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; The Dorking Halls was built to house the Festival and opened in 1931; 'Song for a Spring Festival', written by RVW to celebrate the Festival's 50th year, may only be performed at the Festival; RVW retired as Festival Conductor in 1953, but continued to conduct the St Matthew Passion until 1958; Whilst living in Dorking, RVW composed works including Serenade to Music, Symphonies 4 - 7 and The Pilgrim's Progress; RVW conducted the first combined choirs concert at the Festival on 10 May 1905; The first competition day at the Festival exclusively for children was held in 1921; In 1934 the BBC broadcast part of the Festival performance of Dream of Gerontius; The first Festival performance of the St Matthew Passion in 1931 had 800 singers;

Leith Hill Musical Festival
Bringing choirs together
for competitions and concerts in Dorking since 1905

Registered charity number 275176

Events and tickets

March Chorus Master

Ben CostelloBen Costello is a conductor, musical director, adjudicator, singing coach and accompanist, working internationally. In addition to his freelance commitments, he is Artistic Director of Thames Concerts Ltd, Founding Director of Kingston Chamber Singers, Chorus Master for the Leith Hill Musical Festival Combined Choirs Concerts, Guest Conductor of the Voices of Hangzhou Youth Choir, a lecturer in musical theatre at the University of Portsmouth, and a musical director and singing coach at Laine Theatre Arts.

Ben has been involved as a musical director with numerous productions across the U.K. He remains a guest conductor with various choirs, and as a pianist collaborates with countless singers and instrumentalists. He judges at festivals internationally as an adjudicator member of both the British and International Federation of Festivals and the Schools Music Association.

A specialist in musical theatre, Ben has worked for Arts Ed (London), Mountview Academy, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Guildford School of Acting, the Royal Academy of Music, the London College of Music, and the universities of London, Surrey and Kingston.

Born and based in London, Ben is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, a member of the Court of the Royal Society of Musicians, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Freeman of the City of London. His leisure interests include motorcycling, food and drink, travel, and composing.

Ben's association with LHMF began in 2014, when he was adjudicator for the Division 1 Ensembles, Women’s Song, Part Song and Own Choice competitions.