Detail from the event poster.

An epic, 24-hour celebration of religious music will be taking place at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, this week, starting on Wednesday evening (June 22).

We want to express something of the way in which world religions sit side-by-side, without diluting the intensity of individual faiths.

Edward Wickham

The centrepiece of the music marathon will be a sound installation, called The Hours, which will be broadcast in the College's main court throughout the 24-hour period.

Interspersed with this there will be live performances, celebrating the sacred music of different world faiths, and culminating in a "Come and Sing" session on Thursday afternoon, followed by the performance of a piece by the Tudor composer, John Taverner.

The entire event will be open to the public for free. Visitors can either wander into the College to experience the sound installation, or attend one of the live performances, which are listed on the College website here. The final concert will be ticketed and places should be booked by writing to

Musical members of the public are also welcome to join in with the Come and Sing session, either by writing to or just by turning up on the day.

The event is intended to be a celebration and grand expression of the music and art produced by different religions around the world. The monastic hours - the daily order of seven gatherings for prayer - will provide a thread running through the 24 hour period, but the music used will have an inter-faith flavour.

Dr. Edward Wickham, Director of Music at St Catharine's College, who devised the event, said: "We want to express something of the way in which world religions sit side-by-side, without diluting the intensity of people's individual faiths."

"When you travel around the Middle East, you can often have remarkable musical experiences because of the proximity of one religion to another. In some cities you can hear the sound of Christian bells in one ear and the Muslim call to prayer in the other. We want to celebrate that complimentarity of musical expressions, without trying to put across any sort of glib message."

The event will kick-off at 7pm on Wednesday with the premiere performance of a new piece, Luminaria, which will be performed by the St Catharine's Girls' Choir with the Egyptian soprano, Merit Ariane Stephanos.

"The Hours" itself will run continuously throughout the next 24-hour period. Co-written by Dr Wickham and Jonathan Green, the piece is a collage of sound art and live performance that has been recorded by people of different faiths from around the UK over the past 18 months, and features a tapestry of different voices, music and sounds.

Interspersed with this there will be live performances at the College by Georgian and Muslim choirs, as well as chants from the Jewish and Hindu traditions. The traditional monastic services of Compline, Lauds and Matins will all be marked over the course of the night. The event will close on Thursday with a performance of Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas by John Taverner, sung by the award-winning vocal ensemble, The Clerks.

For further details about any aspect of the event, please visit the College website here.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. If you use this content on your site please link back to this page.