Spitalfields Music

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Spitalfields Music
Frequencyonce annually

Spitalfields Music (previously known as Spitalfields Festival, officially registered as Spitalfields Festival Ltd) is a music charity based in the Bethnal Green area of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The charity aims to strengthen the local community through musical events.[1] Spitalfields Music is a registered charity number 1052043.

The charity's work consists of producing music festivals that celebrate the very best music, both old and new, and a "Learning & Participation" programme, which undertakes projects throughout the year with participants drawn from across the Tower Hamlets community.[2][3]

Several new works are commissioned each year for the festival.[4]


  • 1976 – Spitalfields Festival was created when a single event, organised by Save Britain's Heritage, was held at Christ Church in Spitalfields in the summer.[5]
  • 1977 – In the summer the first official festival occurred. It was run by Friends of Christ Church, which had been formed the previous year after the single event had been held.
  • 1989 – The Festival Council was formed and more importantly so was the Education and Community Programme.
  • 1996 – The decision was taken to expand the festival to incorporate a Winter Festival.
  • 2003 – Christ Church was unavailable due to renovation works so the festival was spread around 13 venues.[6]
  • 2005 – Winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Education from Spitalfields Festival commission of Jonathan Dove's community cantata On Spital Fields.[7]
  • 2006 – Winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Concert Series or Festival.[8]
  • 2020 - The festival was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.[9]

Learning and Participation Programme[edit]

Since the founding of the education programme in 1989, the work that Spitalfields Music does with the community of Tower Hamlets has grown considerably. It was an early pioneer in the field of arts festival education programmes in the UK. Spitalfields Music delivers a busy programme throughout the year, working in schools, special needs settings, care homes and community spaces.

Alongside its Learning and Participation Programme, Spitalfields Music also runs a number of schemes to develop artists and music leaders of the future, including Trainee Music Leaders Scheme and Open Call.

Trainee Music Leaders Scheme[edit]

This is a year-long training programme for emerging music leaders to develop their skills as creative music leaders in learning and community settings, working with national partners including: Welsh National Opera, LSO Discovery, Opera North, Orchestras Live, Multi Story Orchestra and Southbank Sinfonia.[citation needed]

Open Call[edit]

Open Call is an open commissioning project that nurtures artists from diverse backgrounds to develop their compositional practice, developing early stage pieces to a work-in-progress stage, and testing new ways to connect their work to audiences.[citation needed]


Spitalfields Music is a charity and relies on grants, sponsorships, in kind help and donations to help run its festivals and the Learning and Participation Programme.[10] They receive financial support from trusts, foundations, corporate giving, public funding and individual giving. They also earn a small percentage of their income from ticket sales from their festivals.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". www.charity-commission.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 11 January 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ dx1086 (9 July 2014). "SPITALFIELDS FESTIVAL". British Council Music. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Spitalfields Music Festival announces 2020 programme". Rhinegold. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  4. ^ Ashley, Tim (5 December 2018). "Unknown, Remembered… review – a baffling and curiously disengaged installation". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  5. ^ Adams, Richard (1986). A book of British music festivals. R. Royce. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-947728-22-9.
  6. ^ Morreau, Annette (26 June 2003). "Vanbrugh Quartet / Britten Sinfonia, Spitalfields Festival, London". The Independent. Archived from the original on 18 March 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". www.rpsmusicawards.com. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Archived copy". www.rpsmusicawards.com. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Desk, TV News. "Spitalfields Music Announces Postponement of Festival". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  10. ^ "Spitalfields Music". Spitalfields Music.

External links[edit]