New music festival raises roof of Muswell Hill’s churches

The Gesualdo Six picture by Julia Holland

The Gesualdo Six picture by Julia Holland - Credit: Archant

Local musicians Hannah King and Owain Park have programmed nine affordable concerts over six days to bring quality classical music to their neighbourhood

Mezzo soprano Helen Charlston plays the Muswell Hill Music Festival picture by Ben McKee

Mezzo soprano Helen Charlston plays the Muswell Hill Music Festival picture by Ben McKee - Credit: Archant

A brand new music event takes place in North London's churches next month - bringing quality classical concerts to Muswell Hill.

Founded by local soprano Hannah King and composer Owain Park, the Muswell Hill Music Festival is a feast of nine concerts over six days including chamber, choral, jazz, and a family come and sing event.

Works by Bach, Mozart, Britten, Mahler, Liszt, and Highgate-raised John Tavener will be heard in St Michael's Highgate, Holy Innocents Hornsey, and St Andrew's in Alexandra Park.

A free cocncert at Muswell Hill Baptist Church will be followed by a collection to raise money for the soup kitchen which is based there

King said: "Since we moved here a few years ago we have been captivated by the sense of community and amazed at the amount of artistic talent in the area.

We have put together a programme that includes a range of styles in the hope that there will be something for everyone."

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Park said while there were other classical festivals in the area, they wanted to try something more local.

"There is so much going on, from the Highgate Festival to St Jude's Proms, we thought 'let's branch out and do something in Muswell Hill to draw in people from the neighbourhood.

"We've had a lovely time here, and there's something about not having a tube station that makes for a good community."

Park and King put out the call to their many musician friends and put together the programme with their help.

"It's worked out quite well, we already have more people who want to take part if we do it again," said King.

"This is the first one and it would be lovely to have as much support and feedback as possible so we can take it further next year."

The couple promise an informal atmosphere with a warm welcome, reasonable ticket prices, refreshments and the chance to talk to performers afterwards.

"It's nice for audiences be able to ask questions, like 'why did you perform that piece?' or 'how do you make that high note?'

"Because the performers are younger we hope it will bring in younger audiences. Under 18s are free so bring the kids."

Robert Puzey of the Max Bruch Trio said: "We are delighted to be taking part in the inaugural Muswell Hill Music Festival, this especially resonates as two of us have loved living in North London for many years and are pleased to be involved with a local event."

Helen Charlston, winner of the 2018 Handel Singing Competition, also performs, and on July 13 there is a pre-concert talk by noted conductor and choral composer John Rutter who attended Highgate School with Tavener - before the Cambridge Chorale perform his The Passing of The Year.

The festival runs July 8-13.