Oxford Lieder Festival is the largest of its kind in the country.

Though size isn’t everything, it’s a good indicator of the strength of the festival’s success. It’s been 11 glorious years of increasingly successful festivals that have propelled Oxford Lieder Festival to become one of Europe’s premier music events. From humble beginnings with seven concerts in two weeks, this year’s programme features over 50 events and a line of world class performers. Between Friday, October 11, and Saturday, October 26, in addition to the concerts, the festival has themed events and opportunities for involvement for all ages and abilities, offering something for every taste.

The festival was started by Burford pianist Sholto Kynoch who after graduating from Worcester College, Oxford, simply wanted to play Schubert with friends. So he booked some venues, gathered five singers and another pianist, plus the trio of his Royal Academy of Music teacher, and hey presto, a mini festival. He gave little thought to the make-up of the audiences and was surprised to discover not only that the shows sold out but that a large part of the audience were complete strangers. And they loved it, there was nothing like this in Oxford or further afield and they wanted more. Since those early beginnings the festival has blossomed into a calendar highlight for lovers of song. Each day of the festival is filled with a plethora of musical events.

Singers can join the Festival Chorus workshops (Thursday, October 3, 10, 12 & 13) which culminate in a concert of part songs.

Two masterclasses are on offer, one for those applying to Music College and one for adult amateur singers. Young singers will be ‘popping up’ in some surprising city institutions (October 5 & 12) including Central Library, the Big Bang, the Randolph Hotel and Browns Brassiere. The hugely successful Free Family Concerts are back (October 13 & 19).

The World Class programme continues this year with its prestigious opening concert featuring Schumann’s Myrthen, a wedding present for his beloved Clara, that contains many of his most famous songs, sung here by Brigid Steinberger and John Mark Ainsley accompanied by Julius Drake.

Sir Willard White also returns to sing a mixed programme of songs and duets with his wife Sylvia Kevorkian and pianist Eugene Asti.

The first weekend introduces two very different themes.

Frozen Landscapes and Winter Journeys explores journeys to cold climes – both metaphorical and literal – with four concerts including one interspersed with readings from the diaries of the Antarctic explorer, Captain Scott; plus an extraordinary trip through the Pitt Rivers Museum. In the Britten centenary year the Festival pays homage with a Britten weekend featuring concerts, discussion, and master-classes.

Concerts take place in the Holywell Music Room; Oxford’s newest music venue, the stunning church of St John the Evangelist, Iffley Road; New College Chapel; and St Michael in the Northgate.

For details of the full programme go to oxfordlieder.co.uk