Celebrating Holst at Morley

Click to download “Celebrating Holst” brochure

Classical music is an integral part of Morley’s DNA and it was at Waterloo where the Morley College Choir was founded by Gustav Holst, where he was Director of Music from 1907-1924.

In 2024, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Holst’s birth, as well as the 100th anniversary of the final year of his long career with Morley.


  • Come and Sing: choral songs by Gustav Holst – join the Morley choirs in a creative and fun afternoon exploring Gustav Holst’s choral pieces dedicated to Morley College ‘Short Festival The Deum’ and ‘A Festival Chime’ – FREE to attend, Saturday 10 February, click here to book
  • Harmony of the Heavens: A Holstian Showcase of Orchestral and Choral Brilliance – an extraordinary evening of musical enchantment, where the Morley Chamber Orchestra together with the Morley Chamber Choir and the Meridian Choir join forces to bring Holst’s timeless compositions to life – tickets £10, Thursday 14 March, click here to book
  • “The Planets” by Gustav Holst for 4 Pianos, 8 Pianists! – Holst’s iconic work is presented in a ‘new’ and captivating arrangement by the New Zealander composer and former Morley tutor Paul Sarcich for 4 pianos and 8 pianists – tickets £10, Friday 7 June, click here to book
  • Penny Lecture: Holst at 150: re-assessing his achievement – Holst specialist Philippa Tudor will lead us through an exploration of the composer’s extensive output, revealing much more than just The Planets. FREE to attend, Wednesday 15 May, click here to book

Holst on Morley Radio

  • Wednesday 10 April: The Maximum Reinhardt Show: Tune in at 7pm to hear Max interview some of the artists that took place in the ‘Sampling Holst’ project back in 2018. This project encouraged the creation of new electronic works based on samples taken from ‘The Planets’.
  • Friday 7 June: Tune in at 7:30pm for a live broadcast of “The Planets” for 4 Pianos, and 8 Pianists, performed by 8 Morley Piano Tutors!
  • Saturday 21 September: It’s Holst’s Birthday! Morley Radio will be dedicating all day to his music and a selection of music inspired by his works.

Tune in live at the times above: go to www.morleyradio.co.uk and click “Listen live”

About Gustav Holst

Best known for his orchestral suite, The Planets, Holst composed many other works across a range of genres. His distinctive compositional style was the product of many influences with Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss being most crucial early in his development.

Holst’s collection of work holds significant historical value which inspires our music department and its current students at Morley today. In 1893, Holst left Cheltenham for London to study composition at the Royal College of Music. After finishing at the college, Holst discovered that ‘man could not live by composition alone’ and took various organist posts at London churches and became a professional musician, playing the trombone in theatre orchestras.

It was in 1903 when Holst decided to abandon orchestral playing to concentrate on composition, however his earnings as a composer were too little to live off and in 1905 he accepted the offer of a teaching post at James Allen’s Girls’ School, Dulwich which he held until 1921. This was followed by his teaching posts as Director of Music as St Paul’s Girls’ School, Hammersmith, from 1905 until his death.

The college will host a series of concerts and activities in the first half of 2024, which also marks the centenary of Holst’s final year as Morley’s Director of Music at Morley.

The college will host a series of concerts and activities in the first half of 2024, which also marks the centenary of Holst’s final year as Morley’s Director of Music at Morley.

“Celebrating Holst at Morley”

Click below to download an overview of Morley’s celebrations in 2024: