Socially distanced concerts continue and St John’s ‘Digital Exchange’ channel is launched

St John’s Smith Square has been awarded £227,147 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF)

Following a successful return to socially distanced live concerts in October, the SJSS programme continues through November with a varied programme of orchestral, chamber and operatic concerts. In the same month, St John’s ‘Digital Exchange’ channel also launches with a series of events from Sunday to Thursday every week. All digital exchange performances will be accessible from the events pages of the SJSS website –

November starts with a continuation of the celebration of the Beethoven anniversary with the London Mozart Players joined by violinist Jonian Ilias Kadesha [pictured] for an afternoon concert featuring both Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and his Coriolan Overture (4 November, 4pm). This concert will also be available on the LMP “Classical Club” streaming service on 15 November at 7pm and available after that until 1 December:

The Klais organ at St John’s can be heard on 5th November when Marcus Wibberley gives a programme linking Bach to the French repertoire via Liszt. Bampton Classical Opera, directed by Robert Howarth, make their much anticipated annual visit with Gluck’s ‘The Crown’ on 6th November. Previous SJSS Young Artists, The Gesualdo Six, mark Armistice Day with a programme ‘Lux Aeterna’ which includes two world premieres, one by Joanna March and one by Donna McKevitt.

On 17th November the London Chamber Orchestra return for a programme combining Schubert’s ever popular Octet with the Nonet by Louise Farrenc. Regular SJSS partners, Orchestra Vitae, play music by Tchaikovsky and Elgar on 20th November alongside the music of Hilary Tan and Benjamin Rimmer. On 25th November the Young Musician’s Symphony Orchestra give their second concert of the season which precedes Brahms’s First Symphony with the Light Cavalry Overture by Suppé. More Brahms can be heard on the 26th November when SJSS Young Artists, the Barbican Quartet, combine his 2nd Quartet with the first quartet of the Hungarian master, György Ligeti. Finally, November’s concerts draw to a close on the 27th with an evening of thoughtful and uplifting new music, spanning a variety of styles and traditions, performed by Héloı̈se Werner (soprano), Kit Downes (organ) and Colin Alexander (cello). The performers will be spaced at the extremes of the concert hall, surrounding the audience. The concert will also feature five short text pieces written especially for the occasion by Errollyn Wallen, Shiva Feshareki, Jasmin Kent Rodgman, Jonathan Cole and Love Ssega.

Alongside the live events programme, St John’s’ ‘Digital Exchange’ channel launches just prior to the month of November on Sunday 25th October, and this will feature recordings, live-streaming and specially created programming every evening from Sunday to Thursday. 

Richard Heason, Director of St John’s Smith Square. Says “We are delighted that our return to concert giving in October has been so universally welcomed. We hope that we have helped to show how concerts can be managed safely and effectively and are delighted to be welcoming artists and audiences back to the venue. We are also incredibly relieved to have heard that St John’s Smith Square has been awarded £227,147 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure that we have a sustainable future”.

Covid Secure venue

The health and safety of our audience, artists and staff is of paramount importance and we have worked extensively to ensure St John’s Smith Square is a ‘Covid Secure’ venue for all those attending events. In line with the latest Government guidance, we have carried out a thorough risk assessment and made changes to the way we operate.  Our aim is to minimise exposure to risk as far as possible so that everyone can focus on enjoying the music. 

Our new safety measures include:

  • Reduced audience numbers and socially-distanced seating (our maximum capacity is less than 20% of our pre-pandemic capacity)
  • Increased and enhanced cleaning between and during events, including regular anti-viral and anti-bacterial fogging
  • A one-way system and queue management
  • All concerts are without an interval
  • Mandatory temperature checks on entry to the building
  • Automated non-contact hand sanitiser stations
  • Asking all visitors to wear face-coverings (unless exempt)
  • Providing PPE to our staff
  • Audience entry and exit via portico doors (with lift access as usual for patrons with limited mobility)
  • Regular ventilation of the hall
  • Digital or ‘print at home’ ticketing
  • Entry for pre-booked tickets only

St John’s Smith Square will continue to review the situation and adapt these measures where necessary to respond to any changes in Government guidance. Full information, along with FAQs can be found on the St John’s website.