The Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music returns to London in May, celebrating the festival’s thirtieth anniversary. As well as recognising their own landmark anniversary, the 2014 festival programme is celebrating a trio of significant three-hundredth anniversaries under the title ‘The Year 1714’: the birth of C. P. E. Bach; the first corner stone being laid of the festival’s venue, St John’s Smith Square; and the coronation of George I, marking the Hanoverian ascent to the British throne.

The royal focus means that the work of G. F. Handel features prominently in the programme: The Sixteen will open the festival on 16 May with a performance of four coronation anthems written for George II; St James’s Baroque will perform Dettingen Te Deum and Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne at Westminster Abbey on 22 May; and Laurence Cummings will close the festival on 24 May, directing the NDR Choir (Hamburg) and the Orchestra of the Göttingen Handel Festival in a performance of the 1748 oratorio Joshua.

C. P. E Bach’s three-hundredth birthday is to be celebrated by Carole Cerasi on 24 May with a recital of Bach’s works for harpsichord and fortepiano at St Peter’s Eaton Square. Harpsichordists Pierre Hantaï, Aapo Häkkinen and the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra will also mark the anniversary of his birth with a performance of one of his concertos on 21 May.

Other highlights are set to include Rachel Podger directing Polish period instrument orchestra Arte dei Suonatori, The Hilliard Ensemble’s late-night performance of J. S. Bach’s Morimur, and performances from L’Avventura London, Vox Luminis, QuintEssential Sackbut and Cornett Ensemble and La Risonanza.

Other events taking place include the sixth annual Lufthansa Lecture on 17 May which will be led by founding artistic director Tess Knighton, who will reflect on the festival’s 30-year history. Guided tours of St John’s Smith Square and the Foundling Museum will be available, with the museum hosting an exhibition, ‘By George! Handel’s Music for Royal Occasions’, exploring the relationship between Handel and the Hanoverian family.

The Lufthansa Festival takes place on 16–24 May. General booking opens on 3 February, for more information visit www.lufthansafestival.org.uk; www.sjss.org.uk.  

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