Barnes Music Festival in South West London is an annual celebration of music-making which includes choral, instrumental, orchestral, opera, jazz and film events featuring international stars, and local groups and schools performing at venues across Barnes. The Festival celebrates music-making of the highest standard in conjunction with established and emerging stars. The Barnes Music Festival’s Youth Programme is now an integral part of the festival and our ‘Under 12 Free Entry’ scheme encourages parents to bring their children to festival events.
The inaugural Festival took place in March 2013, with the theme Holst & the English Tradition celebrating the centenary of Gustav Holst's residency in Barnes. In 2014, the Festival celebrated Three Greats: Elgar, Delius, Holst, marking the 80th anniversary of these prolific composers. For 2015, the Festival took as its theme, The Magna Carta, Music & Freedom, celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and its link with Barnes, specifically St Mary's Church, one of the main venues for the Music Festival performances. For 2016, the theme was Handel & Composers of Barnes, which focused on the rich variety of composers who have lived and worked in Barnes, including Handel, Holst and Howells; and more recently, Howard Goodall and Roxanna Panufnik. Music & Place, the theme for 2017, celebrated the way in which music can enhance our appreciation of spaces and landscapes.
The 2018 theme, Peace & Harmonies, explored the way in which creativity and artistry can overcome chaos and adversity, focusing on the positive power of music to inspire and unite. In 2019, Leonardo da Vinci’s 500th anniversary inspired our Music & Invention theme with a programme that reflected da Vinci's creativity. Our 2020 Festival, Musical Journeys - a Voyage of Discoveries, was sadly cut short due to Covid 19, but we returned with a bang in 2021 with a celebration of Music & Theatre. We were thrilled to celebrate our 10th Anniversary Festival in 2022 with another varied and eclectic programme including our Ten for Ten scheme. Our 2023 festival took The Musical Environment as it's theme, with music written about the environment and nature, celebrating Barnes as an area of wildlife and beauty, and the environment in which composers and musicians thrive.
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The Festival Committee brings together representatives from the Barnes Music Society, Barnes Choir, Barnes Community Association, St Michael's Barnes, The Friends of St Mary’s Barnes and local music lovers and professionals who volunteer their expertise.
Andrew Summers, Chairman; James Day, Artistic Director; Sarah Cox, Brochure and website; Eleanor Davison, Young Artist Soirées; Angela Hoggarth, Barnes Choir; Charles Law, Barnes Music Society; Grytė Navardauskaitė, Artistic Assistant; Katherine Passerieu, PR & Media; Gary Smith, Barnes Community Association; Christine Thornton, Community Coordinator.
James Day, Artistic Director
James is Director of Music of the Pimlico Musical Foundation and Director of Tiffin Boys’ Choir. A prize-winning Choral Conductor at the Royal Academy of Music James has worked with conductors Gustavo Dudamel, Bernard Haitink, Jakub Hruša, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Vladimir Jurowski and Simon Halsey and has prepared choruses for the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonia, London Philharmonic Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has been broadcast on BBC, ITV, Channel4 and ClassicFM.