53rd City of London Festival programme announced

City of London Festival 2015 Launch 22 June – 10 July 2015, City of London Festival returns this summer to animate the Square Mile in new and exciting ways.

Festival-goers can take a Wren Church Marathon challenge with morn-to-midnight choral performances; learn How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying from a 1960’s musical featuring Nick Hewer and a chorus of office choirs; serenade City workers with a street guitar; debate Justice, Money and Power in the Old Bailey; and enjoy the finest classical music, jazz and comedy in a dazzling array of extraordinary venues, many of them not normally open to the public.

Once again, the Festival will feature an innovative, eclectic programme of music, dance, spoken word and street performance. It will also be a celebration of the City, its architecture, skyline and streets, and its energy, stories and relationships with the rest of the world.

Over its 53 years, the Festival has brought the world’s finest artistic talents to the Square Mile, commissioned and premiered artworks, animated remarkable spaces, welcomed children to its annual Parade, placed pianos and guitars on the streets of London for all to play, and hosted stimulating debates and discussion.

Highlights this year include:

Jazz with a View: Unrivalled vistas with world-class jazz. Commanding viewpoints over London include the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street and the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, with performances from Jeremy Monteiro (June 23), Norma Winstone (June 26), Anita Wardell (July 5) and Arve Henriksen (July 7).

Justice, Money, Power: A series of debates and discussions will focus on the financial, political and ethical implications of life in the City. Subjects include ‘Do judges have too much power?’ in the Judges’ Room at the Old Bailey (June 23), and ‘Are we heading for another crisis?’ at the Bishopsgate Institute (June 30).

City of London Festival 2015Orchestral concerts in the magnificent setting of St Paul’s Cathedral, with the London Symphony Orchestra performing Haydn’s Creation (June 24) and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment performing Monteverdi’s Vespers (July 2).

The City’s Great Halls, not normally open to the public, featuring intimate concerts including the Danish String Quartet performing at Plaisterers’ Hall (June 22), Ian Bostridge and Sebastian Wybrew in Mansion House (June 30) and the New Zealand String Quartet in Goldsmiths’ Hall (July 8).

Singapore Celebrates: Marking the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence, this year’s Festival will highlight a longstanding association with the City of London by providing a snapshot of Singapore’s cultural riches. Concerts include pianist Melvyn Tan performing with the T’ang Quartet at Merchant Taylors’ Hall (June 29), and violinist Siow Lee-Chin performing Bach at St Bartholomew the Great (June 23). Jazz pianist Jeremy Monteiro will be performing in the Sky Garden (June 23) and a series of films will also showcase the very best in established and contemporary Singaporean cinema.

Choral Capital: the City of London hosts more regular choirs than anywhere else in the world. This year sees the first ever Wren Choral Marathon (Saturday 27 June) consisting of a day of 17 different choral performances in each of Wren’s magnificent City churches. Sir Alan Sugar’s sidekick from The Apprentice, Nick Hewer, will narrate the brilliant 1960’s musical satire about corporate life and office politics – How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying (July 9) – inside the City of London’s ancient HQ, the Guildhall Great Hall.

World Première: A new work for chorus and ensemble by Thea Musgrave, Voices of Our Ancestors, will be given its first performance by the Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge in the atmospheric surroundings of St Bride’s, Fleet Street (July 9).

Walks and tours will include the art collections of Deutsche Bank (June 22), Clifford Chance (July 7) and Simmons & Simmons (July 1), and guided walks celebrating the democratic institutions in the City.

Street Guitars: the popular acoustic guitars will once again be dotted around the City for anyone to play, housed in unique repurposed boats.

Children’s Parade: around 1000 children will bring ‘Myths and Legends’ to life on the streets of the City (July 10). Among other free events the Hampstead Heath Family Day will take place on Sunday 28 June.

Lord Mayor of London Alan Yarrow said:

City of London Festival 2015 LaunchThis year’s Festival is a rich feast of cultural treasures so I’d encourage everyone – from office workers to one-off visitors – to jump into a jam-packed programme of fantastic events. We are busting the myth that the Square Mile simply serves the financial and professional services industries. The rich diversity of its cultural landscape and identity is the open secret of the City’s success – attracting the best and the brightest who want to work and live here.

Vivienne Littlechild, Chairman of the City Corporation’s Culture, Heritage & Libraries Committee, said:

The City of London Festival combines our unique history and heritage with the cutting edge entertainment on offer in our growing cultural hub. It is a key part of our drive to show off the Square Mile’s innovative cultural experience alongside the Barbican, the Museum of London, Heritage Gallery and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

City of London Festival Director Paul Gudgin said:

I believe the City of London to be the most exciting part of the country, particularly at Festival time. Where else can you take in jazz at the top of a skyscraper one night, and in a hidden masonic temple the next? Or hear some of the world’s finest singing in historic halls, medieval churches and the magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral? As ever, there’s plenty of free entertainment lined up, from Street Guitars to the annual Children’s Parade.

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