Spitalfields Music Festival

The Spitalfields Music Festival catalogues represent an 11year collaboration (1996-2006 inclusive) between photography students from The Sir John Cass School of Art (The Cass) under the guidance of the former head of photography Mick Williamson, graphic designer Tamasin Cole, and the Spitalfields Music Festival itself. Each year photography students would respond to a brief from the designer to produce photographs for the catalogue and Tamasin would then work her magic with images and text for the catalogues. The students also made work for a small annual exhibition, which took place in The Festival venue, Christ Church Spitalfields. A selection of this work is viewable here on the website catalogue pages.

The Collaborators:

Mick Williamson is the former Head of Photography at The Cass, where he worked for 46 years. Throughout his time there, Mick always encouraged connections with local and national groups and businesses in order to offer the students valuable opportunities to participate in professional practice with public outcomes. The students benefitted greatly from the experience of working with genuine clients, and seeing their work published and on public display.

Judith Serota, the former Spitalfields Music Festival Manager, said of designer Tamasin Cole, “I was looking for a graphic designer with musical knowledge, to work on the Spitalfields festival programme book, an A4 volume of some 100 pages. Tamasin was the perfect choice. I didn't have to explain that page turns had to be placed with particular care, or that movements and composers dates needed to be clear. Tamasin was a brilliant designer.” 

The Spitalfields Music Festival was founded in 1976 after a concert to help save Hawksmoor’s Christ Church, Spitalfields from demolition. This led to the first Summer Festival in 1977 with a focus on early and contemporary programming, as the Church and acoustics were very well suited to Baroque music. The Festival continued to grow and the schools and learning programme was started in 1989. In 1996 the first Winter Festival was added to the schedule, which now takes place annually in December. Today, The Festival has expanded to include work with many different community groups. It now encompasses a range of unusual venues across east London, all of which are involved in programming early and new music from culturally diverse communities.

Christ Church Spitalfields
Christ Church is situated off Commercial Street, London E1 in the borough of Tower hamlets. The Church was built between 1714 and 1729 to a design by Nicholas Hawksmoor but it has been subject to substantial alterations and renovation over the years. In 1836 there was a fire and 1850 the church was severely altered by the architect Ewan Christian. By 1960 the Church was derelict and threatened with demolition but thanks to The Hawksmoor Committee who funded the re-building of the roof and the Friends of Christ Church Spitalfields, an independent charity which formed in 1976, it was partially restored and holding services again by 1987. The restoration of this Grade 1 building, including the interior, was finally completed by 2004. Using original documents where possible and with in-depth research to identify the nineteenth and twentieth century alterations, Christ Church Spitalfields was restored once more to its original condition. The Church’s historic and nationally important organ with its magnificent walnut case and over two thousand pipes, built by Richard Bridge and inaugurated in 1735, was also restored to working condition and reinstalled in 2014.

Summer 1998
Summer 1999
Summer 2000
Winter 2000
Summer 2001 Winter 2001 Summer 2002 Winter 2002
Summer 2003 Winter 2003 Summer 2004 Winter 2004
Summer 2005 Winter 2005 Summer 2006 Winter 2006

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