ONE of Oxfordshire’s biggest musical stars is to play a charity concert at the Sheldonian Theatre to celebrate the venue’s 350th anniversary.

Gaz Coombes, the acclaimed singer-songwriter and former Supergrass frontman – will play the historic Christopher Wren-designed Oxford concert hall on May 19.

The Mercury Prize and Ivor Novello-nominated artist will perform a bespoke set with orchestral accompaniment arranged and conducted by composer Luke Lewis.

All proceeds from the concert will be donated to Oxford charities Yellow Submarine,​ which supports people with learning difficulties, and the Young Women’s Music Project – which aims to get more girls and women into contemporary music.

Audiences can expect a career-spanning concert programme with orchestrations of tracks from Gaz’s 2012 debut album ​Here Come the Bombs, the Mercury Prize nominated ​Matador and last year’s critically-acclaimed ​World’s Strongest Man.

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Luke Lewis, a former Oxford music student, said “This is a unique opportunity to bring together talented young musicians with an internationally acclaimed artist.

“I’ve worked as an arranger for many pop artists over the years and since our paths crossed, the idea of bringing Gaz – undoubtedly one of the finest songwriters of his generation – to the Sheldonian with an orchestra has been a little dream of mine. So through a mutual friend, Gaz’s guitarist Nick Fowler, we put our heads together and hatched a plan!”

Suzy Bowtell of YWMP will open the show, which is supported by Oxford University’s Faculty of Music and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH).

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Zahra Haji Fath Ali Tehrani, the Director of the YWMP, said: “The Young Women’s Music Project is a vital part of the Oxford music scene, encouraging young women to access music and help it further their careers. Being able to showcase local female musicians in a venue like the Sheldonian will be a first for us.

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“We are delighted to be on a bill alongside such a high act and shed light on what YWMP contributes to Oxfordshire.”

Alice Knibbs of Yellow Submarine, said: “We are extremely grateful that Gaz has named us as one of the charities to be supported.

“The concert promises to be an exciting and fun way to raise money as well as providing us with an opportunity to share our story and add to our celebrations as this year marks Yellow Submarine’s 10th anniversary.”

Suzanne Aspden, ​Associate Professor at the Faculty of Music ​said: “​We’re delighted that the Sheldonian Theatre, which has played host to so many musical luminaries throughout its history, is being celebrated by one of the leading British musicians of the present day.

“It’s particularly fitting that an Oxford artist is not only honouring the city’s musical history but, in his generous support for two Oxford charities including the Young Women’s Music Project, helping to ensure the development of the next generation of Oxford’s musicians too.”

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  • Tickets will be available from​ on Monday at 11am.
  • Meet and greet packages will be available for £50 and include an invitation to the after party.