See the five venues of the Islington Festival of Music and Art
- Credit: Will Paxton
The first ever Islington Festival of Music and Art is set to bring classical music to North London.
The festival launches on Thursday, July 22, and ends on Sunday, July 25. It includes 14 events, with 11 concerts in some of the boroughs most noteworthy venues.
Martin André, co-founder of the festival alongside Joana Ly, said: “We were inspired by the enormous happiness and energy that many Londoners demonstrated last year, when we organised a series of chamber music concerts in private gardens and outside spaces in our local neighbourhood.”
We take a look at the five venues that will host this year’s festival.
1. Christ Church Highbury
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Built from 1847 to 1848, Christ Church Highbury is an Anglican Church located next to Highbury Fields.
The church has a rich history of live music, previously hosting the debut performance of Jonathan Dove's opera Tobias and the Angel before it toured with the Young Vic theatre group.
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Christ Church will host the opening concert of the festival between 7-9pm, with evening concerts featuring the works of Schubert, Mahler and Beethoven running every day until Sunday, July 25.
2. Newington Green Meeting House
Built in 1708, The Newington Green Meeting House was the centrepiece for intellectuals and activists like feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and American founding father Benjamin Franklin.
Since then, the venue and congregation have continued to strive for social justice into the 21st century. In 2008, the venue refused to issue marriage licences until same-sex marriage was legal in the UK.
The Meeting House will host two evening concerts entitled “Late Night Bach and Beer”. This will include performances from a trio of flute, lute and double bass players and ending with the debut performance of the chamber choir Wren Consort.
The venue will also host afternoon art classes where art tutor and illustrator Dolph Van Eden will be hosting figurative and abstract art classes. There will also be a morning workshop that details string instrument repair and maintenance led by Luthier Ladislav Prokop.
3. Islington Square – South Arcade
The newly opened Islington Square is a collection of shops, boutiques, performance spaces and restaurants.
The arcade is located next to the former General Post Office which, in the 1900s, was a sprawling complex that was the nucleus for all the post delivered to North London.
The South Arcade’s pop-up performance space will host three afternoons of live cabaret music from 1pm.
These will include traditional jazz standards in the stylings of Marlene Dietrich and Vera Lynn as well as performances by the festival’s hosts Martin André and Joana Ly.
4. No 20 Arts
Opened in January 2017, No 20 Arts is a centre for contemporary arts that hosts exhibitions, performances and events.
Formerly a frame factory, the 3,000 square-foot exhibition space will host a concert continuing the “Late Night Bach and Beer” theme.
Violinist Kati Debretzeni, one of the leaders of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, will perform Bach’s “Partita no.1 and 2” in the candlelit gallery.
5. The Old Queen’s Head
Built in 1830, The Old Queen’s Head has been a mainstay of events in Islington.
The venue has hosted world-famous artists at the very beginning of their careers such as Ed Sheeran, Arctic Monkeys and Florence and the Machine.
The venue will host the festival’s last “Late Night Bach and Beer” concert on the Sunday Evening, with performances from lute and violin performers Sergio Bucheli and Samuel Staples.
Tickets to the festival are still on sale, with day and evening passes available for a cluster of concerts as well as Free event passes for people aged under 26. More information can be found at www.islingtonfestival.com