The York Early Music Festival will this year be opened by primary school pupils who have built four giant Spanish galleons for the performance.

Year six pupils from Lord Deramore’s Primary School, with the help of community musician Sammi Tooze and members of the National Centre for Early Music’s Learning and Participation team, have built and decorated the galleons, which are 6feet x 6feet, ready for the opening concert today.

The festival, which runs from today to July 19, will open with ‘The English Spanish Girl’, an adaptation of a Miguel de Cervantes short story featuring vocal and instrumental music from 16th century England and Spain.

York’s Early Music Festival attracts many of the world’s finest early music artists to perform in some of York’s most historic venues.

As well as celebrating the warmth and colour of Spanish medieval music, the festival will also celebrate German Protestant music to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the birth of composer CPE Bach.

The festival is supported by the Arts Council England, with BBC Radio 3, the National Centre for Early Music, City of York Council and members of the York Hoteliers Association.

Guest artists at the festival include the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Zapico brothers from Spain.

For details visit , or call NCEM on 01904 658338 or email