31 July 2012

The heart of London: celebrating art at the City of London Festival

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London may be known as a great financial centre, but it’s the arts that are at the heart of London life, says Robin Linnecar, one of the directors of the City of London Festival.

Through June and July the 50th City of London Festival showcased the incredible range of art that thrives in London, Britain and throughout the world. And with a programme including classical music in St Paul’s Cathedral, a French acapella group performing in the festival’s Euromix garden and school children’s paper flower show in Bow Church, the festival was truly a salute to all art forms.

The festival’s theme, Trading Places with the World, was articulated with a roster of artists from across the globe, demonstrating an “international Britain”, according to Robin. “[The festival] brings together artists from all over the world.”

But as well as featuring internationally acclaimed artists, the festival also works to encourage young artists. The City of London Festival “invites junior artists and celebrates them – and allows them to grow”, says Robin. “Sir Colin Davis, with the London Symphony Orchestra, and John Williams, one of the most famous classical guitarists now, were at our festival 50 years ago” and so the question for Robin is: “who are the artists we’re celebrating this year who will be around in 50 years?”

But what message does the City of London Festival send about modern day London? Robin says that the fundamental message is that London it is about more than just business. “Business functions when the arts are coalescing with it…the arts are a crucial part of culture and a crucial part of life, and so celebrating culture like this in the middle of a business centre is absolutely crucial.”

Watch British Future’s interview with one of the City of London Festival’s directors in full here:


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