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Home  >  News  >  New Requiem for 2020 to Premiere at Just Festival


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New Requiem for 2020 to Premiere at Just Festival

Tuesday June 29 2021

The world premiere of a choral reflection on the events of 2020 will form the climax of this year’s Just Festival in August.

‘No Alleluias: A Requiem for 2020’ will be performed on August 28 at 7pm. Based on the Rev Dr Karen Georgia Thomson’s writings about her personal loss and illness, the specially-commissioned piece has been composed by Dr Anthony Hammond with lyrics by Robert Rae, juxtaposed with the ancient Latin words of the Requiem Mass.

Dr Hammond, director of music and organist at St John’s Church, Edinburgh, describes the piece as: “I hope, a good blend of the ancient and the modern, the timeless and the timely. I hope that it enables the listener, in some way, to see that no matter how confused and confusing our experience has been, one day we will see a context to what has happened and know that what we learned benefited humanity somehow.”

The Just Festival, formerly the Festival of Spirituality and Peace, has been a fixture of Edinburgh’s festival season for 21 years. Normally held in St John’s Church on Princes Street, in 2021 it will be mostly held online for the second year running.

Also appearing at the festival are author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, who will be reflecting on his own near-death from Covid and the book it inspired; and Northern Irish peace activist and musician Tommy Sands.

Scottish CND will host ‘A Guided Tour of the Unacceptable’, a virtual tour of the UK’s nuclear base followed by a discussion and musical performance; and Ragamala Dance Company New York will present a performance and discussion focussing on themes of mortality and migrant journeys, asking ‘what happens to my soul if I die in a foreign country’.

There will also be conversations on racism, homelessness, Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic and climate change.

While much of the festival is online, subject to Covid restrictions St John’s will also host two exhibitions: ‘Peace Cranes’, an installation of 140,000 origami paper cranes of peace and hope by Scottish Artist Janis Hart; and Free the Spirit, an exhibition on life in Gaza Palestinian photographer Mahmoud al Khurd.

The festival runs from August 6-28 and most events are free, although some have suggested donations. For the full programme visit 


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