Founded in 2013, Clifton International Festival of Music is Bristol's annual festival of world class classical music. Our mission is to bring you the best of music old and new, to inspire, enchant and delight you.

Tom Williams - Artistic Director

Tom is a freelance choral director, singer, teacher and lecturer on music. He is the founder and director of award winning chamber choir, The Erebus Ensemble, and Assistant Director of Music at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London. 

Tom read Music at the University of Bristol and continued to postgraduate level studying the performance practice of Early Music, and in particular the Magnificat settings of Franco- Flemish Renaissance composer, Nicolas Gombert. Since leaving Bristol he has been most active as a choral conductor and has gained particular recognition for his interpretation of the music of the Renaissance and early Baroque periods. He has given concerts across the UK and Europe, broadcast religious services for BBC Radio.

He maintains a close relationship with the Bristol Old Vic Theatre, and has collaborated with its celebrated Artistic Director Tom Morris on staged productions of Handel’s Messiah and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (both with The Erebus Ensemble). He recently collaborated on a revision of the Messiah production, which ran for four performances at the Bristol Old Vic, toured to Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall and Cambridgeshire’s Saffron Hall, and was shown in cinemas nationwide.

Peter Phillips - Festival Patron

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Photo: Eric Richmond

Peter Phillips has dedicated his career to the research and performance of Renaissance polyphony, and to the perfecting of choral sound. Having won a scholarship to Oxford in 1972, he gained experience as an undergraduate in conducting small vocal ensembles, already experimenting with the rarer parts of the repertoire. He founded The Tallis Scholars in 1973, with whom he has now appeared in over 2,200 concerts and made over 60 discs, encouraging interest in polyphony all over the world. As a result of this commitment Peter Phillips and The Tallis Scholars have done more than any other group to establish the sacred vocal music of the Renaissance as one of the great repertoires of Western classical music.

Peter Phillips also conducts other specialist ensembles. He is currently working with the BBC Singers, the Netherlands Chamber Choir, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Choeur de Chambre de Namur. He is patron of the choirs of Merton College (Oxford), Sansara (London), El Leon de Oro (Spain), and of the Festivals of Portsmouth and Clifton; he also hosts the annual Tallis Scholars Summer Course in Avila (Spain). In 2014 he launched the London International A Cappella Choir Competition in St John's Smith Square, attracting choirs from all over the world.

FIGO - ensemble in residence


FIGO is an emerging chamber group specialising in historically informed performance. The ensemble uses either original or replica period instruments and their interpretation is shaped by 17th and 18th century performance practice and ideals.


The group formed in late 2017 having met as Scholars at the Royal Academy of Music. They have since enjoyed various engagements ranging from chamber recitals to larger works such as the Monteverdi Vespers, Bach’s B minor Mass and Haydn’s Nelson Mass. 


The group was invited by Rachel Podger to perform at her 2019 Brecon Baroque Festival. Another highlight was the ensemble’s residency at The Exon Singers Festival which concluded in a live broadcast with BBC Radio 4. FIGO has enjoyed collaborating with Collective31Erebus EnsembleThe Exon Singers and the Choir of St. Martin in the Fields 


FIGO was selected for the Brighton Early Music Festival Live Scheme 2018 and was a Concordia Foundation Artist in 2019.

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