At 10am on Saturday 16 September, St John’s Smith Square opens its doors for Open House London Weekend 2017, inviting visitors to experience the stunning Baroque architecture while listening to and participating in musical activities.
There will be 12 hours of non-stop performance, open rehearsal and workshops from 10am on Saturday 16 September until 10pm that evening. All events are free of charge and people are encouraged to drop in at anytime to hear what’s happening. The schedule for the Music Marathon can be found on the St John’s Smith Square website at https://www.sjss.org.uk/events/open-house-2017-music-marathon
This year’s Music Marathon once again has a fantastic selection of pianists throughout the day. Blüthner artist Yuki Negishi performs works by Chopin, Liszt, and Nikolai Kapustin and we welcome back the Crosseyed Pianist’s own Frances Wilson with a programme of Britten and Schubert. Praised for “exceptional musicianship, poise and supreme confidence” at the Blackheath International Piano Festival, Harriet Stubbs features with Leo Nicholson to perform the first movement of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 on our two grand pianos. Késia Decoté returns this year with her programme of piano works by contemporary female composers (including works for toy piano) and Niamh Beddy continues her collaboration with dancer and choreographer Alice Weber to perform Carl Vine’s Piano Sonata No. 1 and a world premiere from Stevon Russell.
Soloists take the stage in the form of young award-winner Emmanuel Sowicz performing classical guitar arrangements of Bach and Scarlatti alongside Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Sonata ‘Omaggio a Boccherini’ Op. 77. International percussionist Beibei Wang brings us Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 on the marimba coupled with a work by kiwi composer John Psathas combining percussion with electronics, and a world premiere of one of Beibei’s own compositions. Having graduated from both the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, violist Katherine Clarke brings her passion for contemporary music to St John’s Smith Square with works by Garth Knox and Paul Patterson.
The Wall of Sound Singing Ensemble make a welcome return to St John’s Smith Square with their uniquely-styled traditional folk arrangements. We’re also delighted to have back our London International A Cappella Choral Competition 2017 competitors, Iken Scholars, with a programme of Lobo, Scarlatti, and Lotti.
There is a variety of ensembles participating, from the Eos Trio opening the marathon with Stravinsky, CPE Bach, and Khachaturian, to baroque trio Musicke in the Ayre exploring the repertoire of 16th and 17th century art song from across Europe, accompanied by lute and bass viol. The marathon closes with a very special performance from experimental music collective Echoshed of their new piece Dialogues, written especially for the Music Marathon utilising the different spaces around St John’s Smith Square.
This year will also feature short talks on the history and architecture of St John’s Smith Square from Artistic Director, Richard Heason.
Richard Heason, Director of St John's Smith Square said: “One again we celebrate Open House Weekend with a 12 hour marathon of continual music making at St John’s Smith Square. There’s a huge range of music on offer, with both new and old, familiar and fresh. St John’s will resound to the sound of choirs, orchestras, solo instrumentalists and electronic music and all of it is available to listen to free of charge in this magnificent Grade 1 listed concert hall. Come and join us as we embark on our marathon of music making.”