The annual festival City Summer Sounds returns, celebrating the community of undergraduate and postgraduate students, staff, resident ensembles, performers and composers at City, University of London's Department of Music

By Chris Lines (Senior Communications Officer), Published

At this year’s City Summer Sounds, the University’s Department of Music will present world and UK premieres, chamber music masterpieces, theatrical work, unique collaborations and electronic music from our legendary sound studios.

All concert events in the series will be livestreamed on YouTube and will be free to view. Web listings for individual events will contain full details of how to register and receive the streaming links nearer to the date of the event.

Explore Ensemble

Explore Ensemble

Highlights of this year's concerts include a welcome return visit for the dynamic Explore Ensemble (9th June), swiftly becoming recognised as one of the UK's best ensembles for 20th and 21st century music, with a programme of world premieres by City composers.

Innovative jazz and improvised music comes from Moss Freed's large group Union Division (27th May; pictured top of page), a collective of some of London's finest exponents of 'spontaneous' music, and Shirley Smart's Sextet and Trio (17th June), who combine diverse influences from across the Middle East and Balkans.

Manchester's Vonnegut Collective (15th June) present a new work in collaboration with Tullis Rennie, 48 Hours, which utilises rehearsal and interview footage to explode the process of mounting a performance of Thomas Adès' notoriously virtuosic Piano Quintet.

Vonnegut Collecive

Vonnegut Collective

Early music comes from Gut Instinct (18th June), exploring the music of the English Civil War and Restoration periods, and renowned vocal ensemble EXAUDI, with a programme of the astonishing works of Renaissance composer Gesualdo.

City Pierrot Ensemble will also present a performance of Peter Maxwell Davies' Eight Songs for a Mad King (14th June), in a programme that also includes tributes to composer Simon Bainbridge and work by Soosan Lolavar.

The festival will also include appearances from saxophonist Cath Roberts, flautist Carla Rees and City visiting lecturer and pianist Aleksander Szram.

Gut Instinct

Gut Instinct

City's vibrant music research activities will be represented by online lecture recitals and presentations, and new music by postgraduate composers.

The work of City's Sound Studios, a centre of excellence and innovation in electronic and digital sound and music since the Department's foundation in 1975, will be represented by online concerts of fresh audio-visual work.

Shirley Smart

Shirley Smart

Leo Chadburn, the Department of Music’s Concert Programmer and Performance Officer, said: “Performance and the presentation of exceptionally creative new work has been a key part of the Department of Music's ethos and contribution to musical culture for decades.

“Our concert series has attracted acclaim, the attention of broadcasters such as BBC Radio 3, a host of international guest artistes and strong support from the musical community of London and further afield.

The need to pause our concert programming during the pandemic has produced a keenly felt sense of absence, so it is very exciting not just to be able to present concert events live from our beautiful Performance Space once again, but to be able to share them internationally as online events.”


More music events are being added to the listings in the forthcoming weeks. For full details of all upcoming concerts, click here.

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