Morley to mark 150th birthday of former Director of Music Gustav Holst

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 Director of Music at Morley.

Flagship concerts at the Waterloo Centre for Adult Education include:

Click to download “Celebrating Holst” brochure
  • 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. Includes ‘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

Holst will also be the subject of a special Penny Lecture taking place on Wednesday 15 May. Holst specialist Philippa Tudor will lead us through an exploration of the composer’s extensive output, revealing much more than just The Planets. Click here to book your free place.

Holst on the airwaves

Morley Radio is celebrating Holst with a selection of interviews, broadcasts, and playlists. Highlights include: 

  • 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.

To tune in live at any time, go to and click ‘Listen live’ at the top of the page.

A legacy celebrated

Morley’s Principal and CEO Dr Andrew Gower said: “The College’s commitment to live performance stems directly from our former Director of Music. Morley maintains an extensive programme of public concerts and performances, given by a rich array of choirs and ensembles. I am delighted that to mark this 150th anniversary the College will stage a special sequence of concerts to celebrate the remarkable music of Gustav Holst. I do hope you will join us.”

Holst’s legacy is marked in a number of other ways too: the Waterloo Centre’s “Holst Room” is home to many of the college’s chamber performances, and his most celebrated composition – the orchestral suite The Planets, written between 1914 and 1917 (during his Morley tenure from 1907-1924) – is commemorated through the Waterloo Centre’s current Fifth Plinth commission by Morley alum Molly Okell, whose sculpture will be on display until April 2024.

“Celebrating Holst at Morley”

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