Film of Duke Ellington's Coventry Cathedral concert to be shown for first time since 1966 - The Coventry Observer

15th Aug, 2022

Film of Duke Ellington's Coventry Cathedral concert to be shown for first time since 1966

Felix Nobes 28th Nov, 2018 Updated: 28th Nov, 2018

A FILM of jazz legend Duke Ellington’s concert at Coventry Cathedral has been found after being ‘lost’ for more than 50 years.

The footage is unseen since its original broadcast in 1966 and Ellington himself described the performance as one of his most satisfying and important, the University of Warwick says.

Fittingly the recording will receive its first public viewing in 52 years on December 29 at the cathedral.

Ellington’s original performance was the European premiere of his first ‘Concert of Sacred Music’.

The university says it included a piece specially written for the concert, named ‘Come Easter’, which was only ever performed in Coventry that night.

Ellington said in a television interview: “It’s one of the most satisfying things I have ever done. And the most important.”

The performance was broadcast by ITV as part of their Easter programming, under the title Celebration.

The black and white recording has been digitally restored by archive television company Kaleidoscope with support from the University of Warwick.

The footage was found in the university’s StudioCanal archive.

Dr Helen Wheatley, of the University of Warwick’s department of film and television studies, said: “It is wonderful to be able to bring this important broadcast ‘back home’ to Coventry, thanks to the combined efforts of colleagues at the StudioCanal and Kaleidoscope archives.

“Ellington’s performance in Celebration is absolutely captivating.

“Coventry Cathedral has been an important site of arts and culture, as well as a significant place of worship, since its consecration in 1962.

“Ellington chose Coventry Cathedral to perform in as a beacon of modernity in the post-war era, and artists today continue to be attracted to this wonderful building and the forward-thinking people that run it”.

This event is the fourth part of a series of university events or ‘hauntings’ in the ongoing project Ghost Town: Civic Television and the Haunting of Coventry (

The project takes programmes made in and about the city out of the television archive and re-screens them around the city in expected and unexpected places, the university says.

Tickets are available here:

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