What does CMF do?

CMF presents...

Events curated and promoted by City Music Foundation.

Despite the strictures imposed by the continuing pandemic at the start of 2021, both the CMF Team and Artists have been incredibly busy! We are so proud of the CMF family that we would love to share, or even re-share, with you some of the top highlights of this year, so come back each day in December to re-live some fantastic videos, reviews, articles, announcements and more as we count down to Christmas!

Christmas is a time of giving and your kind and generous donations complete the circle for us, making everything we do possible. Without you, CMF would not be able to offer the many educational and performing opportunities which make up the CMF Artist Programme – and our artists would not be able to give back to you, their audiences, through live performances, recordings and videos made with CMF, and beyond. 

Please complete the circle of giving and give CMF, the artists, and yourselves, a gift of music this Christmas. If you’d like to donate, please click the image below!

16th December

15th December

Today we look back at the special Beethoven 251 event held in July with a performance from Michael Foyle and Maksim Stsura celebrating Beethoven 250th birthday, 1 year late due to the pandemic disrupting original plans! The piano violin duo performed wonderfully – read a review from the day here!

14th December

Earlier this year we sadly lost CMF’s co-founder, Sir Roger Gifford. Tributes poured in from the CMF artists and others associated with him. Husband to Managing Director of CMF, Dr Clare Taylor, and a true inspiration to so many people, he will forever be remebered for the work he did in setting up City Music Foundation as part of his year as Lord Mayor of London in 2012 as well as his continuous contribution to the organisation. 

13th December

Part of being a CMF Artist means we help with all elements of our artists’ profile, where needed. This includes making sure their website is a strong asset to them. Some artists start on the programme with either a very basic website or nothing at all, so we fundraise to cover the cost of building or improving websites. One example from this year is saxophonist Richard Scholfield. Click here to have a proper look at his new website!

12th December

We’re highlighting another CMF artist release today – this time from A4 Brass Quartet. Their debut album ‘Mosaic’ was released on SOMM earlier this year. There were numerous fabulous reviews and we’d like to share Thoroughly Good’s blog here: 

11th December

Violinist Esther Abrami’s new single, an arrangement from Ravel ‘Pavane pour une infante défunte’, was released in April as part of her new debut album for Sony Music Masterworks (arranged by Ketan Bhatti). CMF Artist pianist Iyad Sughayer recorded with Esther together at the Stoller Hall in Manchester earlier this year – listen to the single below and watch the official music video!

10th December

In July, Mezzo-Soprano Rozanna Madylus performed at Buxton Opera Festival alongside John Tomlinson, who has been striding the world’s opera stages for several decades, notably in the role of Wotan in Wagner’s Ring, has long been contemplating the role of Shakespeare’s Lear and sees parallels between the two characters. They performed a new work by John Casken affords him the opportunity to incarnate the aging, delusional king in a musical setting that incorporates Shakespeare’s text in the form of speech, sprechstimme and singing. It is a role destined to crown Sir John’s glorious career. There was a wonderful review in Opera Review – see below to read the full write up!

9th December

We recently announced our new 2021 CMF Artists and in light of the announcement were invited on to BBC Radio 3 In Tune to chat all things CMF. Flautist Sirius Chau and pianist Victor Lim performed live and spoke about what they are looking forward to most in their upcoming years with CMF. You can listen to the interview again here: 

8th December

CMF Artist Toby Hughes’ (double bass) album Elegy was released on Champs Hills. Originally recorded in 2019, the release was delayed due to COVID, but finally came out earlier this year. The album features little-heard Adolf Misek, Reinhold Glière and Alfred Desenclos in a variety of musical forms, from arias to sonatas, from scherzos to tarantellas and received a stellar review in Gramophone in the summer! Click here to read the full review!

7th December

We actually are heading all the way back to 2019 when we first started our project with Owain Park when CMF commissioned a new four-song cycle ‘Battle Cry’ for CMF 2018 Artist mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston and Toby Carr on theorbo. After many COVID delays, we finally had the world premiere full performance in September 2021 at Barts Great Hall! Have a watch of the video from back in 2019 at Sound Unbound when Helen performed only the the first of the 4 songs…

6th December

The Echéa String Quartet have had another fantastic year and most recently are flying high after winning the Royal Over-Seas League String Ensemble Prize in October, earning them a £10,000 prize and yet more recognition for their work. The Echéa Quartet secured victory with a programme of Schubert and Brahms, as well as movements from Hungarian composer György Kurtág’s Officium Breve in memoriam Andreae Szervanszky.

Many congratulations from everyone at CMF

5th December
At the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, we created a new series – the CMF Artist Spotify Takeover! Every few weeks we gave one of the CMF Artists an opportunity to create their own playlist for the CMF Spotify account and also make a short video explaining their choices of tracks. We continued this into 2021 with some of the new artists and Yangqin player Reylon Yount shared his earlier this year. Have a watch of why he chose his tracks and you can listen to the playlist here: 

4th December
Back in May, the Patron of Barts Heritage, HRH The Prince of Wales, came to visit the North Wing at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. City Music Foundation Artists Michael Foyle and Alexander Soares performed for HRH in the Great Hall – see here the musicians with our Managing Director Dr Clare Taylor meeting the Prince…

3rd December
As we begun the year with the unexpected restrictions of audiences unable to be at concerts in person , our work had to pivot rapidly once again. One of the organisations who did this was Wiltshire Music Centre where we had a number of our artists perform with a live stream this year:
May – Reylon Yount (Yangqin)
May – Nishla Smith (Jazz Vocals)
June – George Fu (Piano)

We are also thrilled this partnership continued later into the year with Giacomo Susani (Guitar) performing recently in November and Siân Dicker taking to the stage on 15th December to round off the year – click here for tickets!

The partnership will also continue into 2022 with pianist Antoine Préat performing on 23rd March 2022 and Mezzo-Soprano Rozanna Madylus performing with pianist Rokas Valuntonis on 13th April 2022! 

2nd December
At the start of 2021, we began our a new series of lunchtime concerts at the stunning Barts Great Hall. Due to lockdowns we pivoted the beginning of the series with livestream concerts only, and audiences slowly joining from May. However, in April, we had cellist Margarita Balanas perform a specially commissioned arrangement of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104. Re-watch the concert below!

1st December
Let’s begin our advent countdown by taking it back to summer when the Eblana Trio received a fantastic 5* review in BBC Music Magazine for their debut album release ‘The King’s Alchemist’ with Willowhayne Records. Not only was it a 5* review, but also the magazine’s Chamber Choice of the month! Congratulations to the Eblanas!

CMF funded the recording of this album with support from Maria Bjornson Memorial Fund and Finzi Friends.

City Music Foundation is pleased to announce the eleven artists joining the
CMF Artist Programme as ‘2021 CMF Artists’

Connaught Brass, Ensemble Hesperi (baroque group), Harriet Burns (soprano), Helena Kay (saxophone), James Larter (percussion), Joy Lisney (cello), Laura Perešivana (soprano), Olivia Boen (soprano), Sirius Chau (flute), Victor Lim (piano), Yume Fujise (violin)

Chosen from a recording-breaking number of applicants, these eleven successful artists were selected to be part of the 9th consecutive intake joining CMF’s innovative two-year programme through a series of stages, culminating in a final live audition to our expert panels of judges. They chose this set of artists due to their outstanding talent, regardless of instrument or genre, all of whom would benefit hugely from the numerous valuable aspects of the CMF programme.

The judges included Sholto Kynoch, Howard Williams, Seb Scotney, Kit Downes, Leslie East, Mats Lidstrom, Louise Williams, Joan Rodgers, William Dazeley, Iain Burnside, Paul Edlin & William Fong.

CMF’s recent partnership with Barts Heritage allowed the live auditions to take place in the stunning Great Hall in the North Wing of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in September 2021.

Dr Clare Taylor, Managing Director of CMF said “As the music industry comes back to life after the pandemic, CMF received more applications than ever from exceptionally accomplished young professional performers. We are thrilled to be in a position to enrol more soloists and ensembles on the Artist Programme than ever. This is a time of unusual challenges, but also of great opportunities and we hugely look forward to helping the 2021 CMF Artists as they reconnect and establish their careers.”

Current and previous CMF artists include cellist Margarita Balanas, pianist Samson Tsoy, violin & piano duo Foyle-Stsura, Ligeti Quartet, mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean, jazz double-bassist Misha Mullov Abbado and accordionist Bartosz Glowacki. Please see below for more information on each of the 2021 CMF Artists, as well as the 2022 CMF Barts Heritage Lunchtime Concert Series.

Read the full press release here!

For tickets to the 2022 lunchtime concert series, featuring our new artists, click here!

City Music Foundation, a charity offering career development and management to emerging professional musicians (mostly classical, some jazz), is seeking a part time General Assistant to start immediately for a fixed term appointment in the first instance.

We are looking for someone educated to at least degree level with a real knowledge of and passion for classical music (and jazz, if possible), and an ability to research and write well about music, for instance for programme notes or CD liners. The post-holder will be involved in all aspects of the two-year CMF Artist Programme, supporting the Director, the Artist Manager and the Communications and Events Officer.

Excellent research and writing skills are essential, and accurate proofreading, as well as familiarity with Microsoft Word and Excel, and Canva if possible. Experience of posting on Word Press websites would be an advantage.  The appointee will need to be available to attend events which already have scheduled dates, including evenings. Communication is central to the role, face-to-face, by telephone and email, and the post-holder will need to be confident and effective in these skills. The work will be independent, but supervised by the CMF team. Accuracy and attention to detail is a key requirement.

We are looking for someone to start as soon as possible and to work 16 to 20 hours a week in the first instance. This is a fixed term post for three months and would suit someone pursuing a career in classical music.

To apply email Dr Clare Taylor at with a CV and covering letter.

Reports to: Dr Clare Taylor, City Music Foundation Managing Director

Assisting: Clare Taylor, Latana Phoung, Fleur Chaffé

Deadline: 5th May 2021

Working for Managing Director

  • Researching and writing programme notes and CD liners
  • Formatting programme layout (using Canva software if possible)
  • Writing some news items for newsletters and website
  • Proofreading
  • Sending emails and letter to lists of people – maybe for fundraising or other purposes
  • Contacting artists and fixing dates for workshops and mentoring
  • Taking minutes at Board meeting and writing first draft
  • Updating fundraising databases, mailing lists, gift aid lists etc
  • Updating Mailchimp mailing lists

Working with Communications and Events Officer

  • Adding news items to the website (WordPress)
  • Adding individual artist events to the website
  • Ongoing research into new/current listings locations
  • Adding listings to various platforms for upcoming events/concerts
  • Liaising with artists to keep biographies up to date
  • Proof reading
  • Social media support when necessary

Working with Artist Manager

  • Proof-reading biographies and saving the latest ones in the cloud.
  • Completing contracts with the information provided + saving them in the concerts folder when signed and completed
  • Issuing invoices
  • Gathering information from the artists: latest biography, sometimes pictures… 
  • Saving material onto the Cloud in the appropriate folders
  • Keeping track of the artists’ upcoming performances (creating a spreadsheet which could be used by all of us)
  • Reporting to team if our website is not up to date. 
  • Recordings: gathering material from the artists (chasing them up if needed)


  • Attending day time and evening CMF events as scheduled
  • Physical help with staging, lights, music stands, programmes, tickets, ushering etc
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Word, Excel, Canva.

Required skills and attributes

  • Confident and articulate telephone manner
  • Excellent researching ability
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Accurate proofreading
  • Smart ‘front of house’ manner

Contract overview:

  • Part Time
  • Fixed term 3 months initially
  • Remuneration : £21,000 per annum pro rata
  • Hours  – 16 or 20 hours per week,  plus additional hours for evening events

City Music Foundation is pleased to announce their successful application to the Government’s latest Culture Recovery Fund. This crucial grant will support CMF’s day-to-day costs for the next three months as we continue to support their artists at such a vital time with the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on their careers.

We’re delighted to announce that applications to become a 2021 CMF Artist are now open.

Now, calling for our 9th consecutive intake, we welcome applications from musicians early in their professional careers in classical, jazz, folk and world musicians, both soloist and ensembles, to join our innovative two-year programme.

Starting in autumn 2021, those selected for the scheme will enjoy:

  • Artistic and project management – across the UK and beyond
  • Performance opportunities at events and residencies curated and promoted by CMF
  • Mentoring and coaching from artistic, organisational skills, music industry
  • Career development workshops
  • Comissioning Promotional Tools – photos, websites, videos and CDs
  • Commissioning new music
  • Promotion in print, online and on air
  • Access to day-to-day support from the CMF Team

>>Apply Here<<

The deadline for applications is Friday 30th April 2021, 6pm.

At a time where the country is feeling deflated by the ongoing news, City Music Foundation presents the new 2020 CMF Artists (and some former artists) in a series of free monthly lunchtime recitals at Barts Great Hall throughout 2021, in partnership with Barts Heritage. These concerts are intended for an in-person audiences alongside live broadcast, but will at present just be streamed live – both across the world and directly to NHS patients and staff.

Despite government restrictions, we are still allowed to continue with the series, but without an in-person audience right now. You can still watch all the concerts from the comfort of your home as they will all be live streamed on the day. We hope to be allowed an in-person audience very soon again.

Each concert will be filmed by a professional team of sound and video engineers, and broadcast live to people at home as well as directly to the patients and staff at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. City Music Foundation hope to expand the reach as the series progresses. It is anticipated that after Easter 2021 it will be possible to welcome an in-person audience as well.

City Music Foundation and Barts Heritage are very excited to have formed a new partnership and there are many collaborations planned between now and the 900th anniversary of the foundation of Barts Hospital in 2023. CMF will bring exceptional, wide ranging music to the historic heart of St Bartholomew’s Hospital and help promote the health and wellbeing of the hospital community. The events aim to draw lovers of music and architecture, history and medicine, and all those seeking the companionship and solace of shared musical experience, to one of the most important and ancient institutions in the City of London

To watch the next upcoming concert, please head to the CMF Concerts page to reserve your place!

It’s certainly not news that 2020 has been an unusual year, however here at CMF we wanted to share, or even re-share, some of the top highlights of this year. Come back each day in December to re-live some fantastic videos, reviews, articles, announcements and more as we count down to Christmas!

24th December
We come to our final day of sharing highlights of 2020 – thank you for tuning in each day to see what we have shared, we appreciate it! How could we not end with one of the most impactful performances of the year….Friday 23rd October 2020 saw a performance of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time at the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral with 4 CMF Artists performing. There’s very few words needed to accompany how atmospheric and impactful that evening was, so without typing too much more, please watch again below…..

23rd December
Iona Fyfe has had a strong finish to 2020 – The Cultural Award celebrates those who dedicate themselves to promoting the heritage and culture of the north-east of Scotland. 2019 CMF Artist Iona has been keeping north east culture and music alive across the world with her passion for Doric songs and stories, and she primarily performs ballads and folk songs from across Aberdeenshire. And even more congratulations to Iona who on 24th October also won Scots Performer o the Year sponsored by Tracs in the Scots Language Awards 2020.

Iona said:
Am a Scots sangster fae Huntly, Aiberdeenshire. I hae grown up aneth the tradition, learnin tradition ballads fae sangsters an’ gan tae singaroons an’ folk clubs. A bide in Glesca noo an’ I graduated wi a first class honours degree in Traditional Music fae I Royal Conservatoire o Scotland. Wiv been a ower the kintra an farther oot, singin oor sangs, ballads and bothy ballads in Germany, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Poland an as hine oot as Australia an’ Canada. A’ve bin a National Director o’ the TMSA (Traditional Music and Song Association) fir a puckle o year an noo sit on the Scotland & NI Regional Committee o’ I Musicians Union. In 2020, av bin warkin wi Oor Vyce – the campaign fir a Scots Language Act an hae bin deein their social media an communications.

22nd December
Our final clock tower concert share of the round up was Alex Hitchcock and Tom Millar‘s jazz concert in the summer. This was so great to watch from home and we certainly felt like we wanted to get up and get involved! Have another watch here:

21st December
Chosen from over 140 applicants, ten successful artists were selected to be the 2020 CMF Artists, through a series of stages culminating in a final live audition to be part of the 8th consecutive intake joining CMF’s innovative two-year programme. The judges included Ian Ritchie (Chairman), Simon Haram, James Gilchrist, Tasmin Little, Julius Drake, Jeremy Summerly & Howard Williams. The live auditions were originally due to take place in June 2020, however due to COVID restrictions, the second round auditions were pushed back to September and took place over two days in the elegant surroundings of 22, Mansfield Street, famous for wonderful salon concerts, with plenty of space to comply with government Covid-19 guidance in place at the time.

Managing Director of CMF, Clare Taylor says:
‘We are thrilled to announce this exceptional group of emerging professional musicians to become 2020 CMF Artists. At a time that is so challenging for performers, we are pleased to be in a position to take more artists than in any previous year – a testament to the outstanding calibre of applicants, as well as the current need to help musicians perhaps more than ever before. We very much look forward to working with them and welcoming them to the CMF family’. Read more about the new intake on Classical Music Magazine online here.

20th December
CMF helps emerging artists in many areas of their career, including with their websites. Whether it’s advising on current websites or creating a whole new one, we feel that this is an incredibly important part of an artist’s profile. One of our 2019 CMF Artists that we commissioned a new website for was accordionist Mingyuan Ruan. Take a look at the full website here.

19th December
Isolation Songbook was a creative response to a time of chaos and change by Helen Charlston. She says ‘The Isolation Songbook began as a way for me to deal with the reality of lockdown – professionally and personally. It has been an extraordinary privilege to be invited into the composers and poets own experiences of this time through these songs, and I know that the Isolation Songbook will remain a positive creative history of this time of change.’ With over 15 over composers commissioned to create new music, Helen performed these premiere at the Clock Tower in summer of 2020. Due to the huge success, Helen has recorded the works and will release with Delphian in 2021 – watch this space!

18th December
We’re bringing you another Clock Tower concert today – this time harpist Gwenllian Llyr. This was an incredibly special performance with 2 world premieres – Sue Rothstein’s Ar Drywydd Glas y Dorlan and Gwenllian’s own composition ‘Ffantasi ar Calon Lan’. The concert was part of the annual Wallace Collection Residency, which was unable to happen in the gallery itself this year, due to COVID restrictions. The full programme from the week’s concerts can be found by *clicking here*

17th December
Back in early 2020, Classical Music Magazine published an interview with Toby Hughes. Having recorded his debut album with Champs Hills Records, which was due to come in 2020, but postponed due to COVID, Lucy Thraves of Classical Music Magazine talked to him about how his career as a solo double bass player is taking off! Read the full article here

16th December
We had many of the CMF Artists on BBC Radio 3, and pianist Rokas Valuntonis was one of the last artists to be able to get into the studio before lockdown – have another listen to his interview and performance on BBC Radio 3 In Tune from March 2020…

15th December
The team were incredibly proud of the Clock Tower Series that was launched in reaction to the lockdown back in Spring 2020 – today we want to share with you violist Rosalind Ventris‘ performance in the St Pancras Clock Tower Room – and Rosalind is currently fundraising for her solo album project – you can find out more by *CLICKING HERE*

14th December
Taking it back to the beginning of 2020, Soprano Anna Cavaliero appeared on BBC Radio 3 In Tune in January with Sholto Kynoch ahead of her performance at the Oxford Lieder Song at Wolfson recital…Have a listen to the full interview with Sean Rafferty below!

13th December
Music returned to the Barbican in early October with a series of concerts for a socially-distanced, reduced audience, simultaneously live-streamed ‘from our Hall to your home’. CMF Artists Mihai Ritiviou and the Gildas Quartet were invited to perform the first classical live event ahead of the new series which later features Sir Bryn Terfel, the Britten Sinfonia and CMF alumnus Nubya Garcia. The artists offered a wonderful programme including Bach’s Partita No1 BWV 825, Caroline Shaw’s Entr’acte and Schumann’s Piano Quintet Op. 44. It was a very special evening reminding us that nothing can replace a live performance with an audience. You can watch the concert again here:

12th December
Nora Braun (cello), Giacomo Susani (guitar) and Constantin Riccardi (conductor) perform Susani’s own work Nona Onda, a Serenade for Cello, Guitar and Orchestra. The piece, commissioned by the Agora Music Festival, should have been premiered in the Kulturzentrum Beim Nëssert, Bergem (Luxembourg) in April 2020 but was postponed due to COVID-19. The organisers and the musicians involved decided to make an online world premiere with everyone recording their parts from home. Nona Onda is a Serenade in two halves based on the Romantic concept of the Ninth Wave, dramatically depicted in Idylls of the King: The coming of Arthur by Alfred Tennyson. It’s a beautiful piece. Watch the video below, made by Giacomo himself….

11th December
Back in April 2020, there was the exciting news that 2019 CMF Artist and violinist Emily Sun was signed by Cinque Artist Management in Australia. CMF still help Emily with all her UK engagements, but this was a fantastic achievement for Emily and a great agency to support her. 

10th December
Lockdown was a big theme of 2020, but when pianist Iyad Sughayer was asked by the BBC to part of an exciting documentary during the 2020 COVID19 pandemic ‘Lockdown in London’, we asked him a few questions to share his experience….

9th December
The Ligeti Quartet have been at the forefront of modern and contemporary music since their formation in 2010. The 2016 CMF Artists released their debut album on Friday October 9th on Nonclassical. CMF supported this through commissioning one of the works, and funding the recording, editing and mixing. This album features two of four planned projects by UK composer Christian Mason, taking inspiration from the Tuvan vocal tradition of Khöömii (Tuvan Songbook) and the practice of the Tenores in Sardinia (Sardinian Songbook), both different forms of overtone (or throat) singing and capturing their sonorities for string quartet. The album also features ‘Sivunittinni’ by Inuit singer and composer Tanya Tagaq, originally composed for the Kronos Quartet’s ‘Fifty for the Future’ project. A fantastic article from Ivan Hewitt at The Telegraph was published about the album ahead of the release – read it here!

8th December
The first lockdown in the spring was a time that I think we’ll never forget. The CMF Artists were undoubtably hit hard, with many artists not knowing how to handle the situation and what to do next. CMF were there to help the artists in any way we could – including launching the Clock Tower Series to give the artists a chance to just perform again, if nothing else! Cellist Ariana Kashefi performed in one of the concerts and also recorded a short video sharing her thoughts about how she coped during lockdown:

7th December
The Hidden City by Emile Holba, commissioned by City of London Corporation for Culture Mile. CMF was one of twenty organisations selected to be portrayed in the Culture Mile’s Hidden City Project, alongside key Culture Mile partners Barbican, LSO, Museum of London, GSMD and the City of London Corporation itself. Culture Mile is the City of London’s vibrant cultural quarter stretching from Farringdon to Moorgate and including CMF’s home in Smithfield. Photographer Emile Holba was commissioned to make a photographic narrative to demonstrate the diverse creativity to be found here, which is planned for an outdoor exhibition. Due to lockdown, Culture Mile took this exhibition online in the spring to enable everyone to see all these stunning photos from your home.

6th December
At the beginning of lockdown in March, we launched a new series – the CMF Artist Spotify Takeover! Every few weeks we gave one of the CMF Artists an opportunity to create their own playlist for the CMF Spotify account and also make a short video explaining their choices of tracks. They all also included a few fellow CMF artist tracks which you’ll be able to spot on each playlist. We kicked off the series with pianist Mihai Ritiviou – have a watch of his video below and you can listen to his playlist here

5th December
Pianist Samson Tsoy has gone against the grain this year with this successes – he had another very successful Ragged Music Festival with his performing partner, Pavel Kolesnikov – read the full review here from David Nice at The Arts Desk. But he also signed with Management – Victoria Rowsell! Congratulations to Samson and we look forward to seeing your career progress to the next level again!

4th December
Back in October this year we announced a very exciting new partnership with Barts Heritage – CMF will bring exceptional, wide ranging music to the historic heart of St Bartholomew’s Hospital with regular, free performances in the Great Hall throughout 2021. This programme aims to draw lovers of music and architecture, of history and medicine, and all those seeking the companionship and solace of shared musical experience to one of the most important and ancient institutions in the City of London. Have a read of the full news announcement here!

3rd  December
2019 CMF Artist & pianist Iyad Sughayer released his album of Khachaturian late in 2019 with BIS Records. In February 2020, his album secured ‘Critic’s Choice’ with International Piano, chosen by Michael Church – read the review here!

2nd December
This year has brought devastation to the CMF Artists’ live performance careers and we quickly realised that the only option for our artists to perform live again would be via a live stream concert. The CMF team worked tirelessly to launch the Clock Tower Live Series in June this year where a total of 18 concerts were broadcast live from the grand St Pancras Clock Tower – let’s take a look back at the first concert of the series with Lotte Betts-Dean, Bartosz Glowacki & Andrey Lebedev.

1st December
Let’s begin our advent countdown by taking it back to January 2020 with Anna Cavaliero‘s performance at St Bartholomew the Less in the heart of the City. The concert was a programme of Monteverdi, Handel, Strozzi and Anna performed with William Cole. It was a lovely way to begin 2020 and the full review from Robert Hugill can be found here.

Anna Cavaliero & William Cole – Picture by Vivienne Monk

We’re delighted to announce that CMF is taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2020, a national matched funding campaign.


CMF is one of the charities that’s been selected to receive match funding from the Big Give, which means that donors have the rare opportunity to Double your Donation.

For one week only, from Tuesday 1st December to 8th December, any money donated to CMF via the Big Give will be doubled! £10 becomes £20, £25 becomes £50 etc., and that’s not including the gift aid.

If you’d like to donate, please hold fire until Tuesday 1st December, because the doubling only takes effect during the one-week Big Give window. For now, please send Clare Taylor an email – and we will make sure you receive the dedicated link on December 1st.

Click the tab at the bottom for further pages of the press release


By Alexander Soares – Pianist at St Paul’s Cathedral 23rd October 2020

This peculiarity mirrors the astonishing gestation of the work: Messiaen was summoned for military service at the start of World War II, captured in May 1940 and taken to the prisoner-of-war camp at Görlitz, with the first performance given in front of a large group of fellow prisoners and guards. The work demonstrates the composers uneasy reconciliation of his devout Catholicism with the horrors of the war. The unusual instrumentation – clarinet, violin, cello and piano – was necessitated by the players he had at his disposal at the camp, and the sequence of eight movements was inspired by the Biblical passage from Revelation: “There shall be time no longer; but on the day of the trumpet of the seventh angel, the mystery of God shall be finished.”

Rehearsing Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time is an immensely challenging process. I first learned and performed the work as a teenager at the RCM Junior Department: my first experience playing Messiaen. The learning process involved actively forcing yourself to reject the traditional norms of the core classical era, as well as assimilating a new rhythmic language. I was drawn to the complete directness of the emotional experience, but also the immense complexity of the score, and the economy of musical material. Listen out, for example in the second movement to the luminous kaleidoscope of cluster chords in the piano, and how the same passage is transformed in the seventh movement to a vertiginous, terrifying vortex.  There are a great deal of connections with some of the other works by Messiaen I have played – Des Canyons aux Étoiles, the Vingt Regards and Catalogue d’oiseaux – yet the quartet is in many ways more disjointed. Music of violence and bewildering ferocity is juxtaposed with radiant, harmonious and ecstatic music of the deepest calm. The eternal scope of the work often only reveals itself during performance; perhaps unsurprising given that the full ensemble plays together in only half of the movements.

Rather than a vision of the apocalypse, Messiaen’s instead portrays the end of time as we know it and the beginning of eternity. Linear time is subverted, through the use of palindromic rhythms, the addition or subtraction of small note values, and quoting birdsong. The latter would become an increasing preoccupation for the composer, and Messiaen associated the unencumbered existence of birds and their joyous song as a manifestation of the divine realm.

At the emotional core are the duo movements for strings and piano, both expansive, unfolding melodies in E major at an incredibly slow pace – infinitely slow – as Messiaen marks. In performance it requires a great deal of belief: to play so slowly feels unnatural, and there is a resistance in the performer and audience alike. The transformative power is unique – resistance yields to acceptance, and time is reborn and experienced anew, creating one of the enduring masterpieces of the twentieth century.

Excerpts from Messiaen’s introduction further illuminates the sequence of movements:

I. Liturgy of crystal. Between the morning hours of three and four, the awakening of the birds: a thrush or a nightingale soloist improvises, amid notes of shining sound and a halo of trills high in the trees.

II. Vocalise, for the angel who announces the end of Time. The first and third parts evoke the power of that mighty angel, his hair a rainbow and his clothing mist… Between these sections from the piano, soft cascades of blue-orange chords, encircling with their distant carillon the plainchant-like recitativo of the violin and cello.

III. Abyss of the birds. Clarinet solo. The abyss is Time, with its sadness and tedium. The birds are the opposite of Time; they are our desire for light, for stars, for rainbows and for jubilant outpourings of song!

IV. Interlude. A Scherzo.

V. Praise to the eternity of Jesus. A long phrase, infinitely slow, by the cello expatiates with love and reverence… the melody unfolds itself at a distance both intimate and awesome.

VI. Dance of fury, for the seven trumpets. The four instruments in unison give the effect of gongs and trumpets. Music of stone, formidable sonority; movement as irresistible as steel, as huge blocks of livid fury or ice-like frenzy.

VII. Cluster of rainbows, for the angel who announces the end of Time. In my musings, I hear and see ordered melodies and chords, familiar hues and forms; then submit ecstatically to a vortex, a dizzying interpenetration of superhuman sounds and colours. These fiery swords, these rivers of blue-orange lava, these sudden stars: Behold the cluster, behold the rainbow!

VIII. Praise to the immortality of Jesus. Expansive violin solo balancing the cello solo of the fifth movement. It is total love. Its slow rising to a supreme point is the ascension of man toward his God, of the Son of God toward his Father, of the mortal newly made divine toward paradise.


Alexander Soares (piano)

Solo piano works by Boulez, Dutilleux and Messiaen

Review from Gramophone Magazine – May 2019 – Editor’s Choice

‘Although most of these pieces have been collated on various anthologies of French piano music, few of them can match this new release in its balanced conception or consistency of execution…Soares has their measure in abundance, resulting in what could hardly be a more auspicious debut album.’

Available to purchase in St Paul’s Cathedral after the performance or from

Picture: Emile Holba

City Music Foundation announces a New Partnership with Barts Heritage

Barts Heritage is an organisation formed in 2019 for the preservation, restoration and maintenance of the unique and historic buildings at Barts Hospital. Its new CEO Will Palin started in November 2019 and is in overall charge of the project to repair and conserve the Great Hall, and the rest of the North Wing, in time for the 900th anniversary of the hospital’s foundation in 2023. Will was previously Director of Conservation at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, for five years where he was in charge of the award-winning £8.5m project to conserve The Painted Hall.

St. Bartholomew’s Hospital has led the provision of healthcare in London for almost 900 years. Founded in 1123 by the monk Rahere to give free medical care to the poor of the City of London, there is no other hospital in the country which can begin to match its record of continuous service on the same site.

Through this new collaboration CMF will bring exceptional, wide ranging music to the historic heart of St Bartholomew’s Hospital with regular, free performances in the Great Hall throughout 2021. This programme aims to draw lovers of music and architecture, of history and medicine, and all those seeking the companionship and solace of shared musical experience to one of the most important and ancient institutions in the City of London.

Dr Clare Taylor, managing director of City Music Foundation says:

“It’s hard to put into words exactly how much this collaboration means to me and to CMF. I trained as a doctor at Barts in the 1980s, living in Charterhouse Square, and I did my medical house job in Annie Zunz and Dalziel wards in the KGV wing. Always a dedicated musician in my spare time, I continued to sing, including in the choir at Barts the Great, for many years. In 2012 I ceased medical work to support my husband in his City role, and soon after began a second career running CMF. The role of music in health and well-being is well established.  This is a unique opportunity to bring CMF musicians to experience this and share their music with the Barts community as it approaches its 900 year anniversary, and to support Barts Heritage as they preserve and promote these magnificent buildings.”

Will Palin, CEO of Barts Heritage says:

“We are thrilled to be working with the City Music Foundation to bring the very best of live music to the heart of this beautiful site. We look forward to hosting monthly free concerts in the Great Hall throughout 2021 and to working with the Foundation on pioneering projects exploring the ways in which music can foster wellbeing for staff, patients and other visitors to the Hospital – ahead of our major restoration project.”

 To find out more about Barts Heritage click here

In spring 2020 in reaction to the lockdown, City Music Foundation announced a brand new series of live concerts broadcast from the St Pancras Clock Tower every Wednesday at 6pm which started on 17th June. Find the full list of concerts on the CMF Presents page here. These concerts are of very high quality, both the visuals and sound, and had a professional team behind the cameras on the days of the performances, all whilst adhering to the social distancing rules in place – there was no audience present at the recitals.

Providing an experience for both audience and performers, which everyone had so desperately missed since March, the events were streamed live on YouTube, enabling audiences to see and hear the performances in real time via any suitable device including a smart TV – preferably one with good speakers! The recitals were every Wednesdays at 6pm streamed from St Pancras Clock Tower – a unique venue we are extremely grateful to have been able to use.

It is crucial for audiences to support live music as much as possible at the moment so we asked audiences to donate online each week in for the live streamed concert. For more information, please read our press release here

Full series:

Wednesday 17th June, 6pm
Lotte Betts-Dean (Mezzo-Soprano), Andrey Lebedev (Guitar), Bartosz Glowacki (Accordion)
Click for programmeClick for translations

Wednesday 24th June, 6pm
Mihai Ritivoiu (Piano)
Click for programme

Wednesday 1st July, 6pm
Ariana Kashefi (Cello) – special guest Andrey Lebedev (Guitar)
Click for programme

Wednesday 8th July, 6pm
Emily Sun (Violin) & Samson Tsoy (Piano)
Click for programme

Wednesday 15th July, 6pm
Alex Hitchcock (Saxophone) & Tom Millar (Jazz Piano)
Click for programme

Monday 20th July, 1pm
Wallace Collection Residency Special
Anna Cavaliero (Soprano) with Natalie Burch (piano)
Click for programme

Tuesday 21st July, 1pm
Wallace Collection Residency Special
Rosalind Ventris (Viola) with Joseph Fort (piano)
Click for programme

Wednesday 22nd July, 1pm
Wallace Collection Residency Special
Iyad Sughayer (piano)
Click for programme

Thursday 23rd July, 1pm
Wallace Collection Residency Special
Gwenllian Llŷr (harp)
Click for programme

Friday 24th July, 1pm
Wallace Collection Residency Special
Echéa Quartet
Click for programme

Wednesday 29th July, 6pm
‘Isolation Songbook’ with Helen Charlston (Mezzo-Soprano), Michael Craddock (Baritone) & Alexander Soares (Piano)
Click for programme

Wednesday 5th August, 6pm
Foyle-Stsura Duo (Violin & Piano)
Click for programme

Wednesday 12th August, 6pm
Rokas Valuntonis (Piano)
Click for programme

Commissioned by the City of London Corporation for Culture Mile 

CMF was one of twenty organisations selected to be portrayed in the Culture Mile’s Hidden City Project, alongside key Culture Mile partners Barbican, LSO, Museum of London, GSMD and the City of London Corporation itself. Culture Mile is the City of London’s vibrant cultural quarter stretching from Farringdon to Moorgate and including CMF’s home in Smithfield. Photographer Emile Holba was commissioned to make a photographic narrative to demonstrate the diverse creativity to be found here, which is planned for an outdoor exhibition. Culture Mile have currently taken this exhibition online and now you can see all these stunning photos from your home here.

This week Culture Mile are highlighting CMF to widen understanding of what we do as an organisation. It features Clare and Latana surrounded by the musical instruments of our artists’ trade, and in the magnificent Great Hall at St Bartholomew’s Hospital – a great example of the City’s heritage and one with which CMF works closely. Find out more about the Great Hall at Barts Heritage.

2020 is looking to be a busy year for double bassist and CMF artist Toby Hughes…

Having recently recorded his debut album with Champs Hills Records, which is due to come out later this year, and an imminent solo recital performance on Thursday 16th January at St John’s Smith Square, Lucy Thraves of Classical Music Magazine talks to him about how his career as a solo double bass player is taking off! Read the full article here:


Toby is performing with Daniel King-Smith at St. John’s Smith Square as part of their lunchtime concert series on Thursday 16th January. You can purchase tickets here:

And you can see a preview of one of the pieces he will be performing here:

Lotte Betts-Dean


Mihai Ritivoiu


Rokas Valuntonis


View all artists

CMF Black Book 2019-2021

Click to browse.

We support professional musicians to help them build sustainable careers.

Support us



For all the latest CMF news and events.