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Hello and Welcome

London International Festival of Early Music is one of the world's largest and most inclusive early music festivals in the world. We produce an annual festival in Blackheath, London, which brings together the world's largest early music exhibition, live concerts from leading artists, makers' demonstration recitals, workshops and masterclasses. 

LIFEM: Digital | 5-11 November 2020

We have made the positive decision to move our November 2020 festival to a virtual platform, thus creating LIFEM: Digital. We strive to welcome audiences, new and old, to this innovative digital festival, which will bring you all the usual events, as well as newly-devised content, especially created for this year's festival. 

LIFEM: Digital will run for longer than our usual festival, with a whole seven days available to you, from Thursday 5th to Wednesday 11th November. A mixture of free and paid-for events will be broadcast on our website and our virtual exhibitors’ hall will be available throughout the week, 24 hours a day. There will be an extensive array of instruments and accessories from leading makers around the world for you to peruse and purchase.

LIFEM | Concerts

Our 2020 concert artists will be streamed 'as live' from Blackheath and include:

Renowned harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani.

Winner of The Society of Recorder Players/Moeck International Solo Recorder Competition 2019, Tabea Debus.

Celebrated viol consort Fretwork, who will be giving the world premiere of a new work by John Paul Jones, prolific performer, composer and founding bassist of Led Zeppelin.

These concerts will be live-filmed and available to watch worldwide. The schedule will be announced over the coming weeks and tickets will be available to purchase from 1st October 2020. 


We're honoured to have Fretwork to open this year's festival. Their programme includes the world premiere of a piece by John Paul Jones commissioned by LIFEM.

Photograph: Nick White

Mahan Esfahani

We're thrilled to have harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani making his debut at LIFEM this year.

Photograph: Kaja Smith

Tabea Debus

We're delighted to have the winner of The Society of Recorder Players/Moeck International Solo Recorder Competition 2019, Tabea Debus, performing at LIFEM this year.

Photograph: Kaupo Kikkas

LIFEM | Competition

The 2020 festival also sees the latest edition of the Early Music Young Ensemble Competition, generously sponsored by The Rolex Institute, in which three finalists will compete before a distinguished panel of judges comprising Margaret Faultless, Lucy Crowe and Gill Graham. Opening and closing dates for the competition are Saturday 11th July and Monday 7th September, and the winner will be announced during festival week in November. In addition to a £2,000 cash prize, the winning ensemble will be invited to perform in the 2021 festival. Click here for all the details!

LIFEM | Mission

As a registered charity, we aim to advance the public education and appreciation of music with our annual festival in Blackheath, London, which is gladly received by our supporters -  our loyal customers, commercial partners and the early music community. Through this year’s festival, we are committed to continuing this work and helping to ensure the early music community continues to thrive in an increasingly digital world.

LIFEM Chairman, Chris Butler, says:

“The unprecedented events of this year have challenged organisations worldwide, but we are determined to present a festival to the best of our ability. I want to say a huge thank you to colleagues, artists and exhibitors for their enthusiasm and flexibility in enabling LIFEM: Digital to happen in 2020 and I look forward to welcoming you all back to Blackheath in 2021.”

LIFEM | 2019 highlights

Just a few of our favourite photos from the 2019 London International Festival of Early Music. Photographs by Anna McCarthy.