The Wimbledon International Music festival opened on Saturday (November 11) with the London premiere of a very special work with a strong Wimbledon connection.

The Cool Web: A Robert Graves Oratorio is a celebration of the great Wimbledon-born poet, Robert Graves, whose son William Graves opened the festival.

Local school children from Merton Music Foundation and Holy Trinity Primary performed the work alongside local professional choir, Sonoro, with a number of Graves war poems carefully chosen by librettist Sue Curtis and music put together by Jools Scott.

William Graves said: “To have my father’s war poetry honoured in this way is really wonderful and hearing the London premiere of the work in Wimbledon, it was incredibly special. It was a superbly moving performance and my sister Lucia and I felt very privileged to have been there.”

Also in attendance was baritone soloist Edward Grint and The Philharmonia Orchestra under conductor Robin O’Neill.

Festival Director Anthony Wilkinson said: “The opening of the festival ended with a standing ovation for a really extraordinary work that should become one of the 21stcentury classics in commemoration of the brave.”

The children of Merton Music Foundation Young Voices and Holy Trinity Primary also sang songs specially arranged and written for them by Merton Music Foundation’s Adam Saunders.

The Wimbledon International Music Festival runs until November 26. Media partner for the 2017 festival is Classic FM.

To find out more information and to buy tickets visit

Venues will be:

Sacred Heart Church, Edge Hill, Wimbledon

Trinity Church, Mansel Road, Wimbledon

St John’s Church, Wimbledon

Wimbledon College Hall, Edge Hill