The English Concert, directed by Harry Bicket, is also in birthday mode as the group celebrates Shakespeare in Love with Mary Bevan and Tim Mead performing music by Purcell and Handel. Solomon's Knot is returning to the festival to perform Bach's Mass in B Minor from memory, and without a conductor, an event not to be missed. Other groups at the festival include Gothic Voices, whose programme mixes medieval and renaissance settings of Marian text with contemporary music by Joanne Metcalf and Andrew Smith, Harry Christophers and the Sixteen, and Siglo de Oro.
The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments, director Clare Salaman, will be performing music by Telemann and Vivaldi linked to new pieces by Jon Nichols, using unusual instruments such as the tromba marina, the bray harp and the viola bastarda!
Beyond the classical world, the festival will be exploring the combination of live literature and music
in The Dead Poets Social Club, the dance company Protein in May Contain Food an immersive and irreverant dance and music theatre show created by choreographer Luca Silverstrini and composer Orlando Gough, and a violinist from the South Indian Classical tradition Jyotsna Srikanth. There are events for young people including TROUPE Collective in The Empty Chair, and there is jazz from talented young East London musicians in Platform: Jazz Generation. There are also a number of pre- and post-concert events to help audiences explore the music further.
A variety of venues are being used for the festival, with most events taking place at Shoreditch Church and Shoreditch Town Hall. Christ Church, Spitalfields, the venue where the festival started, does not however seem to be being used this year.
Full information from the Spitalfields Music website.