Wednesday 21 April 2021

Spitalfields Music Festival 2021: from fifteen new works to Stravinsky's the Rite of Spring on pianola

Alicia Jane Turner, a place to call home
Alicia Jane Turner, a place to call home

The Spitalfields Music Festival is back with a bang this July with a programme which includes fifteen new works including pieces by Errollyn Wallen, Alicia Jane Turner, Lola De La Mata, Anna Pool, Chisara Agor, Howard Goodall, Charles Amirkhanian and Edmund Finnis. Running from 1 to 11 July 2021, the festival has been programmed by three guest curators, composers Errollyn Wallen and Edmund Finnis, and journalist and broadcaster Kate Molleson, alongside Spitalfields Music Chief Executive, Sarah Gee.

The festival opens at Christchurch, Spitalfields with the premiere of Errollyn Wallen's After Winter and Howard Goodall's Never to Forget peformed by the London Symphony Chorus, conductor Simon Halsey. After Winter was due to be premiered at last year's festival, commissioned by Streetwise Opera as a companion piece to Schubert’s Winterreise, and it celebrates the kindness of strangers, a theme that has taken on particular poignancy in recent times, with lyrics created in collaboration with Streetwise Opera performers (Middlesbrough). Alongside it will be Howard Goodall's new piece, Never to Forget, commissioned by the London Symphony Chorus to commemorate the incredible contribution made by health and care workers over the last year.

And the festival closes at The Octagon, Queens’ Building, Queen Mary University of London with programme of music, dance and commentary centred on Greek myth featuring music by Szymanowski, Stravinsky, and David Matthews, plus choreography from Kim Brandstrup and Dame Marina Warner talking about myths.

Alicia Jane Turner's sound installation, a place to call home will be presented in a unique 1800s flat nestled above a pub in East London, and the installation explores queer spaces over time, from historic LGBTQ+ cu​lture in London to online spaces in the present day.

In addition to established composers, three composers from Spitalfields recent Open Call, Lola De La Mata, Anna Pool and Chisara Agor will have works showcased at Rich Mix. 

Other events include Stravinsky's Rite of Spring on pianola, walking tours of Stepney and Hackney, music by American percussionist Charles Amirkhanian, Irish vocalist, improviser and composer Lauren Kinsella (who specialises in sean-nós, the highly intricate traditional Irish vocal style) joining forces with Kit Downes and Tom Challenger, the Manchester Collective in music by Edmund Finnis, Ligeti, Glass and Stravinsky, and a film of Rameau's Pigmalion performed by Nicholas Mulroy, Anna Dennis, and the Dunedin Consort.

Full details from the festival website.

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