A Fitzrovia music festival takes to the stage in June 2016

A music festival celebrating the many musicians and composers who have had a connection with Fitzrovia will take place in early June, the first of an annual event say the organisers.

Man playing oboe.

Local resident and classical musician Dan Bates is leading a music festival for Fitzrovia. Photo: fitzfest.co.uk

The series of performances will take place at a variety of yet-to-be-chosen venues throughout the neighbourhood assisted by an Arts Council of England grant. There will also be a fundraising concert in Marylebone next week (Wednesday 3 February).

Local resident Dan Bates, a classically-trained oboist, is leading the series of events under the banner of “FitzFest: Fitzrovia’s annual community music festival” and is desperately looking for “people with a passion for Fitzrovia to help organize the many community events, concerts, walks, talks, exhibitions and lectures that are planned for the area” he told Fitzrovia News.

“FitzFest aims to be a modern and welcoming annual community music festival for Fitzrovia — providing great music but also promoting pride in the area, celebrating its diversity, generating a greater knowledge of local facilities and championing our community.

“Fitzrovia has hosted an astounding number of great musicians, writers, thinkers and artists from many cultures over the centuries — the festival will programme music entirely by musicians and composers who have lived or worked in the area, and aims to highlight its cultural richness,” says Bates.

“An example of this would be a performance by internationally famous clarinetist Jörg Widmann of the Clarinet Quintet by the early 19th century German composer Carl Maria von Weber in the very room on Great Portland Street in which (we think!) the composer died,” he says.

The concerts and events will be held in all kinds of unusual venues and will range from evening and lunchtime concerts to talks-with-music about specific aspects of local culture, and unexpected “musical flash mob” events. Also planned is a concert of music composed by children at All Souls’ Primary School performed by professional musicians, and musical visits to the paediatric ward at UCLH.

“At the core of FitzFest,” says Bates “is a new commission by internationally famous electronic music pioneer Scanner (aka Robin Rimbaud) who is a multi-talented, multi-award winning artist, who has curated events and created works for the ICA, the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera and the Venice Biennale.

“The aim of this exciting new work is to commemorate the late lamented Middlesex Hospital and at the same to celebrate the preservation and restoration of the Chapel,” says Bates.

Scanner will create a performance from recordings of interviews of people’s experiences and memories of the hospital and of the neighbourhood, and use electronic music to weave these into a soundscape which will run for 24 hours a day throughout the festival, echoing the pattern of shift workers at the hospital.

If you have any experiences or memories of the Middlesex Hospital — perhaps as a patient, visitor or worked there — and would like to record a short interview for the project please contact Dan Bates at mail@dsbates.com

FitzFest 2016 will take place at various venues from 8 to 11 June.

Fundraising concert for Fitzfest a new festival for Fitzrovia: Wednesday 3 February 2016 at 22 Mansfield Street, London W1G 9NR. Featuring: Daniel Bates – oboe, Katharine Spencer and Matt Hunt – clarinets, Beatrice Philips and Anna Cashell – violin, Meghan Cassidy – viola, Hannah Sloane – cello, Olga Jegunova – piano. Mozart Oboe Quartet; Mozart Clarinet Quintet; Destenay Trio.

Concert starts at 7.30pm. Guests are welcomed with a drink from 7.00pm. Concerts are followed by drinks and canapés. Artists all give their services free. Concert only – £20. Concert with drinks and canapés after – £30. Tickets on the door.

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