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Holywell Music Room

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Holywell Street Oxford, OX1 3BN United Kingdom

In the summer of 1998, the Holywell Music Room celebrated its 250th anniversary. The oldest custom-built concert hall in Europe, it opened its doors to the public for the first time in 1748. Designed by Thomas Camplin, Vice-Principal of St. Edmund Hall, the building was probably the brainchild of William Hayes, then Professor of Music at the University. The project was funded by public subscription (established in 1742). The room continued as a concert venue throughout the eighteenth century and until 1836, from which time it was used for a number of other events, including auctions and exhibitions. By the 1870s, it was being used for weekly rehearsals by the Oxford Philharmonic Society and its future as a musical venue was further secured after 1910 when the Oxford University Musical Union obtained a lease on the building. The Holywell was restored and refitted in 1959-60 and since that time has been the location for many hundreds of recitals and concert series featuring prestigious visiting musicians as well as many local groups and student performers.

While Wadham College owns the Holywell Music Room, the use of this room is divided between the Faculty of Music and the College. The Faculty makes use of the room during University Term Time and Wadham during vacations, with each using its own discretion regarding policy and charges.

Upcoming Events

8 Oct

Bach Project: a beginning

Director of Performance Natalie Clein gathers expert friends, cellist David Watkin, harpsichordist Maggie Cole and violinist Kati Debretzni to begin exploring the music of JS Bach with a full day of events featuring talks, discussions, masterclasses and an evening concert in the perfectly suited settings of the Holywell Music Room. 11.00 – 12.00 pm Lecture recital by Kati Debretzni 1.00 – 2.30 pm Masterclass Maggie Cole, Kati Debretzni 2.30 –  4.00 pm David Watkin Cello masterclass 5.15 – 6.00 pm …

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13 Nov

European Connection

Newly-founded chamber ensemble Improviso present music from eighteenth century Europe, including works by J.S. Bach, Telemann, and Sammartini. Featuring instruments from the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments

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20 Nov

The Villiers Quartet

Purcell Fantasias Carl Nielsen At the bier of a Young Artist Robert Saxton Fantazia for String Quartet Sibelius Quartet in D minor Voces Intimae In their second year of the Radcliffe Chamber Music Residency at the University of Oxford, The Villiers Quartet present the first of their four concerts this year. The concert places the pure, clever structure of the Fantasias of Purcell alongside a modern-day equivalent – the Fantazia for String Quartet by Oxford composer Robert Saxton – a rich,…

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23 Nov

The Villiers Quartet Lunchtime Concert

Sibelius – Adagio and Fugue in D minor (12′) Kui Dong – “Spring” (6′) Tchaikovsky – Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11 (30′)   Music students! Please email events@music.ox.ac.uk to reserve your free ticket

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29 Nov

Bate Concert – Prince Regent’s Band


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1 Feb

The Villiers Quartet Lunchtime Concert

Finn Shields – Neuvoton (7′) Dmitri Shostakovich – Quartet no. 3 in F major, Op. 73 (32′)

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3 Feb

The Villiers Quartet

Schubert Quartettsatz Schoenberg Quartet no. 2 with soprano Julia Sitkovetsky Webern Langsamer Satz Brahms Quartet in C minor op. 51 no. 1 Music Students! Email events@music.ox.ac.uk to reserve your free ticket

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