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Go on a musical journey at Spitalfields Music Festival 2017

© Brian Sweeney

This year’s Spitalfields Music Festival is curated by Andre de Ridder
© Brian Sweeney

Returning to London this December is the annual Spitalfields Music Festival. Over eight days, local and international musicians will gather in east London for a programme of bold and innovative performance. This year has been curated by conductor André de Ridder, with his vision shaking up the festival for 2017. Ridder is Artistic Director of Finland’s largest Contemporary Music Festival, founder of the ground-breaking ensemble s t a r g a z e and has worked across many genres with artists such as Nico Muhly, Damon Albarn, Max Richter, Uri Caine, Brian Eno and  Jonny Greenwood.

Among the wide variety of performances and experiences include an immersive time-travel journey in a Spitalfields Huguenot House, meditation-inspired music under an interactive light display, an art commission in a church and a new work inspired by US punk band Fugazi. Acts include Sam Amidon, Bryan Benner, Sam Beste, Liam Byrne, Uri Caine, Mara Carlyle, Rahel Debebe-Desselegne, Anne Denholm, Abimaro, Lisa Hannigan, Topi Lehtipuu, Katherine Manley, Phil Minton, James McVinnie, Robert Murray, Ben Nelson, Alex Reeve, Shapla Salique, Saied Silbak, Aart Strootman, Heloise Werner and Apollo 47.

Among the highlights include:

An unpredictable adventure through history including tales from actors, historians and authors in a mystery location not usually open to the public. 2pm and 4pm. Tickets: £10. At secret location, meet at steps of Christ Church.

Classic Album Sundays presents an evening with composer Max Richter and conductor André de Ridder to discuss Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons. 7pm. Tickets: £15. Shoreditch Church (St Leonard’s).

From the award-winning Musical Rumpus series, explore the multi-sensory world of Fogonogo – an opera specially created for babies and toddlers. 11am and 1.30pm. Tickets: Child £8, Accompanying Adult £2. Rich Mix.

Presented by André de Ridder’s orchestral collective s t a r g a z e, listen to the realms of classical collide with minimal techno, experimental and electronic music. 8.30pm. Tickets: £10-£28. Shoreditch Church (St Leonard’s).

Festival-featured artist James McVinnie performs a stunning 40-minute set of solo keyboard music by JS Bach. 9pm. Pay what you decide. Shoreditch Church (St Leonard’s).

An ambitious staging and (re)interpretation of Schumann’s iconic song cycle: Dichterliebe. Set across the stunning Huguenot Houses of Spitalfields, each of the 16 songs in Schumann’s cycle will be performed by a different artist drawn from a wide range of stylistic backgrounds including Bengali folk, rap, classical, soul and jazz. 5pm and 7.30pm. Tickets: £35. Huguenot Homes of Spitalfields.

  • The Spitalfields Music Festival takes place from 2-10 December 2017. At various venues around Spitalfields. Nearest stations: Shoreditch High Street or Liverpool Street.

For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.

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Spitalfields Winter Music Festival 2015: Music, dining and more returns to E1

© Spitalfields Music Winter Festival

Instrumental group She’Koyokh will be performing at Shoreditch Church on 10 December during the Spitalfields Music Winter Festival

Returning to London this month is the Spitalfields Music Winter Festival 2015, bringing together local and international musicians. Straddling the border of the City of London and the East End, a host of concerts and special events for adults and families will taking be place across E1 over the 12 day festival. While there’ll be plenty of music on offer, there will also be a pop-up dining club, a walking tour, a film screening and interesting talks.

Among the highlights of this year’s festival are The Riot Ensemble – who mix the classics of Bach with world premieres of new music. Led by Serbian-Swedish composer Djuro Zivkovic, the ensemble will also performing a composition by the festival’s youngest composer 10-year-old Marie-Louise Ptohos. 7 December.

Take a lively journey across the Baltics with instrumental group She’Koyokh, bringing together winter music, traditional Eastern European melodies, stomping klezmer music and a puppeteer. 10 December.

© Spitalfields Music Winter Festival

For music-loving foodies: The Disappearing Dining Club will be whipping up a feast while diners are entertained with live music

For those who like something a bit different, why not visit the House Of Love. Inspired by Angela Carter’s short story The Lady of the House of Love is a special collaboration between choreographer and dancer Ella Robson Guilfoyle and composer and installation artist Mira Calix. 7 December.

If you fancy some fine food with your music, pop-up supper club Disappearing Dining Club is appearing at the festival for one night only. Diners will be treated to a cocktail apéritif and three-course meal in the historic surrounds of Shoreditch Church of St Leonard’s while listening to contemporary singer/songwriter Mara Carlyle and viola player Liam Byrne. 5 December.

For those feeling festive and prefer more traditional music, the Marian Consort is a traditional choir performing Renaissance music inspired by the visitation of shepherds at the nativity. 14 December.

Throughout the festival, keep your eyes peeled for the Rocking Chairs, an installation by Dutch sound artists Strijbos & Van Rijswijk. A modern rocking chair will pop up at various locations around Spitalfields, bringing the listener through a kaleidoscope of sounds, while creating a good selfie opportunity.

  • Spitalfields Music Winter Festival runs from 4 – 15 December 2015. Tickets start from £5. Discounts include 25% off for 16-25 year olds, £5 students for best seats available and Tower Hamlet residents can attend for free. For more information and tickets, visit the Spitalfields Music website.

For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.

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