Music in the City

Ivan Sutton MBE   
  Ivan Sutton MBE

Inspired by the famous series of concerts given during World War II by Dame Myra Hess at the National Gallery and the Royal Exchange, City Music Society was founded in 1943 by the late Ivan Sutton and is one of the country's leading music societies. The Society presents around 20 concerts per year and has over 2200 lunchtime and early evening concerts to its credit. It completed its 70th-anniversary season in 20013-14.

In addition to featuring well-established musicians, it has always been the Society's policy to invite out-standing young professional artists who are at the beginning of their careers, many of whom have since attained international status. From January to March 2004 the Society presented a new series of lunchtime concerts running parallel with the series at Bishopsgate on Tuesdays. This Free Winter Series was renewed every year between 2004 and 2015, in collaboration with the City of London Corporation, the City of London Festival and the City of London Sinfonia and it returns in January 2016 with City Music Society contributing four concerts. Details of other concerts in the series are available at

Members of the Society are more than just passive listeners. Over the years the Society has commissioned many new works - on average one every three years - from a wide and diverse range of British composers, including Roger Smalley, Nicholas Maw, Diana Burrell, Richard Rodney Bennett, Elizabeth Maconchy, Phyllis Tate, Robin Holloway, John McCabe, Geoffrey Burgon, Peter-Paul Nash, Kevin Volans and Michael Berkeley.

With our permanent home at Bishopsgate Institute out of commission for the time being, City Music Society is delighted to find a temporary concert venue in the beautiful surroundings of St Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield. See Lunchtime Concerts for details.

The church of St Bartholomew the Great is situated in West Smithfield between St Bartholomew's Hospital and Smithfield Market. It is best approached via West Smithfield via the Tudor gateway but access is also possible via the gate in Cloth Fair. The nearest stations are Barbican, Farringdon, St Paul's and Holborn Viaduct.

The Spring Series of concerts is presented in association with St Bartholomew the Great (by kind permission of the Rector).

The Free Winter Series is promoted by the City of London Corporation and presented by the City of London Festival, City Music Society and the City of London Sinfonia.

City Music Society is unable to present any evening concerts during the Spring series due to Bishopsgate Institute Great Hall being closed for repairs. It is hoped that the Society will return to Bishopsgate in September 2016 for its regular lunchtime concert season plus a very special evening concert.

For details of membership of the Society please see Membership Details.

You can help City Music Society in its mission to support young musicians at the start of their careers. Join us as a Member (£15 per annum), Joint Members (£20pa), Friend (£25pa), Patron (£100pa) or Benefactor (£250pa).

Every year we give outstanding soloists, ensembles and groups from the major conservatoires vital opportunities to develop their performance experience in a first-class venue.

Membership also grants discounts on CMS evening concert ticket prices.

For our Membership form, please visit the Membership Details page of the CMS website.

You can now follow City Music Society events on Facebook. Why not sign up?

The City Music Society's Sponsors and supporters are:
• The Bishopsgate Foundation
• Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
• The Mercers' Company
• The Tallow Chandlers' Company

The Free Winter Series is funded and promoted by:
• The Corporation of the City of London

Individual concerts are supported by:
• The Eric Falk Trust
• The Royal Philharmonic Society
• The Worshipful Company of Musicians

The Society depends on sponsorship and donations. To discuss how you and your company can support the Society's work, please contact us on 07740 214 248.

Individuals can now join our Friends Scheme - see membership form.

You can write to the Society at

Latest update: 31 December 2015

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