Sunday, 1 March 2015

Spitalfields Music Summer Festival

Emily Hall
Emily Hall
This year's Spitalfields Music Summer Festival runs from June 2 to June 16, 2015 with over 40 events at in venues in and around Spitalfields including Christ Church, Spitalfields, St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch, the Bishopsgate Institute and the church of St Peter Ad Vincula. The festival has become known for its varied and innovative approach, as well as strong community links. This is shown by the three associate artists at this years festival: composer and saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, composer Emily Hall, and early music group La Nuova Musica. All three have curated events throughout the festival and the result is a very lively mix indeed.

Shabaka Hutchings
Shabaka Hutchings
Hall's opera Folie a Deux is given its London premiere by Mahogany Opera Group. A sonic voyage into shared psychosis, Hall has written for a new instrument, an electro-magnetic harp. Directed by Frederic Wake Walker with libretto by Bjork-collaborator Sjon, the opera is at Rich Mix (6, 7 June). Also at Rich Mix, Hall is curating performances by alternative classical artists including viol player Liam Byrne, singer/songwriter Mara Carlyle, cellist Oliver Coates, writer Toby Litt and Bedroom Community artists James McVinnie and Puzzle Muteson, as well as featuring some of Hall's recent work. The wonderful women's chorus, Women Sing East, return on 8 June with a new work by Hall in collaboration with French-Norwegian visual artist Caroline Bergvall plus pop choir Lips in jazz and pop arrangements.

Other premieres will include Exaudi in a new work by James Weeks, a poetic music drama about weaving, and BCMG in the London premiere of Howard Skempton and Matthew Harris's Field Notes which mixes sound with visual art.

David Bates, artistic director of La Nuova Musica
David Bates, artistic director of La Nuova Musica
Former BBC New Generation Artist Shabaka Hutchings will present the Spitalfields Re-Sounded Blog (spitalfieldsresounded.com) where he records sounds to construct an online sound archive. Hutchings will use the sounds to inspire a new composition for a live event on 10 June at Village Underground, performed by his band The Comet is Coming and guest artist beatboxer Jason Singh.

La Nuova Musica will be performing Handel's Israel in Egypt (Christ Church, Spitalfields 4 June) and will be joined by Lucy Crowe, and Elizabeth Watts for a candle-lit performance of Couperin's Lecons de tenebres (Village Underground 8 June). Vivaldi horn concertos and music by Handel feature in their concert with horn player Alec Frank-Gemmill and mezzo-soprano Julia Riley (Shoreditch Church, 12 June). La Nuova Musica's 2013 Spitalfields concert with Lawrence Zazzo was a great highlight (see my review), and the concert included some spectacular horn playing from Alec Frank-Gemmill.

Other early music events include Stile Antico celebrating its 10th anniversary (Christ Church, Spitalfields 5 June), the Armonico Consort and Elin Manahan-Thomas in a semi-staged performance of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas (Village Underground, 9 June), and the Carnival Band in 17th century English ballads.

There are plenty of other events, including Spitalfields Salon which is an intimate series of concerts and conversation in a Georgian House, musicians of the Royal College of Music at the Geffrye Museum, the Odyssean Ensemble at St Peter's Ad Vincula and a Baroque Supper complete with food from The English Restaurant! The Sixteen explores music and poetry from the First World War whilst the City of London Sinfonia and Polyphony explore Georgian London, and the Sacconi Quartet gives a multi-sensory performance of Beethoven quartets. Musical Rumpus, Spitalfields Music’s award-winning interactive, multi-sensory operas for toddlers returns with Purcell on 12 and 13 June.

Full information and listings from the Spitalfields Music website.

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