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Festival of Ideas: War Horse author comes to York

Posted on 13 March 2018

Acclaimed author and storyteller, Michael Morpurgo, will launch York Festival of Ideas 2018 with a performance of his book The Mozart Question in York Minster.

Michael Morpurgo at the York Festival of Ideas in 2017

The performance interweaves narration by Michael with music by Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and Vivaldi to tell a story of friendship and family, truth and secrets, set against the backdrop of the Holocaust.

Taking place on Tuesday 5 June, the launch event is brought to York by York Festival of Ideas in collaboration with York Minster and The Ebor Lectures.

It marks the beginning of a busy programme of mostly free Festival events including talks, performances and exhibitions on the theme of ‘Imagining the Impossible’.

Moving performance

Joan Concannon, Director of York Festival of ideas, said: “This year’s Festival is packed with more than 200 entertaining and thought-provoking events for all interests and some really exciting speakers.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming Michael back to York for this moving performance of his book – the evening will be a fantastic and memorable start to York Festival of Ideas 2018.”

The performance of The Mozart Question features actress Victoria Moseley, violinist Daniel Pioro and the Storyteller’s Ensemble and tells a haunting tale of survival against the odds.

WWII prisoners

Protagonist Paolo Levi is a world-famous performer who developed his passion for music as a young child with the help of his teacher. Alongside this story is that of his parents who were both musicians too – Jewish prisoners forced to play music in a concentration camp during the Second World War.

Michael Morpurgo was appointed Children’s Laureate in 2003 and has written over 130 books, including Kensuke’s Kingdom, Why the Whales Came and War Horse.

War Horse was adapted for a hugely successful stage production by the National Theatre and for a film directed by Steven Spielberg. His book Private Peaceful was adapted for the stage by Simon Reade and made into a film, directed by Pat O'Connor.

Other events

He was awarded the OBE for his writing in 2006.

Tickets for The Mozart Question and other festival events will be available from from the 8 May 2018.

York Festival of Ideas was established and is coordinated by the University of York and runs from Tuesday 5 June to Sunday 17 June. For updates on the programme and speakers please subscribe to the Festival mailing list at

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