Festival to celebrate Fitzrovia’s music heritage opens

The inaugural music festival to celebrate the many musicians and composers who have had a connection with Fitzrovia will kick off this Wednesday with the first of a series of concerts and other events.

String musicians sitting in a room playing their instruments.

Musicians at a rehearsal for FitzFest performances. Photo: FitzFest Facebook page.

Local resident Dan Bates, a classically-trained oboist, is leading the programme under the banner of “FitzFest: Fitzrovia’s annual community music festival”.

The musical performances 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 also guided walks to explore the neighbourhood.

“At the core of FitzFest,” says Bates “is a new commission by internationally famous electronic music pioneer Scanner (aka Robin Rimbaud).

“The aim of this exciting new work is to commemorate the late lamented Middlesex Hospital and at the same time 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.

FitzFest runs from Wednesday 8 to Saturday 11 June 2016 at various venues. Many events are free. Full details and a complete list of events are at FitzFest.co.uk.

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