Spitalfields Music Festival is back

Fifteen new works premiere at this year’s festival, including new pieces by Errollyn Wallen, Alicia Jane Turner, Lola De La Mata, Howard Goodall, Charles Amirkhanian and Edmund Finnis.

Spitalfields Music has today announced the line-up for its 2021 Festival, which will take place from 1-11 July. The festival will see the return of extraordinary live performance to the heart of London’s East End following a year of unprecedented global uncertainty, which saw the 2020 festival reimagined as a digital offering. Tickets go on general sale on Tuesday 27 April.

Programmed by the festival’s guest curators, composers Errollyn Wallen, Edmund Finnis, and journalist and broadcaster Kate Molleson, alongside Spitalfields Music Chief Exec, Sarah Gee, the 2021 festival will bring together acclaimed artists, composers and performers working across different genres, traditions and styles for ten days of events exploring the extensive range and resilience of classical music. 

World premieres and new music will be performed alongside classic repertoire and cross-artform collaborations in iconic East London locations. From Christ Church, Spitalfields to Café Oto in Hackney, audiences and artists alike will experience the unifying power of live music, and its ability to transcend borders, languages, communities and culture.

Programme highlights include:

  • The London Symphony Chorus will present the world premieres of Errollyn Wallen’s After Winter and Howard Goodall’s Never to Forget  in a concert that celebrates the kindness of strangers and commemorates the NHS workers who lost their lives over the last year. 
  • Premiering at the historic George Tavern, Alicia Jane Turner’s immersive sound and video installation, a place to call home, will explore queer spaces over time, from historic LGBTQ+ culture in London to online spaces in the present day.
  • The World Premiere of Ratchet Attach It by American composer, percussionist and godfather of audio collage Charles Amirkhanian will sit alongside a rare performance of The Rite of Spring by pianola virtuoso Rex Lawson
  • The world premiere of Aberdeen, a deeply personal new collaboration between David Fennessy, Sonia Cromarty and Tim Cooper, will combine live cello, electric guitar, electronics and found sounds to form an immersive installation exploring memory, objects and family ties.
  • Making their festival debut, Manchester Collective will premiere a new work by Edmund Finnis as part of a programme featuring Stravinsky, Levi, Glass and Ligeti.
  • A musical exploration of Greek Mythology, violinist Sara Trickey and pianist Ivana Gavric will present Dancing with Apollo, a programme of music by Stravinsky, Szymanowski, Matthews and Finnis, narrated by Dame Marina Warner with choreography by Kim Brandstrup.
  • A new filmed production of Rameau’s Pygmalion performed by Nicholas Mulroy, Anna Dennis, Jilary Cronin, Zöe Brookshaw Dunedin Consort and performance artists Claricia Parinussa and Rebecca Bellantoni will be brought to life on screen under the creative direction of multi-disciplinary artist Rowdy SS.
  • From a midnight exploration of song in Salzburg to collective improvisations during a hurricane in Galway, multi-instrumentalists Kit Downes, Tom Challenger and Lauren Kinsella present a series of musical meetings in the premiere of the second phase of their ongoing project Ongemang – exploring the place in between.
  • Composers and performers will reflect on their creative experiences over the last 12 months in Matt Belcher’s new musical documentary, Bach Rework’d. Alongside interviews the documentary will feature performances of the musicians’ favourite solo works by Bach and the premieres of their personal musical responses.

As with previous editions of the festival, the 2021 programme will showcase Spitalfields Music’s ongoing commitment to collaborating and creating music with its local communities

  • Exploring the themes of transformation and metamorphosis, composers Chisara Agor, Lola de la Mata and Anna Pool will present new works commissioned by Spitalfields Music’s Open Call programme, which supports composers and musicians from communities under represented in the sector.
  • Combining mini meditations, sing-a-longs, breathing and deep relaxation exercises accompanied by live music, Mindful Music will present family workshops exploring music and mindfulness.
  • Local historian Daniella King will lead walking tours exploring the rich history of Stepney and Limehouse.

Sarah Gee, Chief Executive of Spitalfields Music says,

With the help of the Culture Recovery Fund, we are delighted to be sharing a Summer Festival with audiences once again. Spitalfields Music Festival is centred around the connections between music and people, with a deep commitment to enticing audiences to try something new.  From baroque music from the French court right up to fifteen world premieres written in the last year, we are offering tickets for all festival events at just £15 each.  Audiences and musicians alike have missed desperately the joy of sharing music, so we want to bring together safely as many people as possible, to revel in the visceral pleasures that music can bring.

Spitalfields Music Festival 2021 will run at various locations in London’s East End from 1 – 11 July. The festival will follow and respond to appropriate Covid-19 protocols to ensure the safety of its audiences and artists.

Tickets are now on sale for members, with general on sale from 27 April. For further information visit www.spitalfieldsmusic.co.uk