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Past Events > 2021

37b. The Original (Anti-) Vaxxers

14 October 2021, 15:15 - 16:15

Enjoy the whole festival live online for £165 with a Digital Festival Pass. All events will be available on demand after broadcast until 30th November, so you can catch up at a time which suits you.

This event is in two parts; one ticket covers both parts.
37a: 11am - 12pm, Kerner, Keats and the Physician Poet
37b: 3.15pm - 4.15pm, The Original (anti-) Vaxxers
See 37a: Kerner, Keats and the Physician Poet for ticket information.

The use of words and music to persuade people of the safety and efficacy of vaccines is not a solely modern phenomenon. Edward Jenner – famous for his work on the smallpox vaccine – wrote poetry and also commissioned new poems to persuade those who doubted the vaccine’s safety. In the second part of today’s Song Connections event, Natasha Loges discusses Jenner – illustrated with performances of the type of salon music he would have enjoyed – and Lady Wortley Montagu, whose key role in smallpox immunisation is often overlooked. She is joined by Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and the now world-famous team behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, to explore both the cutting-edge research and development that takes place here in Oxford and the challenges faced by modern vaccine advocates.


This event is an in-person and livestreamed event. Livestreamed performances will be available to watch live in our Digital Concert Hall at the advertised performance time and will be available to watch again and on demand until the end of November.

Want to watch this concert in person and at home? 'Hybrid' tickets, valid both in person and for the Digital Concert Hall, are also available for an additional £3 to the in-person price.

All our seating is unreserved. This means you are guaranteed a seat in your chosen area, but not a specific seat. In order to allow for social distancing, you will be seated as an individual or as a group, based on the number of tickets you booked for this concert.

For groups of more than 10, please phone or email the box office to book your tickets.

The complete event duration is approximately 2 hours, with a break in the middle.


(Online bookings only)

Book five or more concerts at the same time: 5% discount

Book ten or more concerts at the same time: 10% discount

Book fifteen or more concerts at the same time: 15% discount

For even further discounts click here for more information on our Festival Passes.

Tickets for both in-person and the Digital Concert Hall will be issued as eTickets by default. Printed tickets are available on request, for an additional fee.


Due to COVID-19 we have to do things a little differently this year. In order to keep everyone safe, our seating and concert conditions are subject to change in line with changing government guidance.

For more information about our COVID-19 safety measures, please click here.

If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 on the day of the concert, please do not attend, but get in touch with our box office to arrange a refund.

Artist Portrait

Natasha Loges

Natasha Loges


Natasha Loges was appointed Professor of Musicology at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg in spring 2022. Her books include Brahms and His Poets (2017), and the coedited collections Brahms in the Home and the Concert Hall (2014), Brahms in Context (2019), Musical Salon Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century (2019) and German Song Onstage (2020), and she has published various chapters and essays in edited collections. Her work has been funded by the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the American Musicological S... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Andrew Pollard

Andrew Pollard


Sir Andrew John Pollard, FHEA FMedSci is a Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. He is an Honorary Consultant Paediatrician at John Radcliffe Hospital and the Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group.
Artist Portrait

Avishka Edirisinghe

Avishka Edirisinghe


Avishka Edirisinghe is a British-Sri Lankan pianist and a final year student on the joint Physics and Music Performance degree course at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Music, where he studies Piano with Nigel Clayton and Collaborative Piano with Simon Lepper. Avishka enjoys playing as a solo pianist, but has a special interest in the collaborative side of piano playing. At university, he regularly accompanies singers in performance classes, concerts and masterclasses, as well as accompanying choirs. His work with musicians ... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Esme Bronwen-Smith

Esme Bronwen-Smith


British mezzo-soprano Esme Bronwen-Smith is in her last year of postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music, generously supported on the Leverhulme scholarship and studying under the tutelage of Dinah Harris. She is also a 2019/20 Drake Calleja Trust Scholar and a 2020/21 Leeds Lieder Young Artist. She made her professional singing debut as a soloist in the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony whilst at the Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama studying voice and composition. Esme’s recent operatic engagements include... Read Full Biography

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