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Palm Sunday 5th April – Easter Sunday 12th April 2020

Returning for a fourth successive year, St John’s Smith Square and Tenebrae are delighted to present the Holy Week Festival running from 5 – 12 April 2020

Curated in partnership with Tenebrae and Nigel Short, St John’s Smith Square will host workshops, ticketed concerts and free late-night liturgical events exploring a vast range of sacred music in celebration of Holy Week. New for 2020 is a focus on mental health and wellbeing, including a pre-concert panel discussion on music and lamentation (8 April), and a guided meditation to open the Festival ahead of a reflective concert from Siglo de Oro (5 April).

Distinguished headline performers in this year’s festival include the King’s Singers, Polyphony, The Tallis Scholars, Tenebrae, and the Choir of Merton College, Oxford with Florilegium and Siglo de Oro. New to Holy Week Festival are Musica Secreta with the recently discovered complete Brumel Lamentations and the Armonico Consort with soprano Elin Manahan Thomas in Bach’s B Minor Mass.  Concert highlights include Tenebrae’s own headline concert on 8 April with Allegri’s celebrated Miserere, mei Deus and Tallis’ Lamentations of Jeremiah as well as a new programme of penitential settings for Holy Week on 9 April with saxophonist Christian Forshaw. Other highlights include the St Matthew Passion with the Choir of Merton College, Oxford and Florilegium with soloists including James Oxley & Sophie Bevan; Polyphony with Bach’s St John Passion and The Tallis Scholars singing Victoria’s Tenebrae Responsories.

The festival’s raison d’être is to provide ‘A moment of stillness in the heart of the City’. In the first instance this was a response to my own experience as a working musician during Holy Week, rushing from one side of London to the other and missing out completely on that vital spirit of reflection. In 2020 we are expanding on this central ethos to introduce a new focus on mental health and wellbeing, which I hope will help you to experience this beautiful music in a new and fulfilling way.

Nigel Short (Artistic Director, Tenebrae & Holy Week Festival)