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; The Dorking Halls was built to house the Festival and opened in 1931; 'Song for a Spring Festival', written by RVW to celebrate the Festival's 50th year, may only be performed at the Festival; RVW retired as Festival Conductor in 1953, but continued to conduct the St Matthew Passion until 1958; Whilst living in Dorking, RVW composed works including Serenade to Music, Symphonies 4 - 7 and The Pilgrim's Progress; RVW conducted the first combined choirs concert at the Festival on 10 May 1905; The first competition day at the Festival exclusively for children was held in 1921; In 1934 the BBC broadcast part of the Festival performance of Dream of Gerontius; The first Festival performance of the St Matthew Passion in 1931 had 800 singers;

Leith Hill Musical Festival
Bringing choirs together
for competitions and concerts in Dorking since 1905

Registered charity number 275176

Events and tickets


LHMF President John RutterThe Festival's President since 2007, when he succeeded Sir David Willcocks, is the world-renowned composer John Rutter.

John Rutter studied at Clare College, Cambridge, where he wrote his first published compositions and conducted his first recording. His compositional career has embraced both large and small-scale choral works, orchestral and many other works.

From 1975 to 1979 he was Director of Music at Clare College, whose choir he directed in a number of broadcasts and recordings. In 2006, John was awarded the CBE in recognition of his services to music.

Of his association with LHMF, John says "My association with the LHMF is a source of great pleasure and pride to me - especially when I recall the very distinguished series of past presidents of the Society. Leith Hill represents a living tradition of music-making which draws strength from its past achievements and always has its sights set on the future too. Choral singing has always been at the heart of our community life in Britain, and it is inspiring to see Leith Hill keeping it there."

John is also a member of the Festival's Music Committee.