"Presentation at the concert was highly dramatic, they are not called Spotlight Chamber Concerts for nothing. The audience, suitably distanced, surrounded the performers on three sides, the singers and pianist were dramatically lit with audience members in near darkness. The result was intended to be immersive and dramatic, which it was. That there were no printed programmes was, of course, something of a bonus, we were able to follow the words on our phones so that to the singers the audience must have looked like assembled shadows with just spots of light."

Opera Today

"A highlight of my (late) summer was a visit to the Bandstand Chamber Festival in Battersea Park. For the dark nights, in every sense, of December, artistic director Anthony Friend has had the festival decamp a little further down the Thames to St John’s, Waterloo under the new guise of ‘Spotlight Chamber Concerts’. Very apt, too, the church in darkness, musicians spotlit in front of the altar steps."

Seen and Heard International

"I loved the casual seating arrangements (socially distancingly correct, of course) and the naturalness of sitting in the round to be present with this brilliant and intense young group of musicians. Not for one minute did I wish I was in the nearby Southbank Centre, or even the sainted Wigmore Hall. In fact if, when concert life returns, it is all more like Spotlight Chamber Concerts, I will be delighted."

Judith Weir, composer

With such a programme, one might have been back at the Wigmore Hall. Indeed, many are already. It is a hallmark of Anthony Friend’s achievement in his Spotlight Chamber Concerts that all combinations of artists and programme I have heard might readily have taken place in London’s — many would say the world’s — finest chamber music venue.

Seen and Heard International

Anthony Friend’s achievement in attracting such an array of musicians, to give such excellent performances at the darkest of times, merits our deepest gratitude; it certainly has mine.

Seen and Heard International

Feedback from surveyed audience members:

'The setting at St John's Waterloo was just the nicest way imaginable to experience live classical music.'

'Since the pandemic started, the only concerts we attended have been one from each of the three series you have run. They have been very enjoyable and we have felt that great care has been taken to minimise the risk of virus transmission. We are looking forward to the next series!'

'The concerts I attended were exceptional. The quality of the performances was amazing, the atmosphere created by the lighting in the darkened church was fabulous – a beautiful, moving experience made especially powerful in these hard times when COVID has deprived us of so much. I'm so grateful to Anthony and the team at St John's for providing such enriching, wonderful experiences, while managing all the complex practicalities of social distancing etc. so well.'

'It was a glorious concert and I felt a huge surge of concentrated joy. Wonderful contrast to the recent mood of the pandemic. And I felt perfectly safe with the social distancing working effectively.'

'After no live performances for so long, an unforgettable experience: superb quality of musicians and performance, programming, atmosphere, the audience spellbound. A bright light in a dim world.'

'This has been the most astonishingly fabulous series of concerts, made all the more special by the circumstances: what a metaphor! In the darkness of lockdown these concerts brought a light and brilliance to our souls. Simply fabulous'

Spotlight Chamber Concerts 2020-21 in numbers:

Were the concerts of a high artistic quality? Yes (100%)

Did the concerts feel inclusive and welcoming? Yes (100%)

Did you feel safe at the concert(s) you attended? Yes (100%)

Did the setting make the concert feel special? Yes (93.62%)

Would you recommend Spotlight Chamber Concerts to a friend? Yes (100%)

Tickets sold: 1,044

Fees paid to artists: £26,650