Highlights of the Summer 2019 season include:

The Museum of London, in partnership with Guildhall School, presents Beasts of London; a state of the art, immersive and digital experience that takes visitors on a journey through time, from before London was created through to the present day

The final of Guildhall School’s most prestigious award, The Gold Medal, this year showcasing four outstanding singers

The first Festival of Classical Improvisation presented by Guildhall School’s Centre for Creative Performance and Classical Improvisation in collaboration with Imperial College London

The inaugural concert from the alumni-based Guildhall Session Orchestra

Guildhall’s second summer Chamber Music Festival: three days of collaborative student–professor performances

Guildhall Jazz Festival, featuring concerts from Guildhall Jazz Orchestra, Cleveland Watkiss, dinosaur, and Nikki Iles & The Printmakers

A double bill of Handel’s Aminta e Fillide and John Blow’s Venus and Adonis presented by Guildhall’s Opera department

Ten performances of Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, the School’s first production of the musical since giving its 1983 European premiere

A Guildhall Jazz Orchestra performance with international trombonist Elliot Mason and later a concert celebrating John Coltrane with saxophonist Steve Williamson

The annual Production Arts Graduation Exhibition, showcasing the outstanding work of final-year students on the Technical Theatre Arts and Video Design for Live Performance programmes

A host of prestigious guest artists – including pianist Kevin Murphy, composer Judith Weir and the Delta Saxophone Quartet – working with Guildhall musicians in public masterclasses

Collaborations including four LSO Platforms pre-concert performances by Guildhall Artists, and a Side-by-Side concert with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.


Festival of Classical Improvisation: Wednesday 1 – Friday 3 May, Silk Street Music Hall and Milton Court Concert Hall

Guildhall School’s Centre for Creative Performance and Classical Improvisation, led by Professor David Dolan, presents the first international festival celebrating the revival of Classical Improvisation in Western art-music performance. Festival highlights include a presentation of the findings of a joint nine-year research project on Improvisational State of Mind, featuring live tracking and projecting of musicians’ brain activity during improvisatory performances, plus a concert of extemporisation by the trio Keys, Bone and Bellows.

Ensemble in Residence: Ensemble Bash with Guildhall Percussion Group: Monday 6 May, Milton Court Concert Hall

Innovative British percussion quartet Ensemble Bash showcases an eclectic programme of Wali and Kumpo drumming, traditional Siwe Bell Music, Max Roach’s Rumble in the Jungle, plus works by Graham Fitkin, John Cage, Peter McGarr and recent Guildhall graduate Tom Gibson.

The Gold Medal Final: Friday 10 May, Barbican Hall

The Gold Medal is the School’s most prestigious prize for musicians. Singers and instrumentalists compete in alternate years for this coveted prize and this year is the turn of the singers. On 10 May the finalists - mezzo-soprano Ema Nikolovska, bass William Thomas, soprano Samantha Clarke, and baritone James Newby - each perform a short programme with piano accompaniment followed by a second half of arias with Guildhall Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Farnes.

This year’s distinguished judges are: Guildhall School alumnus and previous winner of the Gold Medal (1989) bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel; mezzo-soprano Dame Ann Murray; Jonathan Vaughan, Guildhall School’s Vice-Principal & Director of Music; Richard Farnes, Gold Medal Final conductor; and Kevin Murphy, Director, Coaching & Music Administration for Indiana University Opera Theatre and Director, Singers’ Programme at Ravinia Steans Music Institute. Murphy is formerly Director of Music Administration & Casting for New York City Opera and Director of Musical Studies at the Opéra de Paris.

Guildhall Wigmore Recital Prize, winner’s recital: Saturday 18 May, Wigmore Hall

The Guildhall Wigmore Recital Prize annually awards an exceptional Guildhall School musician with a Wigmore Hall Recital. This year’s recipient, mezzo-soprano Ema Nikolovska, is currently on the Guildhall Opera Course and has already won a host of other prizes. This concert offers the chance to hear her performing songs by Purcell, Schubert, Wolf, Medtner, Rodrigo and Ned Rorem with Guildhall alumnus Dylan Perez on piano.

Guildhall Session Orchestra: Wednesday 3 July, Milton Court Concert Hall

On 3 July, the newly formed alumni-based Guildhall Session Orchestra play their inaugural concert directed by Mike Roberts, presenting a programme of hybrid electro-orchestral music, including highlights from recent Guildhall School projects such as the Waddesdon Manor projections and Barbican Film soundtrack performances. There are also world premieres of new works written specially for the orchestra by composers of the Electronic Music Department.

Chamber Music Festival: Friday 5 – Sunday 7 July, various

Guildhall School’s summer Chamber Music Festival returns for a second year with performances from some of the School’s most accomplished chamber groups and student-professor collaborations with renowned performers from the chamber music faculty.

The opening concert on 5 July features Guildhall musicians with Chris Deacon, Endellion String Quartet, Joy Farrall, Louise Hopkins, Daniel Jemison, Niall Keatley, Fraser MacAulay, Caroline Palmer and Beth Randell performing Julian Anderson’s Transferable Resonance, Bartók’s String Quartet No. 2, Dvořák’s Serenade in D minor and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A minor.

Events on 6 July start with a concert celebrating women composers at City of London School for Girls, with the programme including Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio, Thea Musgrave’s Wind Quintet, and Beach’s Piano Trio. The afternoon concert at The Chapel, The Charterhouse features Schubert’s Quartettsatz, Widmann’s Hunting Quartet and Mozart’s Quartet K 458, The Hunt whilst, in the evening, Loeffler’s Two Rhapsodies for Oboe, Viola & Piano, Ravel’s Introductions and Allegro for Flute, Clarinet, String Quartet & Harp, and Brahms Clarinet Quintet in F minor are on the programme. Musicians include Levon Chilingirian, Nicholas Daniel, Philippa Davies, Matthew Jones, Bryn Lewis and Andrew Marriner.

On 7 July there’s a rare chance to hear Haydn’s Symphony No. 97 reinvented as a chamber quintet in a morning performance introduced by Professor Jacqueline Ross. A lunchtime concert sees Daniel Jemison, Tim Lowe, Fraser MacAulay, Marmen Quartet, Ursula Smith and Andrew Watkinson perform Strauss’ Capriccio Sextet, Thuille’s Sextet for Piano and Winds in B flat major, and Schubert’s String Quintet in C major whilst the early-afternoon concert features George Crumb’s Vox Balenae and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story for two pianos arranged by John Musto.

In the penultimate concert, Simon Blendis, Sarah-Jane Bradley, Richard Lester, Andrew Marriner and Sam Walton perform Mozart’s String Quintet in G minor, Bartók’s Sonata for two pianos and percussion and Dohnányi’s Sextet in C major. The final concert of the festival includes Beethoven’s Quintet for Piano & Winds in E flat major, Fauré’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor, and Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, performed by Joy Farrall, Heath Quartet, Daniel Jemison, Simon Rowland-Jones and Carole Presland.


A host of prestigious artists visit Guildhall School this summer to give masterclasses to senior students. These include Peter Frankl (29 April); Greta Tuls (29 April); masterclasses with Bert Mooiman, Karst De Jong and David Dolan as part of the Festival of Classical Improvisation (1 May); Mark Hampson (2 May); Kevin Murphy (8 & 9 May); Pedia Muzijevic (13 May); Delta Saxophone Quartet (15 May); Judith Weir (15 May); Francesco di Rosa (27 May); Catherine Michel (29 May); Richard Goode (30 May); and Andrew Marriner and Levon Chilingirian as part of the Chamber Music Festival (7 July).

Opera Double Bill – Handel’s Aminta e Fillide and John Blow’s Venus and Adonis: Four performances from Monday 3 June, Milton Court Theatre

Opening on 3 June for four performances, the opera department presents a double bill of early operatic works exploring romantic love: Handel’s Aminta e Fillide and John Blow’s Venus and Adonis. Handel’s pastoral cantata, full of sparkling arias, was commissioned by Rome’s Academy of Arcadia when the composer was just 22 and follows Aminta on his campaign to woo the nymph, Fillide. The theme of Cupid’s arrow also runs through John Blow’s Venus and Adonis, composed 25 years earlier for the court of King Charles II and considered by many to be the earliest known English opera. Chad Kelly conducts and the rest of the creative cast is comprised of director Victoria Newlyn, designer Madeleine Boyd and lighting designer Andrew May.


Guildhall Jazz Festival: Tuesday 30 April – Friday 3 May, Milton Court Studio Theatre

Guildhall School’s summer Jazz Festival takes place over four days, with the intimate Milton Court Studio Theatre transforming into a jazz club featuring some of the most celebrated artists on the UK jazz scene. The first evening concert on 30 April sees Martin Hathaway directing Guildhall Jazz Orchestra in a celebratory programme of the music of Duke Ellington, transcribed and arranged by Michael Kilpatrick.

On 1 May, Guildhall School welcomes back alumnus Cleveland Watkiss MBE and his all-star band, assembled from some of the most prolific British musicians active today: Orphy Robinson MBE on vibes & electronics, Pat Thomas on piano & electronics, Jason Yarde on saxophone and electronics, Neil Charles on double bass, and Mark Sanders on drums.

The 2017 Mercury-nominated band dinosaur give the evening performance on 2 May. Trumpeter Laura Jurd, pianist Elliot Galvin, electric bassist Conor Chaplin, and drummer Corrie Dick present colourful new music from their highly anticipated second album Wonder Trail.

The Jazz Festival closes on 3 May with a special concert from The Printmakers, led by Nikki Iles on the piano with Grammy-nominated vocalist Norma Winstone MBE, alongside four of the UK’s best jazz instrumentalists: guitarist John Parricelli, saxophonist Mark Lockheart, double bassist Steve Watts, and drummer James Maddren.

From 12pm on each afternoon of the festival there’s the chance to hear Guildhall jazz musicians showcase their work in performances led by Guildhall professors, with new combos performing every hour.

Guildhall Jazz Orchestra: Friday 24 May, Milton Court Concert Hall

Guildhall Jazz Orchestra and director Tom Richards welcome international trombone player Elliot Mason on 24 May for a showcase of his music. Praised the world over for his virtuosity, melodicism and harmonic innovation, the Norwich-born musician has performed with the Count Basie Orchestra, Mingus Big Band, Maria Schneider Orchestra, Chick Corea, Kenny Garrett and Carol Fontana to name but a few. He is currently a member of the celebrated Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Guildhall Jazz Orchestra: Celebrating Coltrane: Wednesday 10 July, Milton Court Concert Hall

Saxophonist Steve Williamson teams with Guildhall Jazz Orchestra and director Scott Stroman on 10 July for Stroman’s recreation and expansion of John Coltrane’s seminal 1961 Africa/Brass album. This summer showcase also features Coltrane-inspired music by Rufus Reid, Michael Brecker, Stroman and others.


Merrily We Roll Along: 10 performances from Tuesday 2 July, Silk Street Theatre

This year’s summer musical is Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, based on the book by George Furth and the School’s first production of the work since giving its 1983 European premiere. Set in New York, the story follows the lives of a successful but disillusioned composer and his two estranged friends in reverse chronology, with the clock ticking backwards from 1976 to 1957. A brilliantly melodic score, coupled with Sondheim’s sharp and piquant observations of human frailty makes for a witty and poignant story about the importance of staying true to one’s hopes and aspirations. The creative team is made up of director Martin Connor, musical director Steven Edis, choreographer Ewan Jones, designer Adam Wiltshire, lighting designer James Smith and sound designer Charlie Smith.

Production Arts

Beasts of London: Friday 5 April 2019 – Sunday 5 January 2020, Museum of London

The Museum of London opens Beasts of London on 5 April: a state of the art, immersive and digital experience that takes visitors on a journey through time, from before London was created through to the present day narrated by the animals who once lived here. Created in partnership with Guildhall School of Music & Drama and inspired by objects in the museum’s collection, the experience uses video projection mapping, created by production artists from Guildhall School and Creative Lead Dan Shorten, to highlight the history of animals in the capital. Other beasts featured in the experience include the Fox (voiced by Kate Moss), the Bacterium (Brian Blessed), the Eagle (Pam Ferris), the Rat (Angellica Bell), the Dormouse (Joe Pasquale) and the Horses (Nish Kumar and Stephen Mangan). Actors, production artists and composers from Guildhall School have designed the experience, created the soundtrack and voiced additional characters.

Production Arts Graduation Exhibition: 5 & 6 June, Milton Court Studio Theatre & Foyers

This end-of-year showcase on 5 & 6 June presents some of the outstanding work of final-year students on Guildhall School’s Technical Theatre Arts and Video Design for Live Performance programmes. It is a chance to see up close a range of props, scenery, costumes and video designs created for the School’s public operas, dramas and musicals, as well as for students’ own personal projects, and many of the students are present to talk about their work. Collaborations

BBC Symphony Orchestra Total Immersion: Lili and Nadia Boulanger: Saturday 6 April, Milton Court Concert Hall

Guildhall musicians perform chamber and ensemble music by the Boulanger sisters in an afternoon concert curated by Gordon Stewart as part of the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Total Immersion day. The programme includes songs by Nadia Boulanger; music for violin, cello and piano by Lili Boulanger; Stravinsky’s Lied ohne Name for two bassoons and Emile Naoumoff’s In Memoriam Lili Boulanger for bassoon and piano.

LSO Platforms: Guildhall Artists: Thursday 25 April, Wednesday 1 May, Sunday 5 May, Thursday 30 May, Barbican Hall

Senior musicians from Guildhall School take to the Barbican stage before four LSO concerts this summer with free performances of complementary repertoire. The Marmen Quartet perform Ravel’s String Quartet in F major on 25 April; Julia Raga Pascual (clarinet), Lyrit Milgram (violin) and Ryan Drucker (piano) present chamber music by Stravinsky on 1 May; on 5 May, pianist Ben Smith performs John Adams’ Phrygian Gates; and 30 May is also dedicated to piano music as Ming Xie’s programme features music by Beethoven. Rachmaninov/Mendelssohn, Nimrod Borenstein and Brahms.

London Symphony Orchestra Side by Side: Thursday 20 June, Barbican Hall

Sir Simon Rattle gathers a huge orchestra of LSO and Guildhall musicians on 20 June for a symphony at the very height of Romanticism: Bruckner’s Fourth. The programme is completed by Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and Grainger’s Lincolnshire Posy.

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


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