More about our Schumann Street artists…

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Here at Spitalfields Music we can’t quite believe the festival is over! Every event was truly unique and Schumann Street was no exception. Thank you to everyone who came along – especially our Schumann Street Sunday audience who braved the snow to be with us!

“But nothing whatsoever is usual about Schumann Street, a song crawl of quirky brilliance rounding off this year’s Spitalfields music festival in east London.” ★★★★★ The Guardian

“Wow, this was truly something else…. every room presented something magically strange and unforgettable, illuminating the genius of Schumann and Heine.” ★★★★★ Daily Telegraph

We’ve listed below each artist and the song they performed. Let us know who your favourites were!

House 1

Sam Amidon | 3. Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne

Sam Amidon’s third album for Nonesuch, The Following Mountain, is ostensibly his first of self-penned songs. But in his decade-long career as a recording artist, the singer and multi-instrumentalist has always created work that is utterly original. Though he cultivates the appearance of a folk singer, Amidon operates more like a freewheeling jazz improviser. He uses traditional material as a point of departure for his own melodic explorations; he reassembles time-worn lyrics into evocative new cut-and-pasted texts.

Topi Lehtipuu | 2. Aus meinen Tränen sprießen

Topi Lehtipuu enjoys a reputation as one of Finland’s most highly individual artists. In addition to a career as a tenor of international renown, Topi is Director of the Helsinki. This wide-ranging and innovative multi-arts festival is the largest in Finland and is a major event in Finland’s cultural year. As a singer, Topi has appeared in concert halls and opera houses throughout the world and is renowned equally for repertoire ranging from early music to contemporary.

House 2

Rob Murray and Andrew West | 15. Aus alten Märchen winkt es

Robert Murray was a Jette Parker Young Artist and has sung for the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Opera North, Garsington Opera, Welsh National Opera, Norwegian Opera, Hamburg State Opera and Salzburg Festival. Recent highlights include a tour of Messiah with the Academy of Ancient Music, Haydn’s Creation with the Simon Bolivar Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel and with the LSO under Edward Gardner.

Andrew West works with many of today’s leading singers, including Mark Padmore, Roderick Williams and Robert Murray, whom he has accompanied for many years. They have performed at Aldeburgh Festival and Oxford Lieder Festival, as well as in France and Germany, and their recording of Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin was released last year on Stone Records. Andrew has been Artistic Director of the Nuremberg Chamber Music Festival since 2005.

Abimaro and Aart Strootman | 7. Ich grolle nicht

Abimaro is a singer song-writer from London. She released her debut solo EP Something Prettier Than Before in July, and saw the lead single Fever featured on Dazed’s playlist. Having previously lent her vocals to bands such as Zero 7, Cinematic Orchestra and The Free, Abimaro is also a music leader and works with organisations such as Spitalfields music, The Roundhouse & The Southbank Centre. She is inspired by life, faith and stories.

Pioneering guitarist Aart Strootman throws a solid knock on the door of the music business of our times. His intellect and frank, fresh view on musical genres and styles justify a most prominent position in the music scene. He studied in Tilburg with Hein Sanderink, obtaining his Bachelor’s in Music cum laude in 2008. He also holds Master’s degrees in Music, Music Theory and Musicology.

House 3

Sam Beste, Rahel Debebe-Desselegne and Alex Reeve of Hejira | 12. Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen

Sam Beste is a musician, composer and producer from London. His work as a pianist has taken him around the globe performing in some of the most prestigious venues and festivals with artists including Kano, Amy Winehouse and Matthew Herbert. Since 2010, Beste’s time has been devoted to his band Hejira, with whom he collectively composes, arranges, produces and performs. Beste has also been working in a production capacity with Tawiah on her debut album and recent EP.

With over 10 years of experience and many featured record releases, Rahel Debebe-Desselegne is a well-established artist. Having studied at the BRIT School and University of Westminster, she has since performed internationally in prestigious venues. Rahel spent her formative years writing and recording with UK producer Eric Lau and touring worldwide with composer and producer Nitin Sawhney. Rahel is currently collaborating with avant-garde electronic artist Matthew Herbert, and working on Hejira’s second album.

Alex Reeve is a guitarist, composer and producer. As a core member of the group Hejira he has released several critically acclaimed records, founded a label, and co-composed music for a broad range of projects including Nick Luscombe’s Musicity project and Notes to the New Government curated by Matthew Herbert. As a musician, Alex has contributed to many studio projects and performed all over the world with artists including Floating Points, Matthew Herbert, Mpho and Eric Lau.

Apollo 47 | 10. Hör’ ich das Liedchen klingen

Apollo 47 is a two-men German hip hop crew from Schöneberg, Berlin, consisting of “Rubywan Kenuby” and “Professor Nachtigall”. It was founded in 2016 as a part of the Berlin based “Vertrau dem Jibbit Kollektiv”, a group of Berlin hiphop, jazz, indie-rock and fashion artists. Currently Apollo 47 are working on their debut mixtape, which is to be published in early 2018.

House 4

Finnegan Downie-Dear and Benedict Nelson | 14. Allnächtlich im Traume


Finnegan is a young conductor and pianist from London who balances a growing international career with his role as music director of Shadwell Opera. He is increasingly recognised as an ardent proponent of music of the 20th and 21st centuries, and has a particular interest in working with singers in opera and in recital.

British baritone Benedict Nelson has established an international reputation through his intelligent musicality and elegant interpretations. Praised for his sensitivity and ease on stage, Nelson is equally at home on the recital and concert platform as he is on the operatic stage. During his time as one of the inaugural Harewood Artists at English National Opera, Nelson sang a number of leading roles including title role Billy Budd in a new production by David Alden.

Josephine Stephenson | 13. Ich hab’ im Traum geweinet

Josephine Stephenson is a Franco-British composer and performer based in London. Her music has been commissioned by the BBC and Radio France and performed in places such as the Royal Albert Hall, the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings, and LSO St Luke’s. She regularly collaborates with film and theatre makers and bands, and is one of the three artistic directors of the London-based concert series and record label Listenpony.

House 5

James Laing and Saied Silbak | 9. Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen

James Laing studied at Uppingham School and was a choral scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge. He furthered his studies at the Royal College of Music with Robin Blaze. He was selected by OPERA NOW as amongst ‘Who’s Hot’ for his performance as Nerone Agrippinaat the London Handel Festival. His broadcast work includes Sports Personality of the Year for BBC TV, In Tune for Radio 3 and Midweek for Radio 4.

Saied Silbak is a Palestinian Oud player and composer born in Shafaa`mr, a city located in the lower Galilee of occupied Palestine. His music has been performed around the world at festivals and concert series in Palestine, the UK, Belgium, France and Argentina. Silbak received a Master`s Degree in music from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He composes music for solo Oud as well as traditional Arabic and various contemporary ensembles.

Bryan Benner | 11. Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen

American born baritone Bryan Benner began pursuing a career in music at the age of 14 when he left home to study voice and guitar at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. Bryan’s studies in classical singing have brought him to Scotland, Italy and Austria while his love of folk music and street performing have brought him to Paris, Turkey and Japan. As an opera singer Bryan has sung all of the leading baritone roles in Mozart’s repertoire. Currently, Bryan is best known as the lead singer and guitarist of The Erlkings, a new Schubert ensemble.

House 6

Liam Byrne and Mara Carlyle | 16. Die alten, bösen Lieder

As a chamber musician, Liam has performed and recorded with many leading Early Music ensembles. For several years he was a member of the renowned viol consort Fretwork, with whom he toured internationally and played an active role in commissioning new works. Other chamber music activities include performances and recordings with the Dunedin Consort, Huelgas Ensemble, The Sixteen, Le Concert d’Astrée, i Fagiolini, Concerto Caledonia, and the viol consorts Phantasm and Concordia, among many others.

Mara Carlyle is one of the UK’s most original and exciting singer-songwriters to emerge in recent times. Her unique sound melds an eclectic range of musical influences that include choral music, folk, jazz, hip hop, electronica & R&B. Mara’s innovative approach to songwriting once saw her dubbed ‘’the Missy Elliot of the classical world” but aside from her own compositions, she is known for her inventive reworking of songs from every genre.

Anne Denholm and Héloïse Werner | 8. Und wüßten’s die Blumen, die kleinen

Anne Denholm is one of Britain’s leading young harpists, and is Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales. She received her Master’s from the Royal Academy of Music in London. Anne graduated with a Regency Award for notable achievement and as the first ever harpist to win the historic RAM Club Prize. She has won numerous prizes in local, national and international competitions. She is also a founding member of contemporary experimental quartet, The Hermes Experiment.

French-born soprano Héloïse Werner was one of the four shortlisted nominees in the Young Artist category of the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards 2017. Recently described by The Stage as “a rising figure on the contemporary music scene” and by The CUSP Magazine as “one of the most exciting young sopranos emerging in the industry”, Héloïse is soprano & co-director for award-winning contemporary quartet The Hermes Experiment. Héloïse is also a keen cellist, composer and improviser.

House 7

Shapla Salique | 1. Im wunderschönen Monat Mai

East London raised singer-song writer, Shapla Salique is known for her incredibly powerful voice and edgy acoustic Bengali folk music with jazz and funk influences. Shapla is one of Britain’s most successful British-Bangladeshi artists. Her soulful sound has captivated audiences worldwide, from London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and Houses of Parliament to Canada and Italy. Shapla’s dynamic spiritual melodies and soaring vocals are gaining her recognition on the world music scene.

Katherine Manley and James McVinnie | 4. Wenn ich in deine Augen seh

Soprano Katherine Manley studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama and the Benjamin Britten International Opera School at the Royal College of Music. In 2017 season Katherine features in Michel van der Aa’s latest one-woman-opera BlankOut, which she has performed at the Beijing Music Festival, and the contemporary music festival Musica Nova Helsinki, for Finnish National Opera. Other recent world premieres include the role of Wife in The Last Hotel by Donnacha Dennehy.

Organist James McVinnie’s boundless approach to music has led him to collaborations with some of the world’s leading composers, producers and performers. Nico Muhly, Tom Jenkinson/Squarepusher, artist Martin Creed, Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire, Shara Nova, David Lang and Bryce Dessner (amongst many others) have written works for him. James McVinnie was Assistant Organist of Westminster Abbey between 2008 and 2011, where he played for regular services and directed the Abbey’s world-famous choir.

House 8

Uri Caine and Phil Minton | 6. Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome

Born in Philadelphia, Uri Caine studied piano with Bernard Peiffer, and went on to study music composition at University Of Pennsylvania with George Rochberg and George Crumb. Since moving to New York in 1985 has recorded 30 albums as a leader. He has recorded projects with his ensemble performing arrangements of Verdi, Schumann and Bach. He was nominated for a Grammy for the OthelloSyndrome (Winter and Winter) 2009.

Phil Minton was born in Torquay in the south west of England. He played trumpet and sang with the Mike Westbrook Band in the early 60s, and then in dance and rock bands in Europe for the later part of the decade. For the last forty years, Phil has been working as an improvising singer in groups, orchestras and situations, around the world. Some composers have written pieces that especially employ his extended vocal techniques and improvisations.

Lisa Hannigan | 5. Ich will meine Seele tauchen

Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan’s critically acclaimed new album, At Swim, is available now through Play It Again Sam. Produced by Aaron Dessner her third, and arguably most bewitching record, follows the double-platinum, Choice Music Prize and Mercury-nominated debut Sea Sew, and 2011’s Passenger (which charted at number 1 in Ireland, and earned Lisa another Choice Music Prize nomination).