Dorset farmer to conduct music at King Charles III's Coronation

dorset farmer to conduct music at king charles iii's coronation
Dorset farmer to conduct music at Coronation Luc Castel - Getty Images

A Dorset farmer will conduct the first 20 minutes of music at the King Charles III's Coronation.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner, recognised as one of the leading interpreters of early music, will conduct The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque soloists in a pre-service programme of choral music at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6th May 2023.

King Charles and Sir John first met at a Sandringham Estate event, and both share an interest in classical music and sustainable agriculture. According to BBC News, the King used to visit Sir John's farm in Shaftesbury because it was on a direct route from Highgrove House down to Poundbury, Dorset.

Speaking about the opportunity to perform, Sir John told BBC News: "He very, very generously asked me to do the first 20 minutes when everybody has arrived and are in their seats but before he himself arrives in his carriage.

poole, england february 23 conductor sir john eliot gardiner rehearses on stage on february 23, 2021 in poole, england bournemouth symphony orchestra returns in full to the stage at lighthouse, poole with conductor sir john eliot gardiner and pianist stephen hough their concert broadcasts live via bsolivecom on wednesday photo by finnbarr webstergetty images
Finnbarr Webster - Getty Images

"This is kind-of a pre-coronation mini concert. We do our 20 minutes and then we have to move out pretty quickly in order to let the abbey choir come in and take our place in the choir stalls. It's a wonderful honour to kick off the proceedings with some very beautiful classical music."

The conductor, who was awarded a knighthood for his services in the 1998 Queen's Birthday Honours, also gifted King Charles two heifers for his 60th birthday.

bologna, italy may 02 sir john eliot gardiner conducts the english baroque soloists in the bologna festival 2022 opening concert at manzoni theater on may 02, 2022 in bologna, italy photo by roberto serra iguana pressgetty images
Roberto Serra - Iguana Press - Getty Images

"I showed him my cattle and he liked them so I decided for his 60th birthday to give him a couple of heifers. When he knighted me, he leant forward with the sword and said, 'Thank you for the heifers.'"

Elsewhere, a special Coronation Concert will take place at Windsor Castle on Sunday 7th May 2023. Broadcast by the BBC, the concert will bring global music icons and contemporary stars together in celebration of the historic occasion.

The concert will be attended by members of the public, as well as charities supported by the Monarch. Further details about the concert, the national ticket ballot and the line-up will be released in due course.

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