7 January – 9 July 2022
- Extraordinary range of choral music from leading choirs including Ex Cathedra, The Gesualdo Six, I Fagiolini, Monteverdi Choir, Tallis Scholars, Tenebrae, BBC Singers and Chineke! Voices
- Rich baroque strand includes operas by Handel and Purcell with The English Concert and BBC Singers, bold takes on Vivaldi from 12 Ensemble and La Serenissima, and varied concerts from St Martin’s-based artists including St Martin’s Voices, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists
- Easter Festival includes large-scale works including Pärt’s Passio, Bach’s St John Passion, Handel’s Laresurrezione and more
- Chineke! Voices makes St Martin’s debut with music by of one of the earliest known composers of African descent
- Outstanding collaborations include Tenebrae with Christian Forshaw, Opus Anglicanum with jazz pianist Jason Rebello and I Fagiolini with actress Tamsin Greig
- New partnership with English National Opera, ‘ENO in the Fields’, to showcase exceptional new musical talent alongside the award-winning ENO Chorus and Orchestra
- London recital debut of Jeneba Kanneh-Mason
- Major new Friday lunchtime series with outstanding young artists in partnership with English National Opera, City Music Foundation, Darbar and Monteverdi Choir & Orchestra
- Ongoing relationships with John Eliot Gardiner’s Monteverdi Choir & Orchestras, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, London Mozart Players and Feinstein Ensemble
St Martin-in-the-Fields today launches a dazzling line-up of concerts from some of the world’s leading artists and ensembles for its new St Martin’s Spring Concert Season, which helps to cement its position as one of London’s landmark venues.
Playing to the strength of its outstanding acoustic and beautiful architectural setting, choral concerts from the UK’s leading professional choirs including BBC Singers, Chineke! Voices, Ex Cathedra, The Gesualdo Six, I Fagiolini, Monteverdi Choir, Tallis Scholars and Tenebrae feature prominently, with an imaginative array of choral music from plainchant to contemporary.
Baroque music, similarly well-suited to the exquisite setting, is also notable with such highlights as bold and imaginative takes on Vivaldi from period-instrument ensemble La Serenissima [11 Feb & 2 Jul] and 12 Ensemble playing Max Richter’s Vivaldi Recomposed on modern instruments [4 Feb], Mozart, Haydn and J.S. Bach from John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists [23 Apr & 16 Jun]. Handel is also prominent with La Nuova Musica giving a first London performance with countertenor Iestyn Davies from their acclaimed CD release Handel’s Unsung Heroes [21 May], Laurence Cummings conducting La ressurezione[18 Apr], and The English Concert with Harry Bicket, who bring their acclaimed opera series with a performance ofSersewith Emily D’angelo in the title role [5 May].
At the heart of St Martin’s Spring Concert Season is an Easter Festival built around two different settings of the St John Passion. With a traditional Good Friday performance of the famous work by J.S. Bach from St Martin’s Voices conducted by Andrew Earis [15 Apr], the Easter Festival also includes a rare performance of Arvo Pärt’s 1989 Passio from The Gesualdo Six [12 Apr]. There will also be an atmospheric evening of reflective sacred choral pieces and plainchant interlaced by meditative saxophone improvisation with Tenebrae and Christian Forshaw called ‘Drop, slow tears: a meditation for choir and sax’ [9 Apr]; a concert from Ex Cathedra and Jeffrey Skidmore with ‘Music of heartbreak and healing’, featuring poignant baroque works such as Scarlatti’s Stabat mater and two of Bach’s Cello Suites with cellist Andrew Skidmore [7 Apr]; and a complete performance of Handel’s Easter Oratorio La resurrezione with Laurence Cummings conducting a starry line-up of soloists in partnership with the London Handel Festival [18 Apr].
St Martin-in-the-Fields is delighted Chineke! Voices will be a partner in its future plans. Chineke! Voices is a vocal ensemble which brings together world-class professional black and ethnically diverse singers, and St Martin’s will provide the ensemble with rehearsal space, support, resources, development, and performance opportunities. The ground-breaking ensemble, which has previously performed at Southbank Centre where the Chineke! Orchestra is an Associate Orchestra, makes its St Martin’s debut in a concert which celebrates the works of one of the first published composers of African descent: the 16th-century Portuguese composer Vicente Lusitano (1520-1561) alongside music by that of his more well-known fellow composers of the period. Lusitano’s music survives in manuscript, rarely heard or performed but lovingly researched and edited for this concert by Joseph McHardy [18 Jun].
Among the other outstanding events is the UK premiere of a new choral work by David Lang called sun-centered, specially commissioned by The Tallis Scholars as a companion piece for Antoine Brumel’s monumental ‘Earthquake’ mass from the early 16th century [12 May]. Also that week,I Fagiolini return with its hugely acclaimed and powerful concert exploring themes of renewal and creation: ‘Rewilding the Wasteland’ with Tamsin Greig is inspired both by T.S. Eliot’s ground-breaking poem The Waste Land – written 100 years ago in the wake of the catastrophic upheavals of the First World War and the ‘Spanish Flu’ – and by David Attenborough’s plea to ‘rewild the world’ in the midst of the latest pandemic [19 May]. In Super-Choral: Super Excellent, I Fagiolini will also fill the glorious acoustic of St Martin’s with the sounds of sumptuous Italian poly-choral music from St Mark’s, Venice [10 Mar].
Tenebrae and Christian Forshaw is not the only extraordinary collaboration between a choir and jazz artists this season: Opus Anglicanum and jazz pianist Jason Rebello also come together for a seamless spiritual blend of plainchant and jazz piano [3 Feb]. Another imaginative coming together of old and new is the acclaimed 12 Ensemble in a concert of music by Max Richter, including his Recomposed: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons [4 Feb]. A pair of concerts entitled Baroque Meets Minimalism will see guitarist Sean Shibe in a typically boundary-crossing programme ranging from J.S. Bach to Julius Eastman’s Buddha and Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint [1 Apr] and organist James McVinnie in a programme of J.S. Bach, Nico Muhly and Philip Glass, drawn from his new album Counterpoint [24 Feb].
St Martin’s is also delighted to present the London recital debut of pianist Jeneba Kanneh-Mason in a wide-ranging programme spanning Bach and Mozart to Liszt, Scriabin and Coleridge-Taylor [15 Mar].
Also announced today is a major new partnership between St Martin’s and English National Opera for a new strand called ‘ENO in the Fields’. This is a new series of both evening and lunchtime concerts which demonstrate both ENO’s and St Martin’s commitment to supporting new musical talent. Past and present ENO Harewood Artists (ENO’s programme for the next generation of operatic talent) and ENO Mackerras Fellow (for emerging conductors) will be placed centre stage alongside the ENO’s award-winning Chorus and Orchestra. There will also be some guest appearances for some evening performances from regular ENO visiting artists. The series will feature a broad range of repertoire and artists, with a particular focus on underrepresented composers, in line with ENO’s mission that opera is for everyone and to create new experiences that inspire, nurture creativity and make a difference.
Alongside the new partnership with ENO, St Martin’s has also joined forces with City Music Foundation, Darbar Arts Culture Heritage Trust and the Apprentices Programme of the Monteverdi Choirs & Orchestras – which all strive to create a pathway to professional musical careers for exceptional young musicians – to create an exciting new Friday lunchtime series featuring brilliant young singers and instrumentalists from a range of musical genres and backgrounds.
The recently announced partnership with John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir & Orchestras – which created a first UK home for these ensembles – continues with two concerts in spring: an all Haydn and Mozart concert for which the English Baroque Soloists are joined by violinist Isabelle Faust [23 Apr] and an exploration of ‘The Music of Consolation’ by J.S. Bach, Schütz and Schein, which sees the return of Monteverdi Choir itself [16 Jun].
The fine work of Academy of St Martin in the Fields has long been a vital part of concert life at St Martin’s and it returns for two concerts which range from Haydn and Mozart to Vaughan Williams [25 Jan and 30 Jun]. London Mozart Players, also well-known to audiences at St Martin’s, return three times bringing glittering soloists – including viola player Timothy Ridout, tenor James Gilchrist, horn virtuoso Ben Goldscheider and Young Artist in Residence Leia Zhu – for music by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Elgar, Britten and Cecilia McDowell [26 Mar, 20 May and 9 Jul].
St Martin’s much-loved selection of ‘concerts by candlelight’ also continue throughout the season featuring popular repertoire in an accessible format.
All artists are encouraged to introduce the music from the stage and talk directly to audiences, bringing a new level of informality, inclusivity and insight to performances at St Martin’s.
Chris Denton, Chief Executive of St Martin-in-the-Fields, said:
“I am immensely proud to announce our Spring season. With a wonderful range of prestigious ensembles, innovative collaborations and important new partnerships, these concerts confirm St Martin-in-the-Fields’ position as one of London’s key destinations for outstanding classical music and play to the strengths of our beautiful acoustic and architecture.”
For more information please visit: smitf.org/concerts