London church gets major talent upgrade

London church gets major talent upgrade


norman lebrecht

November 24, 2021

St Martin-in-the-Fields used to be open for booking by any group of musicians. Now it has taken programming in hand with a powerful prgramme for Spring 2022.

Among those booked are major professional choirs including BBC Singers, Chineke! Voices, Ex Cathedra, the Gesualdo Six, I Fagiolini, Monteverdi Choir, Tallis Scholars and Tenebrae, with music from plainchant to contemporary.

Other highlights:

– Operas by Handel and Purcell with The English Concert and BBC Singers, Vivaldi from 12 Ensemble and La Serenissima.

– Easter Festival including Arvo Pärt’s Passio, Bach’s St John Passion and Handel’s La resurrezione.

– Chineke! Voices with music by of one of the earliest known composers of African descent

– Opus Anglicanum with jazz pianist Jason Rebello and I Fagiolini with actress Tamsin Greig

– New partnership with neighbours English National Opera, ‘ENO in the Fields’, to showcase new singers with the ENO Chorus and Orchestra.

– London recital debut of Jeneba Kanneh-Mason

– Friday lunchtime series with young artists in partnership with English National Opera, City Music Foundation, Darbar and Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra.



  • Gary Freer says:

    Sounds great. Lovely venue for choral music.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Sounds like a really interesting programme and I will certainly go as I haven’t been for years.

  • Gerry McDonald says:

    Dear Norman, I regret to say I find the heading and tone of this article an insult to many fine and respected musicians who have performed in the many self promoted concerts at At
    Martin’s over the years!

  • Althea T-H says:

    St Martin’s was not open to booking by any group of musicians. A few conductors/promoters operated a virtual cartel there for about thirty years, meaning that it was very difficult for anyone else to get a foot through the door.

    For decades, the management was closed to new faces. Their ‘regular hirers’ were given almost all of the available concert dates. If you wanted to perform at St. Martin’s, you had to go and play for one of them.

    I speak from experience…

    • La plus belle voix says:

      Quite. Complete with ghastly non-rehearsed pick-up string band the student and freelance members of which were different after the interval. Even in the candlelight one could often make out a few new faces. An abuse of the players actually.

    • Gerry McDonald says:

      I presume you, like all the rest of the “cartel” were willing to risk your own money for venue hire, musicians’ fees and the 25 percent box office commission!

  • London Pianist says:

    Let’s hope they start taking care of the Steinway D, which is in terrible condition. In years past, the money in their coffers never found its way to any of their musicians or even to maintaining their own instrument. An altogether demoralising, demeaning experience, performing at St Martin in the Fields.