London Handel Festival
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, 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 members of 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-five years. The Society also encourages young singers and musicians of outstanding promise by giving them performance opportunities early in their careers.