After four months of closure St John’s Smith Square (SJSS) will reopen its doors for a series of four ‘socially distanced’ concerts which will also be released online and available to access free of charge. Recorded between 28th July and 6th August, these four concerts show the development of fugal forms in music from their roots in the canons of the 16th century, through the masterworks of JS Bach and his son CPE Bach, along to Beethoven and Schumann and then finally to the romantic tour de force of Liszt. The concerts will be released at 8pm each Tuesday in August on the SJSS website ( and on SJSS’s social media channels. The artists performing are: The Gesualdo Six, David Titterington, The Revolutionary Drawing Room and Julian Jacobson.

Each Arts of Fugue concert will feature approximately 25 minutes of music along with a discussion between Richard Heason, Director of St John’s Smith Square and the artists performing. Online programme notes, providing interactive links, will be available to download from the St John’s Smith Square website before and after each concert.

The Arts of Fugue concerts form part of St John’s Smith Square’s Digital Exchange project. Digital Exchange is a series of workshops, concerts and online advice and exchange sessions, developed by St John’s Smith Square during lockdown and made possible thanks to public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

David Titterington’s concert on 11 August includes the UK Premiere of Calliope Tsoupaki ‘s Thin AirThis is a commission from the Festivals for Compassion initiative of the Dutch Wonderfeel Festival for a new work from this Greek/Dutch composer which is shared around festivals during the time of lockdown and closure as a musical ‘relay of compassion’. Over 40 festivals have already signed up to participate in the project with the SJSS performance representing the UK.

Richard Heason, Director of St John’s Smith Square said:

“Over recent weeks we have started to welcome musicians back to St John’s Smith Square to rehearse and record, with appropriate and rigorous health and safety measures. It is wonderful, with these events, to see concerts begin to return to this iconic concert hall and we hope these are the first steps towards welcoming our dearly missed audiences back to St John’s.”

The ‘Arts of Fugue’ concert details are as follows:

Tuesday 4th August 2020, 8pm

The Gesualdo Six

Owain Park, director


The Gesualdo Six explore the roots of fugue in musical canons from Italy.

Johannes Ockeghem – Prenez sur moi (Canon: Three in One)

Loyset Compère – Quis numerare queat (Canon: Da Pacem cantus firmus)

Jean Mouton – Salve Mater Salvatoris (Double canon in inversion)

Josquin des Prez – Illibata dei virgo nutrix* (Solfège cantus firmus, acrostic)

Jean Mouton – Qui ne regrettoit? (Double canon)

Philippe Verdelot – Dignare me laudare (Canon: Four in One)

Jean Mouton – Salva Nos, Domine (Canon: Two in One plainchant)

Tuesday 11th August, 8pm

David Titterington – organ

CPE Bach – Fantasia and Fugue in C minor Wq 119,7    (5’)

Schumann – Fugue on BACH Op.60)   c.6’

J S Bach – Passacaglia in C minor BWV 582   (14’)

Calliope Tsoupaki – Thin Air* (UK Premiere)

*Part of the Festivals for Compassion project

Tuesday 18th August, 8pm

The Revolutionary Drawing Room

Beethoven – Grosse Fuge, Op.133

Tuesday 25th August, 8pm

Julian Jacobson – piano

Liszt – Piano Sonata in B minor