The 53rd edition of the City of London Festival starts today. With over 200 events spanning three weeks, the Festival promises to bring life, vitality, and a familiar buzz of excitement to London’s commercial heart.
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.
- 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 (23 June), Norma Winstone (26 June), Anita Wardell (5 July) and Arve Henriksen (7 July).
- 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 (23 June), ‘Fight for your right to party?’ (25 June) and ‘A 21st Century Magna Carta (8 July) at the Bishopsgate Institute.
- Over 100 free events in every corner of the City – there is a huge selection of music, circus, dance, street theatre, talks, tours and more at locations such as The Gherkin, Canary Wharf, Broadgate, Grange Hotel – St Paul’s, Devonshire Square, New Street Square and The Royal Exchange.
- ClubTEN, situated in the spectacular Grange Hotel, St Paul’s, will host a variety of acts including singer Barb Jungr (23 & 26 June), Blofeld & Baxter who reminisce on their extensive careers (27 June), eccentric but refined raconteur Tom Allen (8 July) and comedians Max and Ivan (9 July)
- Orchestral concerts in the magnificent setting of St Paul’s Cathedral, with the London Symphony Orchestra performing Haydn’s Creation (24 June) and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment performing Monteverdi’s Vespers (2 July).
- The City’s Great Halls, not normally open to the public, featuring intimate concerts including the Danish String Quartet performing at Plaisterers’ Hall (22 June), Ian Bostridge and Sebastian Wybrew in Mansion House (30 June) and the New Zealand String Quartet in Goldsmiths’ Hall (8 July).
- 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 (29 June), and violinist Siow Lee-Chin performing Bach at St Bartholomew the Great (23 June). Jazz pianist Jeremy Monteiro will be performing in the Sky Garden (23 June), a cappella group MICappella will sing their pop arrangements (27 June) and a series of films will 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 (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 (9 July) – inside the City of London’s ancient HQ, the Guildhall Great Hall.
- World Premières: 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 (9 July) and the National Youth Chamber Choir of Great Britain and National Youth Jazz Orchestra will perform together for the first time, with works including a world premiere of festival commission Journey’s End, by Pete Churchill at Southwark Cathedral (1 July)
- 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 (10 July).
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