THE centrepiece of the 17th Ripon International Festival will be the September 14 performance of The Hallé, one of the world’s greatest orchestras, at Harrogate Royal Hall.

The concert will be conducted by the festival’s artistic director, Janusz Piotrowicz, who promises "edge-of-the-seat excitement" in a 7.30pm programme of Verdi's Force Of Destiny, Grieg's Peer Gynt Suites and Rachmaninov's ravishing Symphony No 2.

The voluptuous scoring, gorgeous melodies and explosive energy of Rachmaninov's work makes it one of Classic FM’s most popular requests. Tickets can be booked through the Harrogate Theatre box office on 01423 502116 and online at

The Orchestra of Opera North will open the festival at Ripon Cathedral on September 6, when Janusz Piotrowicz will be the conductor for Beethoven's Symphony No 8, Mozart's Flute Concerto No 2 and Mendelssohn's "Scottish" Symphony.

Irish folk singer, fiddler and Riverdance soloist Niamh ni Charra will perform traditional Irish jigs and reels, lilting ballads and stories of old Ireland with her trio at Helperby Millennium Hall, near York, on September 7 and at Pateley Bridge Playhouse on September 8. Niamh's itinerary this year is taking her to Spain, New England, Canada and North East China and she is Live Ireland's Female Musician of the Year for 2014, while her latest recording, Cuz, was chosen as Instrumental Album of the Year 2014 by the Chicago Irish American News.

The Jazz Repertory Company are returning to the festival to present Pete Long and His Goodmen on September 17 at Holy Trinity Church, Ripon, in a tribute to Benny Goodman. Long is one of Ronnie Scott’s All Stars and his dazzling clarinet playing has won him international acclaim.

Sir Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2009, reads from the strong, searing and sad The Custom House, the lucid and melancholic Laurels And Donkeys and his war poem collection The Cinder Path at the Ripon Spa Hotel on September 18. He also will answer questions about his writing and the role of the Poet Laureate.

Ensemble Fantasticus will play Music at Markenfield Hall concerts at 2.30pm and 7.30pm on September 19 and the Escher String Quartet, from New York, will perform pieces by Mendelssohn, Ravel and Beethoven at St Andrew’s Church, Aldborough, near Boroughbridge, on September 21 .

In between those classical concerts, Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band will turn the focus to brass on September 20 at Holy Trinity Church, Ripon, where their programme will include Sullivan's Overture toYeoman Of The Guard, Lennon & McCartney and Queen favourites and Great War songs, marches and The Last Post.

The Coal Porters, the British/American bluegrass band led by former Long Ryders ringleader Sid Griffin, will close the festival on September 24 at the Ripon Spa Hotel.

For the full programme, starting times and online booking, go to Tickets also are on sale on 01765 603994 and 01765 605508.