St John’s Smith Square launches a new season of concerts for 2017/18

The St John’s Smith Square season launch is a fixture in my calendar. I’ve been to three.

Every year it’s been stiflingly hot, the cool interior of the rebuilt Baroque church offering sanctuary from the heady intensity of London in July.

St John’s Smith Square is where I discovered a glorious musical celebration of Westminster, gasped at the musical delights created when pianist Christina McMaster and a pupil of her joined forced on stage, and heard an electrifying performance of Brahms 1 from (fanboy alert) the brilliant Aurora Orchestra.

My Top Ten Must-See Events

Previewing a year long programme of events is a daunting affair and do, inevitably as you would expect from a classical music blogger, result in a personal selection. But based on a first browse through a deliciously aromatic brochure, here are my top ten must-attends.

All of the London Mozart Players Piano Explored series
Listen to the marvellous Howard Shelley point out how a great musical work is put together, before settling down to listen to the work in its entirety played by his London Mozart Players. Grieg, Schumann, and Shostakovich feature in this year’s selection. Starts Wednesday 4 October at 1.05pm. Civilised start time. 

Dmitry Masleev plays Lizst (and a bit of Tchaikovsky)
Masleev won the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2015 (see Medici.TV for his 70 minute winning performance in which he doesn’t even break a sweat). Can’t wait to see him in a solo recital at St John’s Smith Square. Thursday 30 November at 7.30pm. 

Bach at Advent
An inspired choice for Advent – a range of organ works throughout December. All but the last starting at 6pm, lasting 45 minutes, and completely free. Yes. Free. Runs from Sunday 3 December until Thursday 21 December. See website for details. 

Reverie: The Life & Loves of Debussy
Simon Russell Beale reveals part of Debussy’s life using excerpts from the composer’s journal. Words interspersed with live performance from pianist Lucy Parham. Neat.  Sunday 28 January 2018 at 3pm.

European Union Chamber Orchestra
I’m including this solely because I want to hear Haydn’s Little Organ Mass live for the first time in 27 years. Sang it at school and adored its efficiency and infectious enthusiasm. There’s a Mozart symphony in the line-up too. Wednesday 21 February at 7.30pm.

Special word to SJSS Chairman who’s passionate address at the top of the event recounting memories of the European Baroque Orchestra’s final gig post-Brexit, led into a similarly blunt warning about life for cultural institutions post-Brexit.


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