Guildhall School of Music & Drama is pleased to announce summer events from April until the end of June. A mixture of live and pre-recorded events from across all School departments will all be broadcast for free throughout the season. Further details of events taking place in July will be released nearer the time.

All events are available to watch via the Summer 2021 pages of Guildhall School’s website.

Highlights include:

  • The final of The Gold Medal, Guildhall School’s most prestigious music prize. Alternating between singers and instrumentalists each year, in 2021, it is the year of the singers
  • ‘Beginnings: New and Early Opera’: a quintuple bill with three works from composers and librettists on Guildhall School’s innovative MA in Opera Making & Writing (delivered in association with the Royal Opera House) receiving their fully staged, orchestral premieres, plus two rarely performed 17th-century works by Charpentier and Carissimi
  • The Summer Jazz Festival returns; the School’s year-long History of Big Band series continues, and the Guildhall Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Choir celebrate Iain Ballamy’s career
  • Paula Varjack hosts a third series of Instagram Live conversations with socially engaged artists, and the graduating class of the BA Performance & Creative Enterprise present a three-day festival of innovative work
  • Guildhall Live Events present three events at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival with the University of East Anglia, looking at the interface between contemporary literature and creative technology
  • Eight live seminars as part of the School’s ResearchWorks series
  • Guildhall School also offers a range of paid-for online short courses and is running in-person summer schools again this year.


The Gold Medal: Saturday 8 May, 7pm

Guildhall School’s most prestigious music prize returns with this concert broadcast from Barbican Hall. The prize is awarded to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years. In 2021, it is the turn of the singers, who will perform a short programme with piano accompaniment followed by a second half of arias with Guildhall Symphony Orchestra conducted by Natalie Murray Beale.

The finalists and their programmes are:

Thando Mjandana tenor
Songs and arias by Bellini, Mbeki Mbali, Leoncavallo, Donizetti and Mozart

Laura Lolita Perešivana soprano
Songs and arias by Jake Heggie, R. Schumann, Vītols, Rachmaninov, Alyabyev, Handel and Rossini

Olivia Boen soprano
Songs and arias by Messiaen, Marx, Maconchy, Rachmaninov, Leoncavallo, R. Strauss and Carlisle Floyd

Tom Mole baritone
Songs and arias by Rachmaninov, Wolf, Finzi, Moss, Stravinsky, Verdi and Bizet

This year’s distinguished panel of judges features: Jonathan Vaughan, Vice-Principal & Director of Music at Guildhall School; Huw Humphreys, Head of Music at the Barbican; Gweneth Ann Rand, soprano and alumna; Jordan de Souza, conductor; and the evening’s conductor Natalie Murray Beale.

Accompanying the singers in the first half of the concert will be pianists Josh RidleyToby Hession and Maria Inês Barbosa da Costa.

The 2021 Gold Medal is dedicated to the memory of Adrian Thorne

Songs at Six: various broadcast dates, 6pm

The Songs at Six series provides opportunities for Guildhall School postgraduate singers and pianists to present themed recitals under the direction of expert artists. This season’s concerts include an exploration of the poetry of Emily Dickinson, curated by Iain Burnside (Tuesday 18 May); Hugo Wolf’s settings of Spanish folk poetry, curated by Eugene Asti (Thursday 20 May); a celebration of the publication of Graham Johnson’s new book Poulenc: The Life in the Songs (Tuesday 25 May); an exploration of Spanish Zarzuela, led by music director Ricardo Gosalbo (Tuesday 8 June); and a concert of Samuel Barber songs directed by Julius Drake (Thursday 10 June).

Further Music Highlights
This summer Guildhall School’s Music department also presents a Historical Performance concert led by baroque guitar, lute and theorbo player William Carter (Thursday 13 May); a reduced version of J. Strauss’s Die Fledermaus in Introduction to Opera (Friday 21 May); spotlight concerts for the School’s Wind, Brass & Percussion department (from 2 June);  and Composition department collaborations including with world-leading vocal ensemble for new music EXAUDI (Friday 4 June).

Regular event series will also take place throughout the season: Chamber at Six including a performance by The Mithras Trio (from 27 April); chances to see outstanding Guildhall musicians competing in Music Prizes (from 7 May); the return of the Keyboard at Six series (from 7 May); Vocal Scenes (from 2 June); and masterclasses with celebrated artists including violist Jane Atkins, harpist Sally Pryce and baritone Roderick Williams (from 13 May).


LIVE STREAM Beginnings: New and Early Opera: Friday 28 May, Tuesday 1, Thursday 3, Monday 7 June 7pm

Amy Crankshaw composer
Clare Best librettist

I’m Cleaning, I’m Cleaning
Abel Esbenshade composer
Aubrey Lavender Cook librettist

Aran O’Grady composer
Kaitlin Sullivan librettist

Orphée descendant aux enfers H.471
by Charpentier

Judicium Salomonis
by Carissimi

Guildhall Opera department presents a feast of five contrasting short operatic works: three new chamber operas and two early pieces from the Baroque era.

First broadcast online by Guildhall School in condensed virtual form during the 2020 lockdown, three new works receive their fully staged, orchestral premiere The Apothecary; I’m Cleaning, I’m Cleaning; and Eintänzer.

These imaginative chamber operas – taking audiences from 18th-Century Paris to 1980s Soviet Russia via a Weimar-era nightclub – are written by composers and librettists on Guildhall School’s innovative MA in Opera Making & Writing programme, delivered in association with the Royal Opera House.

This swift-moving quintuple bill also offers the chance to enjoy two rarely performed, short 17th-Century works by two of the greatest Baroque composers. Charpentier’s cantata Orphée descendant aux enfers for three male voices is presented alongside the first staged performance of Judicium Salomonis – a secular oratorio by Carissimi, who is believed to have taught Charpentier. Director John Ramster and conductor Chad Kelly lead the creative team.


Summer Jazz Festival: Tuesday 4 – Thursday 6 May, various times

Guildhall School’s Summer Jazz Festival returns, featuring faculty members, special guests and alumni, presented by Worldwide FM broadcaster, DJ and journalist Tina Edwards.

Join in three days of performances headed by four of the most creative and exciting artists on the UK jazz scene: Fini Bearman’s quintet, My Iris led by Trish Clowes, SKYLLA by Ruth Goller and Lucid Dreamers by Brigitte Beraha.

The festival will also give Guildhall Jazz students the opportunity to work with artists including Beraha, Goller, Bearman and Guildhall alumnus Binker Golding in private masterclasses and workshops.

Festival line up:

Fini Bearman: Tuesday 4 May, 7:30pm
Guildhall alumna, singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Fini Bearman performs tracks from her latest album La Loba.

SKYLLA: Wednesday 5 May, 6pm
‘SKYLLA’ is the solo project of composer and bassist Ruth Goller, featuring herself on bass guitar and vocals, as well as outstanding UK vocalists Lauren Kinsella and Alice Grant.

My Iris: Wednesday 5 May, 7:30pm

Imaginatively led by saxophonist Trish Clowes, My Iris is a thrilling band that represents the front rank of contemporary UK jazz, delivering driving grooves and lingering melodic lines.

Lucid Dreamers: Thursday 6 May, 7:30pm

The 2021 Summer Jazz Festival closes with a performance by Brigitte Beraha, one of the UK’s most versatile and exciting jazz vocalists. Drawing comparisons with such luminaries as Norma Winstone and Tania Maria, she has forged her own unforgettable voice.

A History of Big BandThe Dawn of Modernism: Friday 14 May, 7:30pm

The fourth concert in Guildhall Big Band’s A History of Big Band series led by director Matt Skelton features special guest director/trombonist Callum Au and special guest vocal Emma Smith.

This programme will include music associated with Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, Astrud Gilberto, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy May, Nelson Riddle, Gil Evans, Gerald Wilson and Oliver Nelson. Dizzy Gillespie’s Manteca will provide the overture for this exciting journey through this multi-faceted age: the dawn of modernism, Bebop and the golden age of the star vocalist, their arrangers and the great studio orchestras of Capital Records.

Guildhall Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Choir with Iain Ballamy, Wednesday 19 May, 7:30pm

Guildhall Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Choir give a special performance of Iain Ballamy’s 21st Century Pastoral suite. The ECM recording artist and internationally recognised saxophonist and composer will join Guildhall School musicians to perform big band arrangements of a broad selection of his work from over the last thirty years of his career. Featuring arrangements by Malcolm Edmonstone, Head of Jazz at Guildhall School, and directed by Scott Stroman and guest choir director Kevin Fox.

Performance and Creative Enterprise

Guildhall School’s pioneering BA (Hons) Performance and Creative Enterprise (PACE) programme was established in 2015 as a joint initiative between Guildhall and the Barbican with the aim of training visionary, socially engaged, multi-disciplinary, autonomous artists.

Of Shadow and Light: 16, 17 & 18 June, 6pm

In Of Shadow and Light – a title inspired by a line from June Jordan’s poem Big City Happening – the graduating PACE class of 2021 present three richly diverse evenings of innovative, poetic and politically resonant performance works.

Following their performance, each artist will be in conversation live from Guildhall with Gilly Roche, Head of Interdisciplinary Practice and Programme Leader for PACE.

Further details of the festival line up will be announced in due course.

Please note some of these student-devised performances may contain strong language and adult themes and content.

Real Talk: A conversations series curated and hosted by Paula Varjack, on Wednesdays throughout the season from 28 April, 6pm, Instagram Live

“For those of us who face marginalisation for our race, sexuality, class, age, gender, disability or an intersection of these, how can we use our experiences to empower the next generation of agitators?”

Multi-disciplinary artist and Guildhall tutor, Paula Varjack, curates and hosts the third season in this series of conversations in collaboration with PACE students.

These informal conversations, streamed via Instagram Live, invite practitioners who have made things happen for themselves and who push for social change through their practice to share advice, experience and ideas with the next generation.

Speakers include Tobi Kyeremateng (Wednesday 28 April); Stacy Makishi (Wednesday 12 May); Tom Marshman (Wednesday 26 May); Peyvand Sadeghian (Wednesday June); and Amahra Spence (Wednesday 23 June).

Please note that Real Talk conversations are likely to contain strong language and adult themes

Guildhall Live Events

Guildhall Live Events (GLE) is an innovative department of Guildhall School of Music & Drama, specialising in creating immersive and interactive digital experiences. GLE has been set up to act as a conduit between the professional artistic, creative and entertainment industries and the world-class educational practices of Guildhall School.

Future and Form: Friday 21 – Sunday 30 May, Norfolk and Norwich Festival

GLE presents three events at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, as part of the University of East Anglia’s 50-year celebration of its world-renowned MA in Creative Writing. The programme, entitled ‘Future and Form,’ brings together UEA alumni writers, GLE and creative technologists Mutiny, and key regional cultural organisations and schools to explore the interface between contemporary literature and creative technology. Watch on the Future and Form website.


This digital love story, written by James McDermott, fuses traditional stagecraft and live theatre with unprecedented use of state-of-the-art immersive film-making and XR techniques. McDermott’s new hybrid play is a timely exploration of love, longing and the challenges of communicating how we really feel.

The Living Book

What will the world look like 50 years from now? This was Mitch Johnson’s provocation. In this 360-degree interactive VR imaginarium, school children of today imagine visions of a future affected by climate change. Change the temperature and explore the consequences, with narration from Johnson.

Where Do Stories Come From?

Become an active participant in writer Tash Aw’s process: combining immersive technology and fiction by Aw, the choices one makes in this interactive installation will affect the story’s outcome. There is also an opportunity to discuss the experience in a workshop with UEA creative writers.

Visit the Norfolk and Norwich Festival website for full timings and bookings, and view all events online on the Future and Form website


LIVE STREAM ResearchWorks: Mondays throughout the season, 6pm

Guildhall School’s Research department presents eight live ResearchWorks seminars throughout the season, in which staff, students and visiting speakers discuss the findings of their ongoing research. Five of the events are presented in association with the Institute for Social Impact Research in the Performing Arts.

Topics include: ‘Who cares for social impact? The hidden costs of socially engaged arts practice’ (Monday 26 April); ‘East and West in conversation: Embodying sound through the violin’ (Monday 10 May); ‘Contradiction as method: A dramatherapeutic approach to re-examining Brechtian praxis’ (Monday 17 May); ‘But what do we say to the birds? Participating in the Sonic Environment’ (Monday 24 May); ‘Applied Theatre – From performance and war to the aesthetics of care: Reflections on the role of art in war zones and care settings’ (Monday 7 June); ‘Where and How Does Music Make Sense in Contemporary Social Life? A third interdisciplinary way between “music as object” and “music as process”’ (Monday 14 June); and ‘The Romantic National Song Network: Examining ways of bringing historical songs to life’ (Monday 28 June).

Online Evening Courses

In addition to the free online broadcasts detailed above, Guildhall School is also running a series of paid-for online evening courses from April – June 2021, allowing people to learn a new skill from home, wherever they are in the world, with online classes. The School has transferred its most popular short courses online and created a range of new ones, working with tutors to ensure that they are just as enriching and memorable as they would be within the building. Participants will have the opportunity to learn with Guildhall School staff members, as well as guest tutors, in a range of workshops all held on Zoom.

The courses on offer include:

Pricing and more information on the full range of courses on offer can be found here

In-Person Short Courses & Summer Schools

Guildhall School is delighted to be offering summer courses in-person, across Drama, Music and Production Arts. These will take place across the School’s campus in central London, which includes state-of-the-art venue Milton Court and the iconic Silk Street building. Course capacities are limited so it is advisable to book early when public booking opens on Monday 26 April at 11am. Participants who booked for last year’s summer courses will be given priority booking 21–23 April, after which participants who have registered their interest, will be given priority booking from 22–23 April
COVID-19 safety guidelines will be strictly adhered to. See Short Courses FAQs for full information.

The courses on offer are:

Participation Bursaries are available for a number of eligible courses. Pricing and more information on the courses on offer can be found here

Previously Announced Summer Season Events

In Summer 2021 the School presents three drama productions, broadcast live. They are free to watch, but registration is required via Guildhall School’s website:

LIVE STREAM Love and Information: Thursday 29 April, 7.30pm; Friday 30 April, 2pm & 7.30pm; and Saturday 1 May, 7.30pm

Someone sneezes. Someone can’t get a signal. Someone won’t answer the door. Someone put an elephant on the stairs. Someone’s not ready to talk. Someone is her brother’s mother. Someone hates irrational numbers. Someone told the police. Someone’s never felt like this before.

More than 100 characters try to make sense of it all in Pooja Ghai’s new production of Caryl Churchill’s fast-moving kaleidoscopic drama, exploring communication and our capacity for love in contemporary Britain. Following its premiere at the Royal Court Theatre in 2012, Love and Information was widely heralded as an immediate Churchill classic, garnering a multitude of five-star reviews.

LIVE STREAM Mr. Burns, a post-electric play: Thursday 20 May, 7.30pm; Monday 24 May, 2pm & 7.30pm; and Tuesday 25 May, 7.30pm
When everything we know has been stripped away, we’re always left with a story…

After the collapse of civilisation, a group of survivors recount an episode of The Simpsons. Seven years later, this and other snippets of pop culture have become the live entertainment of a post-apocalyptic society which is sincerely trying to hold onto its past. Seventy-five years later pop songs, sitcom plots and jingles are the myths and legends from which new forms of performance are created.

Award-winning theatre maker Chelsea Walker directs Anne Washburn’s imaginative, music-filled dark comedy, which explores the relevance of culture on a society that has none left.

LIVE STREAM Gone Too Far! Saturday 22 May, 2pm & 7.30pm; Wednesday 26 May, 7.30pm; and Thursday 27 May, 7.30pm

Nigeria, England, America, Jamaica; are you proud of where you’re from? When two brothers from different continents go down the street to buy a pint of milk, they lift the lid on a disunited nation: a world where everyone wants to be an individual but no one wants to stand out from the crowd, and where respect is always demanded but rarely freely given.

Winner of the 2019 JMK Young Director award, Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu directs this comic, vibrant and perceptive exploration of identity and culture by Bola Agbaje, described as “an iconic dramatist for an entire generation of young playwrights” by Simon Stephens. Gone Too Far! premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2007 and won an Olivier Award the following year for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliated Theatre.

Guildhall School of Music & Drama is provided by the City of London Corporation.