It’s happening! Culture has exploded and doors are finally open!
Six million pounds has been allocated by the Mayor’s office to support ‘Let’s Do London’ and industry is contributing a further £1m. The campaign will include a major advertising push supported by London & Partners and TfL, alongside new content on the Visit London website outlining what London has to offer for both locals and visitors coming to the capital, which is a lot – especially when it comes to Culture in the Capital.
To stay up to date, follow the hashtag #LetsdoLondon but for now let me talk you through some of the highlights.
Sculpture in the City
Sculpture in the City, the City of London’s annual programme of public artworks placed amidst the iconic architecture of the City Cluster, has announced the 18 artworks that will form this year’s exhibition, marking the tenth edition.
Launching on 15 June 2021, works by artists including Laure Prouvost, Alice Channer, Eva Rothschild, Mark Handforth, Laura Arminda Kingsley, and Rosanne Robertson will be on display around the City’s famous buildings and public spaces. Spanning 100 Bishopsgate to Leadenhall Market, Fenchurch Street Station Plaza to Mitre Square, this year’s edition will bring contemporary public artworks to the ancient and modern spaces of the City.
The Gresham College Lectures
Always a highlight, this month’s The Gresham College Lectures are full of new ideas, discoveries, history and community.
Cyborg Piano: Magnetic Resonator Piano by Dr Xenia Pestova Bennett; Monday 7 June 2021, online, 6pm-7pm (or watch later)
The Magnetic Resonator Piano invented by Andrew McPherson sees electromagnets suspended above the strings of a regular grand piano, allowing for control of minute details of shimmering resonance, crescendo from silence, and sustained “bowed” sounds that the performer can shape directly from the keyboard scanner while retaining the use of the original mechanism. The instrument transforms into an unrecognisable and stunning electroacoustic cyborg. The lecturer, a concert pianist and improviser, will introduce this instrument to the audience from a performance perspective.
The History of Synagogue Music in London by Chazan Eliot Alderman; Tuesday 8 June 2021, online, 6pm-7pm (or watch later)
The Jewish communities of London have a rich musical-liturgical history, stretching back to the mid-17th century. This lecture will consider some of the main musical developments since then, beginning with the Sephardi and Ashkenazi synagogues which stood practically side-by-side in the City of London for 250 years.
They will examine the birth of the Anglo-Jewish choral tradition, the split with the Reform movement and its musical consequences, and the new music brought more recently by immigrants from Eastern Europe and Arab lands.
The Sir Thomas Gresham Annual Lecture by Sir Nick Kenyon CBE; Thursday, 10 June 2021, online, 6pm-7pm (or watch later)
Sir Nick Kenyon is Managing Director of the Barbican Centre and was previously responsible for the BBC Proms (1996-2007). An influential figure in the UK’s musical and cultural life, he will be speaking on the role of arts and culture in the future of a thriving City.
London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican
13 June, 3.30pm and 6.30pm, conducted by François-Xavier Roth
Looking to the future in this double bill concert where you’ll hear violinist extraordinaire Patricia Kopatchinskaja premiering a brand new concerto by Francisco Coll. The LSO will also perform contemporary works composed by young composers Charlie Piper and cellist-singer-songwriter Ayanna Witter-Johnson. All this alongside an undisputed 21st-century classic by living legend Betsy Jolas.
Poet in the City
This incredible poetry collective presents three shows on 3, 23 and 28 June: an evening of poetry and discussion around the lessons of Virgil’s Aeneid in the context of contemporary refugee emergencies; a collaboration with London Sinfonietta composers Kerry Andrew, Gavin Higgins, Robert Mitchell, Larry Goves setting texts created by poets Nazneen Ahmed, Kayo Chingonyi, Fathima Zahra in collaboration with different communities, just before and in the recent months of the pandemic; and The Rebel Poet of 1960s Iran, an evening of poetry and discussion dedicated to rebel poet Forugh Farrokhzad and her legacy on international contemporary poets and artists. Book here.
LSO Discovery Lunchtime Concert
LSO St Luke’s, 18 June
Want to know more about classical music but not sure where to start? Make the most of your lunch break and enjoy a free, 45-minute informal concert – in person – with Guildhall School musicians at LSO St Luke’s. Free tickets must be booked online in advance.
12 Ensemble with Anna Meredith and Jonny Greenwood
Anna Meredith and Jonny Greenwood join pioneering string orchestra 12 Ensemble in the Barbican Hall on 19 June to host a genre-defying explosion of musical encounters. The programme takes you to the corners of our world in a creative collision of human nature and natural inspirations. Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood joins the stage to play tanpura in his flowing Water, inspired by his travels around Australia and India, before the ever-distinctive 12 Ensemble put their stamp on Shostakovich’s ferocious attack on totalitarianism.
Make Music Day UK
There are tons of events on 21 June to celebrate Make Music Day! online. For City professionals and friends, Music in Offices is celebrating with a big sing hosted by beatbox extraordinaire Randolph Matthews. Sign up here for a fun hour exploring your voice. You may then like to go on to the Freedom Rave at Fabric to dance the night away – there are only 100 tickets left as of today… See ya there!
Dub London at the Museum of London
As the Museum of London reopens its doors, Dub London returns for a limited run. From its roots in Jamaican reggae to how it shaped communities over the last 50 years, the display explores not only dub music, but also the cultural and social impact it has had on the identity of London and its people.
Admission to the display is included in your free ticket to the museum which must be booked in advance until 5 September.
Jean Dubuffet at The Barbican Art Gallery
This amazing new exhibition celebrates French artist Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985), one of the most singular and provocative voices in post-war modern art. It’s the first major survey of his work in the UK for over 50 years, showcasing four decades of his career, from early portraits and fantastical statues, to butterfly assemblages and giant colourful canvases.