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London International Festival of Early Music

The London International Festival of Early Music is one of the largest and most inclusive early music festivals in the world. The festival began in 1973 and was first hosted at the Royal College of Music.

When

📅Wed, 13 November 2024Sat, 16 November 2024

About

The London International Festival of Early Music is one of the largest and most inclusive early music festivals in the world. The festival began in 1973 and was first hosted at the Royal College of Music. The event moved to the Royal Horticultural Halls, and Greenwich, before finally finding its home at Blackheath Halls, in London’s oldest surviving purpose-built cultural venue. 

The festival attracts a network of vibrant artists, early music enthusiasts and supporters. At the heart of LIFEM is our world-famous early music exhibition. More than 70 exhibitors come from all around the globe to exhibit; makers, publishers and early music societies gather for the three-day event. It’s a hub of early-music activity with makers, professionals, amateurs and early-music lovers being able to share their knowledge and learn the newest and most exciting developments in the early music world.

In addition to the exhibition, LIFEM welcomes international, world-class artists to perform at the festival each year. Recent artists and ensembles have included Solomon’s Knot, Fretwork, Mahan Esfahani, L’Arpeggiata and Michaela Petri to name but a few. Since 2020 LIFEM has been championing new works for early music instruments, and commissions a new piece each year for a world premiere performance at the festival. In 2020 the acclaimed viol consort Fretwork performed The Tudor Pull by John Paul Jones and in 2021 the enigmatic duo, viol player Liam Byrne and lutenist Jonas Nordberg, performed Angel Waters by Errollyn Wallen.

LIFEM wouldn’t be complete as a festival without its programme of performance platforms, makers’ demonstration recitals, workshops, talks and our new initiative since 2021, Festival evensong.

LIFEM also hosts two biennial competitions running in alternate years; our very own Early Music Young Ensemble Competition and the Moeck/Society of Recorder Players’ Solo Recorder Competition. The winner of each competition wins a cash prize and is invited back to perform at the following year’s LIFEM.

The biggest and most important development in LIFEM’s most recent history is its charitable status. LIFEM became a charity in July 2020 and welcomed Susannah Simons, Tony Millyard, Carolin Barnfield and Chris Butler as its inaugural trustees. LIFEM’s charity mission is to advance the education and appreciation of early music through its annual festival and other outreach projects and events. LIFEM is busy looking to the future and is currently planning new initiatives including education and community projects. 

FILMED CONCERTS FROM THE 2023 FESTIVAL AVAILABLE TO WATCH NOW:

Past events

Location

Blackheath, London

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