BMG Festival 2024

When? April 5-7th 2024
Where? Churchill College, Cambridge
What is happening?
A draft timetable of the weekend.

SessionFriday 5th AprilSaturday 6th AprilSunday 7th April
Morning Contests  Workshops Masterclass
Lunchtime Performance by
non-competing orchestras
Performance by
non-competing orchestras
AfternoonBFO RehearsalWorkshops Masterclass
Guest performances
Elias Sibley and Florence Petit 
Guest performances
Samrat Majumder & Iain Lennon
Festival closes 5.00pm
EveningBFO Performance Concert
Raffaele La Ragione
and Andrea De Vitis   
Dinner Announcements
of winners and presentations
Guest performances
Open mic

I imagine that many of you will not be surprised to hear that the Israeli Plectrum Orchestra have reluctantly decided that they are unable to come to Cambridge in April. Raziel Mahatzri, Manager of the Israeli Plectrum Orchestra, wrote to us saying: 

‘’I would like to explain that there are several factors involved in making the final decision. The following bodies were involved: The musicians of the orchestra, the management of the municipal company in which the orchestra operates, and a municipal security section which gives approval for the delegations going abroad. .Unfortunately, due to the unstable security situation in Israel and abroad and the uncertainty, we have to cancel officially our participation. It is not an easy decision for us, but it may be the right decision under the current situation.”
Raziel Mahatzri, Manager of the Israeli Plectrum Orchestra.

This is of course, disappointing, but entirely understandable. We are delighted to be able to tell you that we have secured the attendance of an internationally recognised guitarist, Samrat Majumder who is originally from Scotland and is currently studying in Dusseldorf.  He and Iain Lennon have played together before, and will do so as part of the concert on Sunday 7th April.
Find out more about Samrat Majumder: 

We have invited Raffaele La Ragione and his guitar duo partner Andrea De Vitis to play in the concert with the BFO on Friday night. His CD was reviewed in the summer edition of the Newsletter.  This is the first time we have had a performance by players from Italy, and we are sure this will get the Festival off to an exciting start. 
Find out more about Raffaele La Ragione:
and Andrea De VItis:

For Saturday night, Elias Sibley will play some banjo music and also switch to his guitar and play with Florence Petit on cello. The combination of guitar and cello provides a rich fusion of expression and spirit to their compelling performance.

We have also developed a good range of workshop offerings from experts in our instruments and in many styles of playing, which will provide a great choice of activity for the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.   

So, in summary, what can you expect from the weekend? 

  • A concert from two Italian players Raffaele La Ragione and Andrea De Vitis on mandolin and guitar 
  • A concert from Samrat Majumder and Iain Lennon on guitar and mandolin
  • A concert from Elias Sibley and Florence Petit on banjo, guitar and cello
  • A concert from our own British Fretted Orchestra
  • The opportunity to take part in contests 
  • A wide range of workshops to both play in and listen to 
  • The chance to play with your orchestra to perform to a knowledgeable audience 
  • To listen to other orchestras from around the UK 
  • To play in the Festival Orchestra, probably the largest gathering of fretted instruments in the UK for many years 
  • And perhaps of most importance, to meet friends old and new, and to socialise with them in a Cambridge College setting 

So what happens next? 

This is the Syllabus booklet for the weekend. Please feel free to download it.

Bookings can be made through

Accommodation will be available in Churchill College if you wish to stay on site.

Bed & Breakfast – Churchill College Conferences (

Accommodation should be booked directly with Churchill College using the link above.

Other accommodation in Cambridge within a short distance of the Festival is available.