THREE of the foremost names in the Early Music world, York countertenor Iestyn Davies, the viol consort Phantasm and keyboard player Mahan Esfahani, will unite for a gala concert to be broadcast live around Europe from the National Centre for Early Music, York, on Monday.

Viols, Voices And Virginals, A Celebration Of English Music Across Two Centuries will be aired by BBC Radio 3 in Britain and countries in the European Broadcasting Union from 7pm and the York audience must be in place by 6.50pm.

Davies, the son of Fitzwilliam String Quartet founder member and cellist Ioan Davies, latterly has been singing the role of Oberon in the English National Opera’s production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: the latest step up the ladder for his burgeoning international career.

Yet despite returning to the city of his birth in 2007 to bring up his family, Iestyn has performed only once in York in his professional years, stepping in at short notice in January 2008 for the Purcell & Blow concert at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall. “This month York, next month New York,” began Martin Dreyer’s review, which proclaimed “this is a voice that is going to make waves for a long time to come”.

The 2010 Royal Philharmonic Society Artist of the Year is delighted to be singing in York again.

“I’ve only ever done one concert in York in my three years back here and that was standing in for someone at Peter Seymour’s concert at the Lyons, but I’m glad that I’ve earned the right to sing here by what I’ve done rather than the fact you’re local gives you a concert,” he says.

Here is a singer who has performed Britten’s Death In Venice at La Scala in Milan. “It was really great fun, singing an English opera to people who are used to Tosca… and they absolutely loved it,” he says. “It’s good to change perceptions.”

Coming up is another high point in his career. “I’m going to make my debut for the Metropolitan Opera in New York, singing a role in Handel’s Rodelina, which will be very exciting,” says Iestyn.

And the good news for old York: you can see his New York performance in a satellite broadcast at City Screen on December 3.

Viols, Voices and Virginals, A Celebration of English Music across Two Centuries, with Phantasm, Mahan Esfahani and Iestyn Davies, National Centre for Early Music, York, Monday, 7pm. Box office: 01904 658338 or