as well as many ceremonial pieces composed while he was Master of the Queen’s Music.

Hear his Two Nursery Rhymes as part of our coffee concert on Sunday 27th August. Details.

You can also listen to Sir Arthur Bliss’ Desert Island Discs here!

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936)

Probably the best known composer on this list, but perhaps less well known today than he was in the past. He’s known for his orchestral composition The Pines of Rome, and his fame was at its peak in the 1920’s and 1930’s with his music being performed worldwide, from Brazil to Russia. A traditionalist, he was not a fan of more progressive modern music, saying “Atonality – thank heaven, that’s done for!”. While he’s now mostly known for orchestral music, he wrote 9 operas, and we hear some of his vocal music as part of the Festival.

Hear his Il Tramonto (The Sunset) as part of our Festival closing concert on Sunday 27th August. Details.