Mica Levi/nonclassical at Spitalfields Music Festival

The East London festival, which runs from 10th – 25th June, promises some pretty interesting things. The core programme of big-name ensembles, performing in Shoreditch Church and Christ Church, Spitalfields, boasts a healthy proportion of contemporary music, but on top of this – and several community projects – the festival have invited Mica Levi and nonclassical to co-curate. Levi’s three events promise to be particularly unusual events, involving site-specific performances, ‘secret’ locations, and a mixture of genres. A little more info, from the website:

“Sunday 12th June, 12pm – Mica Levi: Market Spits 1970s 

Bishops Square, Spitalfields – FREE

A music market like no other as Associate Artist Mica Levi takes us back to the 1970s. Featuring a performance of Berio’s Cries of London, Spitalfields Market turns itself over to music for the day. Live music will be provided by a host of DJs including Cakes & MicachuKwesCadence Weapon and a special surprise guest. They’ll be playing everything from experimental classical to funk to punk to early hiphop, all from the decade that bought us platform shoes, The Godfather and the floppy disk.”


Tuesday 14th June, 7pm – Mica Levi: Undiscovered Spitalfields

Secret Locations – £20

Mica Levi has curated a programme of music that explores the Song of the Bell, in all its shapes and forms, to be experienced in some of Spitalfields’ hidden historic gems. With performances from Gamelan Lila Cita and Sankorfa Ensemble; new commissions for hand bells by Edmund FinnisGameshow Outpatient and Shiva FesharekiJonathan Harvey’s resounding Mortuos Plango, Vivos Vovo and more.


Thursday 23rd June, 8pm – Mica Levi: A Quotidian Secret

Secret Location – £10

It’s a secret, but we will say that this evening is based in an everyday setting with the aim of being anything but an everyday experience. Tonight’s intimate programme explores the work of a UK composer whose music is described as minimal, absurd, selfmocking and typically British! In the most (and least) unusual of settings, there will be performances from cellist Oliver Coates and inter-disciplinary artist Mikhail Karikis. Everything else remains undisclosed until the night.

This event takes place in a secret location which will only be disclosed after a series of clues have been revealed.”

Intriguing, no? Nonclassical have also been asked to programme a series of FREE lunchtime concerts in Bishops Square, on weekdays between the 13th and 24th June, which should showcase such nonclassical-signed acts as Consortium5, the Mercury Quartet and Juice Vocal Ensemble, as well as the usual DJ stuff.

The festival is also making use of the multi-arts space Village Underground, which – amongst other things – will be hosting one of the OAE’s Night Shifts (Friday 24th, £8/£4 students). I think it’s good that they’re begin to move this supposedly ‘rule-free’ classical night away from actual concert halls. (Village Underground is also set to become the new home for Blank Canvas, the alternative classical night previously resident at Kings Place. It could become an important locus for this kinda thing.)

The festival flyer features a rather embarrassing image of a guy in white tie standing in front of a dirty, graffiti-covered wall. ‘Mr Classical’ comes to the East End! Hmm. But that aside, they look to be attempting good things AND if you live in Tower Hamlets you can apply for free tickets. Though I’m not sure Mr White Tie and his flyer will necessarily help persuade anyone.

GO GO GO to the Festival website and book tickets

and website for nonclassical is here *%&* <—–

P.S. in other nonclassical news, the 4th May gig is their BATTLE OF THE BANDS. Anyone can enter (before 29th April), choose any instrument combination, any repertoire. Special guest judges. How’s that for appropriating a pop music institution into contemporary classical culture, eh?

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