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Denys Darlow
MUSICAL DIRECTOR Laurence Cummings
Ann Allen

Dame Emma Kirkby
Ian Partridge CBE

Mr Stephen Cooke Chairman
Mr Michael Normington
Mr John Chown
Mr Nigel Fletcher
Mr Richard Hopkin
Ms Judith Ingham
Mr Simon Jennings
Dr Alan King
Mr Richard Moyse
Mr Leslie Porter


Founded by Denys Darlow in 1978 the London Handel Festival has contributed to a Handel revival in the UK, specialising in the performance of lesser-known works of the period. In 1981 the London Handel Orchestra and London Handel Singers made their debut at the Festival. Laurence Cummings took over as Musical Director from Denys Darlow in 2002. 

The London Handel Orchestra, which is made up of some of London's finest professional baroque players, and led by Adrian Butterfield, now has an excellent reputation for historically informed performance. The Orchestra performs throughout the Festival at venues including Handel's church, St George's, Hanover Square, the Royal College of Music, the Foundling Museum, Handel House and the Royal Academy of Music. The Orchestra also gives concerts at venues both in the UK and Europe outside the Festival period and has performed in Gloucester Cathedral during the Three Choirs Festival, the Chelsea Festival, the Windsor Festival, the Oslo International Church Music Festival, with the Royal Choral Society and for the opening of the Queen's Jubilee in St George's Chapel, Windsor. 

In 1999 the principals of the Orchestra formed the London Handel Players to explore the great wealth of chamber music repertoire composed by Handel and his contemporaries. They performed at the Celebration Concert for the opening of Handel House Museum and at Southside House for the Jubilee String of Pearls celebratory events. 

The annual Handel Singing Competition was inaugurated in 2002 to give young singers the opportunity to concentrate on the wealth of Handel repertoire. They are accompanied in the Final by the London Handel Orchestra. 

The London Handel Society was established to promote the music of Handel and his contemporaries and in particular their little heard works, many of which have been brought to a wider public in the last thirty-six years. The Society also encourages young singers and musicians of outstanding promise by giving them performance opportunities early in their careers.     

Laurence Cummings is one of Britain's most exciting and versatile exponents of historical performance both as a conductor and a harpsichord player. He was an organ scholar at Christ Church Oxford where he graduated with first class honours. Until 2012 he was Head of Historical Performance at the Royal Academy of Music which led to both baroque and classical orchestras forming part of the established curriculum. He is now the William Crotch Professor of Historical Performance. He is a trustee of Handel House London and was also Musical Director of the Tilford Bach Society. Since 1999 he has been Artistic Director of the London Handel Festival where performances have included productions of Deborah, Athalia, Esther, Agrippina, Sosame, Alexander Balus, Hercules, Samson, Ezio, Riccardo Primo and Tolomeo. In 2012 he became Artistic Director of the Internationale Händel-Festspiele Göttingen. He is also a regular guest at Casa da Música in Porto where he is Music Director of the Orquestra Barroca Casa da Música.

Other opera productions he has conducted include Radamisto, L’incoronazione di Poppea, Semele, Messiah and Orfeo for English National Opera, Giulio Cesare and The Fairy Queen for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Giulio Cesare and Alcina at Gothenburg Opera, SALE for Opernhaus Zürich, Messiah at the Opéra de Lyon, Vivaldi’s L’incoronazione di Dario, L’Olympiade and La Verita in Cimento for Garsington Opera, Ariodante and Tolomeo for English Touring Opera, Rodelinda for Opera Theatre Company in the UK, Ireland and New York, Alceste at the Linbury Theatre, Covent Garden as part of the London Bach Festival, Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo, Eccles' The Judgement of Paris and King Arthur in Croatia, Francisco António de Almeida’s La Spinalba and La Guiditta in Porto, L’incoronazione di Poppea and Dardanus at the Royal Academy of Music. He made his US debut conducting Orfeo with the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston.

He regularly conducts The English Concert and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, both in the UK and on tour.

He also works with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra at The Bridgewater Hall, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia and Royal Academy of Music Baroque Orchestra.

His numerous recordings include the first recording of Handel’s newly discovered Gloria with Emma Kirkby and the Royal Academy of Music on BIS and recital discs of solo harpsichord music (including music by Louis and François Couperin) for Naxos. A solo disc of Handel arias with Angelika Kirchschlager and the Basel Chamber Orchestra on Sony BMG was followed up by a recording of duets with Lawrence Zazzo and Nuria Rial, also with the Basel Chamber Orchestra, on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi. He conducts The English Concert and recorder player Maurice Steger in a disc of Corelli concertos for Harmonia Mundi.

Current engagements include conducting Gluck’s Orpheus & Eurydike for Gothenburg Opera, a revival of SALE for Opernhaus Zürich, together with commitments at the London and Göttingen Handel Festivals, collaborations with the London Handel Players, the Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra and further engagements at Casa da Música in Porto, Opera North and English National Opera.


Adrian is a violinist, director and conductor who specialises in performing music from 1600-1900 on period instruments. He is Musical Director of the Tilford Bach Society and Associate Director of the London Handel Festival and regularly directs the London Handel Orchestra and Players as well as working as a guest soloist and director in Europe and North America.

The London Handel Players perform regularly at Wigmore Hall and throughout Europe and North America and their Handel recordings have received glowing reviews. The Revolutionary Drawing Room specialises in classical and romantic music on period instruments and has also performed in North America and Europe. Recent CD releases include Mozart's Clarinet Quintet with Colin Lawson on Clarinet Classics and Geminiani's Op.1 sonatas (SOMM) in 2012 and his world premier complete recording of Leclair's Book 2 sonatas was released in the summer of 2013 on Naxos.

He works annually with the Southbank Sinfonia, is Professor of Baroque Violin at the Royal College of Music in London, gives masterclasses in Europe and North America and teaches on the Aestas Musica Baroque Course in Croatia.

Recent highlights have included conducting the LHO in Bach's St. John Passion and Magnificat at Tilford and Handel's La Resurrezione at Wigmore Hall, directing the London Mozart Players in Bach and Mendelssohn and appearing on Croatian Television with LHP, as well as appearances at the Newbury and Regensburg Festivals and a special collaboration between LHP and the Scottish fiddler, Alasdair Fraser, at the opening of the Spitalfields Winter Festival.

Plans for the 13/14 season include an LHP Canadian tour and further appearances at the Wigmore Hall and the Goettingen Handel Festival, conducting Israel in Egypt with the LHO, performing and recording Vivaldi's Four Seasons with Luc Beausejour in Montreal and also working there with the McGill University Baroque Orchestra as well as performances of the Spohr Octet and an RDR quartet recording in January 2014. 2014 will also see him marking Leclair's anniversary with a number of recitals and concerto appearances and in November LHP will be making their debut at Carnegie Hall.

"Technically and musically, Butterfield is a marvel." Julie Anne Sadie, Gramophone Magazine, Leclair Book 2, Sept 2013 

SAMIR SAVANT Festival Director

Samir recently joined as Festival Director, taking over from Catherine Hodgson.  He has over 15 years' experience as a senior manager in the arts, specialising in fundraising and marketing, and has held roles at English National Opera, Handel House and the Royal Academy of Arts.  Most recently he was Director of Development at Shakespeare's Globe and the Royal College of Music.

He is a professionally trained tenor and sings regularly with Pegasus, the chamber choir he co-founded, with whom he has performed across London and the South East, including several times at the London Handel Festival.

He is an active member of the Institute of Fundraising's Cultural Sector Network's and chaired their national conference in 2014 and 2016.  He is also a trustee of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance. 

London Handel Festival

London Handel Society
PO Box 79,
TA19 9WP


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