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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

  Join Festival Conductor Jonathan Willcocks to explore on Zoom:

St Matthew Passion

     JS Bach

Register here

In a normal season, we would now be embarking on rehearsals for a performance by singers from the whole Leith Hill Musical Festival community of one of the great settings of the Passion story by J. S. Bach or Handel’s Messiah.
The ongoing pandemic has of course made this impossible, but instead on Friday March 5th our Festival Conductor Jonathan Willcocks will lead an inspiring ‘virtual’ session, exploring J. S. Bach’s monumental St. Matthew Passion.
Jonathan will talk about the background to the work and the musical environment in which Bach worked at that time in Leipzig, playing short recorded excerpts and with opportunities to join in with a bit of singing of some of the finest choruses.



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