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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;

Book tickets at Dorking Halls:
01306 881717


Registered charity number 275176

Events and tickets

Come and Sing

Verdi Requiem

March Chorus Master

Ben Costello

Ben Costello

Ben is a freelance musical director, adjudicator, singing coach and accompanist, working internationally. He is also Artistic Director of Thames Concerts, Founding Director of Kingston Chamber Singers, a lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, and a singing teacher at Tiffin Girls’ School.  Ben has been Chorus Master for the Leith Hill Musical Festival March concerts since 2014.


Ben is a busy generalist music adjudicator for the British and International Federation of Festivals since 2009, and judges at festivals throughout the UK and overseas, with recent visits to Zimbabwe, Botswana, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, and closer to home, Ireland, Scotland and the Isles of Man and Wight.   


A specialist in musical theatre, with his work in that field embracing musical direction, singing teaching, accompanying and dramaturgy, Ben has worked extensively for most of the leading London performing arts and music colleges.  Countless of his former students enjoy successful careers in London’s West End and beyond.


Born and based in London, Ben trained initially as a flautist, before majoring in piano, singing and conducting. His early career included répétiteur work for London opera companies and the London Symphony Orchestra.  He is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, chairing the Company’s annual musical direction scholarship, and chairing the Company’s Jazz committee. 


Outside music Ben is a keen motorcyclist.