WHITTINGTON International Chamber Music Festival 2017 presents Beethoven in the Borders.

This May’s fifth Whittington Music Festival has a gothic edge. Beethoven in the Borders is being promoted with a striking image of the famously-moody composer’s head emerging out of the ruins of the stormy Whittington Castle.

The artwork is the creation of local author and illustrator Simon Greaves, better known for his comic book interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays.

“He was just the right person for the job,” says festival chairman Lawrence Mortimer. “He has totally captured the drama we can expect from a week of Beethoven concerts.”

The Festival runs from May 16 to 21 and the six concerts cover every period of the life of one of classical music’s most popular composers.

This year the Festival has attracted 15 world-class international musicians from seven different countries, among them the highly-respected Elias String Quartet, which has recently completed a world tour of Beethoven performances.

To pick up on the Gothic mood, they and other artists will offer an open-air concert in the grounds of Chirk Castle to launch the festival.

As in previous years, the musicians will spend time in local schools and will also work with young musicians from across Shropshire on a short piece of music they will then perform in public.

Anybody aged eight to 25 can gain free attendance to any of the concerts and artistic director James Barralet is keen they should grab the chance by ringing 01691 657986 to reserve seats.

Tickets are £15 and are for sale from Rowanthorn in Oswestry and Whittington Post Office. They can also be bought online at www.whittingtonmusicfestival.org.uk, where there are full programme details.