London Festival of Baroque Music 2021
Part 1: Grounds for Optimism
We’re delighted to announce plans for the return of the London Festival of Baroque Music in May this year, following the sad necessity to cancel last year’s planned festival due to the national lockdown. The challenges we have all faced over the past year have proved particularly acute for the arts sector, with so many restrictions on how we can host events, or indeed, if we can host events at all.
Music is brought to life by audiences: we can’t wait to welcome those who can join us here in London safely back to the concert hall, and to connect online with those who can’t join us in person.
This year we have split the festival into two parts, each taking place over a long weekend, combining live performance and online events.
We start with ‘Grounds for Optimism’ from 21-23 May 2021, a series of 3 live concerts at St John’s Smith Square centred around the music of Purcell, with artists including Helen Charlston, Newe Vialles and Tenebrae. For full programme details, please see the festival website.
There will also be an online programme throughout the three days featuring performances by Bojan Čičić, Steven Devine, Joseph Havlat, Tabea Debus, Jonathan Manson, William Carter, Elizabeth Kenny and others.
Plans for the second part of the festival, from 18-20 September are underway – keep an eye out on our website and social media for more news later in the year.
Why we need your help
Having been forced to cancel last year’s festival, and operating now at 15% of our usual capacity clearly presents enormous challenges. We therefore need your help to raise £10,000 to bring the festival back this May and share the joy of great music in live performance. We and all of the artists involved in the festival are enormously grateful for your support.
We look forward to seeing you in the concert hall or connecting with you online in May.
About the London Festival of Baroque Music
The London Festival of Baroque Music, known before 2015 as the Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music, was founded in 1984 and aims to put before London audiences the highest quality performers in the field of Baroque music from abroad and from the UK.
The Lufthansa Festival was jointly founded in 1984 by Ivor Bolton and Tess Knighton to enrich the already-strong London scene for 17th- and 18th-century music by inviting over top-quality foreign artists, many to make their UK debuts. It quickly won recognition as one of the world’s foremost early-music festivals, with a reputation for intelligent theme-based programming and for offering London audiences the opportunity to see live artists they may previously have only heard in recordings.
In its 30 years of existence, visiting artists have included such Baroque luminaries from abroad as Musica Antiqua Köln, La Petite Bande, the Bach Ensemble, Collegium Vocale Gent, the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Les Talens Lyriques, Tafelmusik, Jordi Savall, Andreas Scholl, Gustav Leonhardt and Andreas Staier, and home-grown performers such as Dame Emma Kirkby, Andrew Manze, Carolyn Sampson, The English Concert, the Academy of Ancient Music and the Gabrieli Consort & Players.
Concerts were initially at St James Church, Piccadilly, but since 1998 have mainly taken place at a new regular home at the Baroque church of St John’s Smith Square. Concerts are also usually presented in Westminster Abbey and a range of other local venues.
About St. John’s Smith Square
St John’s Smith Square is a significant musical landmark, playing host to today’s leading international artists, who perform inspiring and exciting programmes. So, too, is it an architectural landmark, and part of a baroque landscape that’s quintessentially London. A unique music venue in central London and a masterpiece of English Baroque architecture, St John’s was designed and built by Thomas Archer and has survived fire, lightning, bomb plots and the Blitz. Operated by an independent charity with no regular public subsidy, the beauty of the building is matched by an exceptional acoustic. From its restoration as both church and concert hall in the late 1960s, St John’s has presented some of the finest classical talent in a programme featuring choirs, chamber orchestras and period instrument groups.