WINCHESTER'S reputation as a go-to city for top ranking music will be enhanced still further this October with the arrival of a new Winchester Guitar Festival.

The brainchild of locally-based but internationally-renowned classical guitarist Mark Eden, the festival will be putting world-class performers into one of the City's most atmospheric venues to create a uniquely distinctive musical presence with a programme ranging from Renaissance England to the bordellos of Argentina.

“The classical guitar is an understated instrument whose power lies in creating powerful atmospheres,” says Mark. “This fits perfectly with Winchester which has a number of brilliant venues which are quiet and maybe sometimes not well-known but which make for a beautiful experience.”

For this opening year the venue of choice is St. Lawrence’s in The Square which will host over the first weekend in October (Friday 4th – Sunday 6th October) some of the biggest names in classical guitar music from the UK and abroad.

But, significantly, not only guitarists. Maybe the most high profile name taking part is that of James Gilchrist, one of the finest tenors on the English musical scene with a string of successful CDs to his name. James will be singing ‘Songs with Guitar’ by Schubert, Britten, Dowland, and Dodgson accompanied by Mark Eden (4th October 7.00 pm) – and he did not need a lot of persuasion

“James is a friend of mine but I was delighted when he immediately agreed to take part in our inaugural festival,” says Mark Eden. “Having him perform in the perfect space of St. Lawrence’s will be a very special occasion.”

At the other end of the programme Mark will also be accompanying American flautist Jessica Marie Quinones who will perform ‘The History of Tango’ ( October 6th 3.00 pm) to transform a Sunday afternoon in Hampshire into a brilliant immersion in the passion of Buenos Aires.