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Greenwich Music & Architecture Week

Feature by James Haddrell

SINCE the 1600s Greenwich has been associated with some of the world’s finest architecture.

In the space of a single square mile some of the greatest examples of the work of Sir Christopher Wren, Inigo Jones, Nicholas Hawksmoore and Joseph Kay jostle for space.

It was no surprise, therefore, that in 1997 UNESCO designated the area as a World Heritage Site, acknowledging its significance alongside the likes of Florence, Venice, Versailles and the Taj Mahal.

Five years ago, when Trinity College of Music made its much publicised move to new premises in Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College, world class music was added to the area’s attractions.

Now, for the first time, the two art-forms are to be celebrated together in the World Heritage Site’s first ever Music & Architecture Week, an ambitious seven day programme of free lectures and musical events taking place in some of the area’s most impressive buildings.

Festival co-ordinator Helen McIntosh said: “There is nothing new about seeing music and architecture as kindred art-forms. During the intellectual explosion of the Renaissance musical rhythms regularly found their way into building design and the mathematical principles of architecture were understood and drawn upon by composers.

“All of this influenced the likes of Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren in their designs here. With the architectural credentials of Greenwich now complemented by the musical excellence of Trinity College of Music, there couldn’t be a better place to remember and celebrate that connection.”

Music & Architecture Week also provides the perfect link between two additional events coming to Greenwich in September.

The new week-long festival launches during London Open House Weekend, a time when the capital’s residents are given unprecedented access to the buildings of the city, and comes to an end as the Riverfront Jazz festival enters its 21st annual programme.

The musicians featured in Music & Architecture Week all appear courtesy of Trinity College of Music, with styles ranging from early music to modern jazz.

The architectural input comes from the University of Greenwich, which this year celebrates 20 years as host of the Brooking Collection of Architectural Detail.

Charles Brooking, the collection’s founder, will be appearing as guest speaker, while the University’s Dr Alan Powers will present an open lecture entitled Architecture and the Mozart Effect.

Thanks to sponsorship from Cathedral Group all events in Music & Architecture Week are free. As a result, events at some of the smaller venues are expected to play to capacity, and audience members are advised to arrive in good time in order to guarantee a place.

b>View the week’s timetable