Guildhall Announces New Festival of Classical Improvisation

Cellist Chris Suckling who will perform on 3 May.

Guildhall Announces New Festival of Classical Improvisation

Three-day event will celebrate the revival of the practice in classical music.

Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London has announced a new Festival of Classical Improvisation celebrating the revival of improvisation in classical music performance.

The festival, which take place on 1–3 May, will encompass performances, lectures, workshops, masterclasses and audience conversations featuring Guildhall and Imperial College staff, students, researchers and guest artists.

The event begins at 11am on 1 May with an Advanced Masterclass in classical improvisation with pianists Bert Mooiman, Karst De Jong and David Dolan. A lunchtime concert at 1.30pm with the three artists, plus Philippa Davies (flute), Marie Vassiliou (soprano), Adrian Brendel (cello) and John Kenny (trombone, recorders), will provide an opportunity to witness ‘an improvisatory jam session’. The opening day will also feature a ‘First Taster Masterclass’.

On 2 May, Professors Kenneth Rea and David Dolan, with musicians and actors from Guildhall, will explore the role of improvisation in drama and music. That evening in Milton Court Concert Hall there will be a performance by the Keys, Bone & Bellows ensemble exploring a variety of musical styles.

Friday 3 May features Chris Suckling (cello) and Oliver Webber (violin) with improvisations on the music of Corelli. The festival-closing concert, ‘Beyond Keller’, inspired by Hans Keller’s Functional Analysis – a wordless, hands-on approach to musical analysis, will include violinists Sophie Prodanova and Sam Staples, the Portorius String Quartet and professor David Dolan exploring Bach’s Partita in D minor for solo violin.

The festival is presented by the Centre for Creative Performance and Classical Improvisation at Guildhall.

All events are free and unticketed except the Keys Bone & Bellows concert (tickets: £15/£10).

For further details, visit

Published on 1 April 2019

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