City of London Festival details

The Festival's theme, City of London – Trading Places with the World will be brought to life with performances from internationally acclaimed stars in the City’s most iconic and historical spaces. Among the events planned are a wealth of world première performances of new music and dance including works by composer Tansy Davies for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, a landmark piece performed by English National Ballet in St Paul’s Cathedral, as well as 300 free piano lessons on the City streets and free family events across the Square Mile and beyond.  [Full listings below].

Standout events in the Golden Jubilee programme include:

  • The London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Colin Davis, performing Berlioz’s colossal work Grande Messe des Morts in St Paul’s Cathedral. (25 & 26 June). 
  • Internationally-acclaimed guitarist John Williams, who will commemorate the Festival’s jubilee year by giving a recital echoing the performance he gave at the first City of London Festival in 1962. (10 July).
  • Street-level performances and installations, including 50 Golden Street Pianos, which will be placed in the Square Mile and other locations around the capital. A new dance duet by acclaimed choreographer Rafael Bonachela danced by the Sydney Dance Company (27 – 29 June) will be created especially for the 50 pianos.  To commemorate the opening of the Festival, 300 Londoners will be able to turn up and take advantage of free piano lessons at the Street Pianos. (24 June). 
  • Live music sculptures at Tower Bridge and Monument, created specifically for the two icons by composer Samuel Bordoli. At Tower Bridge, guests can watch musicians play along the length of the high-level walkways, 42 metres above the Thames. At Monument, the music will travel up its 311 steps, inviting the audience to experience an aural and actual sense of ascension as they climb the stairs to the very top. (8 July).
  • The Brodsky Quartet performing a unique programme with a quirky twist: ‘The Wheel of Four Tunes’, with four works selected at random by the spin of a wheel onstage, from 40 choices, celebrating 40 years of the Brodsky Quartet. (2 July).
  • The Festival’s commitment to supporting work for disabled and non-disabled performers continues.  New work by composer Nigel Osborne will receive its world première by tetraplegic former trumpeter, Clarence Adoo, on his specially-designed new Headspace instrument which has enabled him to perform once again with fellow professionals. Christian Lindberg’s award-winning Dawn at Galamanta, created and performed by Swedish artists of all physicalities, receives its UK première at the Guildhall (both 6 July).

Each event and performance acts as a new installment in the story of the City taking the audience on an international journey that connects back to London’s heart.

Sustainability remains a core part of the Festival's programme, with flowers in the spotlight for 2012. The Festival will be promoting and nurturing wildflowers across the Square Mile, providing vital support for the City's population of pollinators. The public will be invited to feast on City honey taken from the Festival’s roof-top beehives, as well as celebrate urban flowers, at the Festival’s closing event in Paternoster Square (27 July). 

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