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26 March – 1 April 2018
A moment of stillness in the heart of a city

Returning after a hugely successful inaugural year, Tenebrae is delighted to present its Holy Week Festival curated in partnership with St John’s Smith Square.

St John’s Smith Square hosts workshops, ticketed concerts and free late-night liturgical events exploring a vast range of sacred music in celebration of Holy Week. Nigel Short and Tenebrae will perform a moving sequence of devotional settings and responses on Spy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. The festival will also include opportunities to participate in a workshop with Tenebrae and Come & Sing Handel’s Messiah.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Baltic states, this year’s programming will feature music by Ēriks Ešenvalds, Paweł Łukaszewski and Arvo Pärt amongst other Baltic composers. The festival also welcomes a host of distinguished headline performers such as Ex Cathedra, Gabrieli Consort and Players, Polyphony and the Britten Sinfonia, Skylark (from the USA) and The Tallis Scholars. Tenebrae is also proud to revive its collaboration with the Aurora Orchestra; this year presenting Pärt’s Passio on Wednesday 28th March 2018 in what promises to be an unmissable event in this year’s festival.

What is it about the music of Passiontide that has so inspired composers and tugs at the heart as much as it has been at the service of the Liturgy? Does music deal with angst, suffering and death better than the happier side of our human experience? If there is still a deep-seated need for this expressive side of our nature, then I hope that there is something for everyone this year – sacred and secular, a cappella and with instruments. I hope that this festival fulfils all your musical needs for the season.

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

Festival Brochure


Wednesday 28th March 2018, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

The Tenebrae Effect: Holy Week Festival

Wednesday 28th March 2018, 8:00 pm

Pärt Passio with Aurora Orchestra

Wednesday 28th March 2018, 10:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Spy Wednesday Liturgical Events

Thursday 29th March 2018, 10:15 pm - 11:00 pm

Maundy Thursday Liturgical Event

Friday 30th March 2018, 10:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Good Friday Liturgical Event


Tenebrae is grateful for the generous support of:

Adam Mickiewicz Institute

Polish Cultural Institute

Hymns Ancient & Modern

If you would like to support the Holy Week Festival’s community programme, which offers free concerts and workshops, please consider a donation.