Gulbenkian supports City of London Festival 2010

City of London Festival logo
08 apr 2010

City of London Festival 2010 programme announced 21 June to 9 July

• UK debut of the Portuguese Chamber Orchestra opens the Festival

• Music, film and dance from the Portuguese-speaking world including Ponciano Almeida, Miguel Azguime, Deborah Colker, Antonio Meneses, Cristina Ortiz, Artur Pizarro, Patricia Rozario, Luis Tinoco and the late Heitor Villa-Lobos

From 21 June to 9 July, the 2010 City of London Festival celebrates a rich array of music and culture from the Portuguese-speaking world, presents a new generation of classical music stars and gets the Square Mile buzzing in the International Year of Biodiversity.

Music and art from the Portuguese-speaking world – including Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Goa, Mozambique and Portugal itself – are the focus of this year’s Trading Places theme. This element of the programme is supported by a major grant from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The Festival opens with the UK debut of the Portuguese Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Pedro Carneiro, with virtuoso Brazilian pianist Cristina Ortiz playing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 2 (21 June). A major commission this year is a new work from one of Portugal’s leading contemporary composers Miguel Azguime for the Sond’Ar-te Electric Ensemble (6 July). Goanese soprano Patricia Rozario is joined by Brazilian cellist Antonio Meneses in a programme of Bach, Goan and Brazilian folksong arrangements and two of Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras (23 June). Villa-Lobos will also be heard throughout the Festival in chamber music, songs and solo works. Brazil’s leading contemporary choreographer Deborah Colker presents her new work Cruel (29 June to 3 July).

Other highlights include Lisbon’s Gulbenkian Choir (30 June), A Capella Portuguesa (25 June), brilliant Portuguese pianist Artur Pizarro (24 June, 1 & 9 July) and the world’s leading authority on the Portuguese guitar, Pedro Caldeira Cabral (6 July). Wine expert Charles Metcalfe is joined by three of Portugal’s best young fado singers and some of the country’s finest wines, for a tasting and a light-hearted quiz in Vintners’ Hall (7July).

Homegrown contributions include the English Chamber Orchestra playing Portuguese works alongside Elgar and Mendelssohn with pianist Artur Pizarro as soloist (24 June); the London première of the Orlando Consort’s Mantra – musical conversations across the Indian Ocean; the Britten Sinfonia directed by Joanna MacGregor in a programme of Brazilian music juxtaposed with Bach keyboard concertos (5 July); and the Aurora Orchestra combining Western Baroque and contemporary works with new choreography by Brazilian Capoeira master Ponciano Almeida (9 July).

Elsewhere the Festival continues to celebrate the 200th birthday of Frédéric Chopin. Nightfall on 21 June sees the world première of Festival commission The 21 Piano Nocturne by composer Richard Causton and artist Luke Jerram in the Guildhall Yard. The work draws on all Chopin’s 21 nocturnes and will be played on 21 upright pianos by pianists from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and The Centre for Young Musicians. This launches the return by popular demand of Luke Jerram’s Play Me, I’m Yours project, with these 21 Street Pianos dispersed throughout the Square Mile and available for all to play during the three Festival weeks.

There will be a concert every week in St Paul’s Cathedral. On 22 June the Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral and His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts perform Monteverdi’s Vespers 1610; on 29 June the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment is joined by the BBC National Chorus of Wales and conductor Thierry Fischer in Haydn’s The Creation; and on 8 July the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, plays Beethoven’s Symphony No 9.

The City of London Festival has a long tradition of supporting young and developing artists and 2010 is no exception. Twelve early-evening concerts (Mondays to Thursdays at 6pm) feature BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists and will be broadcast on Radio 3. New names this year include pianists Khatia Buniatishvili and Francesco Piemontesi. Twelve free lunchtime concerts – Tomorrow’s Artists Today – will be given by leading students of the Guildhall School (Tuesdays to Fridays at 1.05pm).

From early May, 21 beehives are being installed in archetypal City locations throughout the Square Mile, including Middle Temple Gardens, Museum of London, Sir John Cass School, St Olave’s Hart Street, SEB Bank and Mansion House. Throughout the Festival, honey will be harvested in outdoor lunchtime ceremonies with live music, commissioned bee poetry and honey tastings. French artists Olivier Darné and Emmanuelle Roule of art collective Parti Poetique have collaborated with the Festival to install The Honey House in the Festival Gardens at St Paul’s Cathedral. From 22 to 26 June, there will be four days of world and folk music at the installation. Bees also permeate the classical and contemporary music programme with performances of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee in various guises, Arvo Pärt’s If Bach had been a Beekeeper and Pujol’s The Bumble Bee plus an evening of new works for voice and piano. The Festival has commissioned five leading British poets to create a series of poems about bees and the City. On 8 July, the Right Reverend Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, will give a lecture A Land Flowing With Milk And Honey at Gresham College.

Once again the architecture of London’s Square Mile – iconic buildings, exquisite churches, magnificent livery halls, private and public spaces – is the incomparable and unique setting for the City of London Festival.

The Festival is pleased to announce that BNY Mellon will be the lead sponsor of this year’s Festival. “Supporting the arts is an important part of BNY Mellon’s heritage” said Woody Kerr, vice-chairman of Europe at BNY Mellon. “As a global company, diversity is at the heart of what we do, and we are delighted to support such a wide-ranging programme of events that forms one of the highlights of the City of London’s cultural calendar”. In reference to this year’s Festival theme, the Portuguese-speaking world, he continued: “Given our presence in Brazil and the UK, we are especially pleased to help bring performances from some of the leading artists in the Portuguese-speaking world to the City of London”.

Booking opens on 14 April, to book please call 0845 120 7502 or visit

Press contact Martha Oakes or Sue Lancashire on 020 8854 5460 / 07798 626555 / [email protected]

Notes to editors

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is a charitable foundation established in Portugal in 1956 with cultural, educational, social and scientific interests. Its founder, Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, was an Armenian born in Turkey. Multicultural and multilingual he spent his career bringing people from different cultures and nationalities together. The purpose of the UK Branch, based in London, is to help enrich and connect the experiences of people in the UK and Ireland and secure lasting, beneficial change. For more than 50 years we have initiated and supported pioneering social, cultural and educational developments. One of our core aims is to improve cultural understanding, including through initiatives to promote Lusophone culture in the UK. For further information please see:

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