Favourite singers and instrumentalists entertain and uplift a safely distanced audience in this landmark church, which will be dramatically lit to intensify the immersive experience.
Founded by clarinettist and concert promoter Anthony Friend, Spotlight Chamber Concerts follows on from the success of the musician's recent Bandstand Chamber Festival, for which four top string quartets played on Battersea Park’s fine Victorian bandstand.
St John’s, the church on the roundabout at Waterloo, was built in 1824 for local working people and rebuilt in 1951 as the church of the Festival of Britain: a beacon of hope and resilience. Today it serves not only as a church but also as a charity and arts venue popular with performers and audiences alike.
Says Anthony Friend: ‘The difficulties faced by these world-leading artists have been enormous, but Spotlight Chamber Concerts offers these elite performers the chance to connect with audiences once again on an intimate level.
Opening the series on Sat 28 Nov are the Maxwell Quartet and Anthony Friend playing Haydn, Scottish folk music and the much-loved Mozart Clarinet Quintet.
Pianist Angela Hewitt plays Beethoven on Fri 18 Dec
They are followed on Mon 7 Dec by baritone Roderick Williams and Susie Allan performing Schubert’s moving and tender Schwanengesang. Joining them are Momentum artists mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge and bass Edward Hawkins.The Momentum scheme was founded by conductor and singer Barbara Hannigan to support established young singers and conductors who have lost work to Covid-19.
On Fri 11 Dec Solem Quartet – violinists William Newell and Amy Tress, viola-player Stephen Upshaw and cellist Stephanie Tress – play The Four Quarters by Thomas Adès and Beethoven’s Quartet in B-flat, Op. 130. The quartet formed at the University of Manchester, and take their name from its motto – a good one for these days: Arduus ad solem – ‘striving towards the sun’. Ades's piece traces the 24 hours of the day – and adds a 25th, which requires the instrumentalists to play in a mind-stretching time signature of 25/16!
In the week before Christmas, two great artists bring the festival to an impressive end. On Fri 18 Dec cellist Steven Isserlis plays Bach, Britten, Walton and Adès.
And on Sat 19 Dec pianist Angela Hewitt plays Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata and also his last Sonata – the one in C minor, Op 111.
Audience safety will be to the fore, and should restrictions change, back-up dates have been scheduled. Admission is by pre-booked ticket only. Ticket-holders’ information will be kept for 21 days to aid with track and trace.
|What||Spotlight Chamber Concerts live, St John's Waterloo|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
28 Nov 20 – 19 Dec 20, Five concerts, each with different artists and programmes
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|