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Holy Week Festival 2021

Posted on 22nd February 2021

A Moment of Stillness from the Heart of the City

Each year, we partner with St. John’s Smith Square to present our annual Holy Week Festival. Showcasing some of the world’s finest ensembles, this week-long programme celebrates the vast range of music composed for Lent and Easter. Following the cancellation of our 2020 festival due to the pandemic, this year we’re taking a specially designed collection of unique performances and atmospheric liturgical events online, free for everyone to enjoy.

2021 Festival Highlights – recorded live at St John’s Smith Square

  • The Tenebrae Choir – Into the Hands of Sinners – a Palm Sunday performance featuring music by Byrd, Weelkes and Poulenc 
  • Our Associate Artists – Bach Chorales and Partita No. 2 in D Minor
  • String Quartet – Haydn The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross
  • Follow the moving and devotional sequence of Tenebrae liturgical settings and responses performed by candlelight with cleric-in-residence Graham Buckle across Spy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday – including Allegri’s iconic Miserere mei, Deus 

The festival’s ethos, a ‘moment of stillness’, has never been so important. Born from Tenebrae’s director Nigel Short’s past experience as a musician at Easter dashing across London from services to concerts, it now takes on a different meaning. This year, Holy Week Festival provides all of us with the opportunity to reflect, from our enforced stillness, and enjoy a range of outstanding performances. We are working hard to ensure the Holy Week Festival can survive and reach even more people by making the performances available free of charge, for everyone to enjoy all over the world. We are committed to supporting and providing key performance opportunities for our musicians, all of whom have had their income decimated over the last 12 months, with nearly all of their work cancelled and very little opportunity to practise the art that is central to their lives.

We need your help to raise £12,000, supporting the festival’s world-class musicians and covering the costs of recording and presenting them at the festival’s home, St. John’s Smith Square in Westminster. With no box office income this year, your support is vital if we are to make this year’s programme a reality and secure the festival’s future. In place of buying a ticket for the festival this year, please support our Crowdfunding campaign.

Associate ArtistsHoly Week FestivalNigel ShortSt John's Smith SquareTenebrae