Category Archives: All Posts

What’s on my iPod: Karen Geoghegan

Having first made her mark in the finals of BBC’s Classical Star competition in 2008, Karen’s warm personality and sense of style and musicianship have made her one of the most highly acclaimed and sought after young soloists in the UK. We’re delighted she’ll be performing with us again on Sunday at Central Theatre, Chatham.

We caught up with her to find out what the four most played tracks are on her iPod and why she just can’t stop listening to them…

E lucevan le stelle from Puccini’s Tosca
I fell in love with this aria when I saw Tosca live at the Royal Albert Hall a few years ago. This is probably the best-known aria from the opera, and is sung by Tosca’s lover whilst he awaits his execution. It is a final reminiscing of what used to be – there is a real sense of heartache and desperation.  I love the clarinet obligato, which plays a huge role in this aria. This is an absolute must to listen to – it really is heart-wrenching stuff; tissues at the ready!

The Swan of Tuonela – Sibelius
This tone poem by Sibelius is not one of his better-known works but is my absolute favourite piece of classical music. The cor anglais takes the main role in the work, representing the swan, who swims around Tuonela – the island of the dead. The cor anglais is one of the most beautiful instruments in the orchestra – always getting the solos, and for good reason!


Piano Concerto No. 2 – Second Movement – Shostakovich
I first heard this work in a theory and musicianship class when I was around 16, and I remember my teacher absolutely raving about it, and going on about this heart-wrenching chord where the piano enters after a beautiful string introduction- and then we heard it and we all knew why! I could listen to it again and again! Shostakovich is one of my favourite composers. His symphonic writing is great for the bassoon!   

The Stolen Child and Non Aurumque from the album Light and Gold – Eric Whitacre
The harmonies and suspensions Eric Whitacre uses are really quite spectacular. This music evokes so many different emotions – I can’t just have it on in the background as I get so carried away every time I listen!

Sunday 5 June, 7.30pm
Central Theatre, Chatham


The CLS Royal Wedding Playlist

With the big day approaching, we asked everyone in the office to select at least one track that, were they the royally appointed DJ, they would play on Friday. Here’s what we chose:



Overture to The Merry Wives of Windsor (Otto Nicolai) – Barry, Chief Executive


Processional (bride’s entrance)

Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (Handel) – Elaine, General Manager



Fight the Good Fight (Boyd)

Ride on, Ride on, in Majesty (Milman) – Robin, Development Director


Recessional (happy couple exit)

Let’s Face the Music and Dance (Nat King Cole) – Jacqui, Librarian


Wedding reception

Paparazzi (Lady Gaga) – Alex, Marketing Manager

Common People (Pulp – sung from Kate’s perspective) – Ruth, Development Manager

Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometimes (Beck) – Sophie, Office Manager

This Time Tomorrow (The Kinks) – Patrick, Marketing Intern

Dancing Queen (ABBA) – Everyone


As you can see it’s certainly a varied selection! Download and enjoy the playlist.

Do you have any suggestions of your own? Feel free to post them in the comments section.


Have a good bank holiday Friday everyone!


The CLS team

Back in the recording studio

We’ve been busy in the recording studio with the orchestra and our Principal Conductor Michael Collins laying down tracks of some of the fabulous music they performed at our recent Cadogan Hall concert. Weber’s Clarinet Concertino and Concerto No. 1 as well as his Horn Concertino and Clarinet Concerto No. 2 have all been recorded for release later this year on our next CD.

Check out a few photos of the recording process below and keep your eyes peeled for the CD when it is released at the end of the year.



CD release in association with CHANDOS.




Call & Response: Michael Collins

In honour of his very first appearance in London as Principal Conductor of the City of London Sinfonia, Michael Collins sheds some light on a few of his firsts and some of his lasts for good measure.


What was the first performance you attended? It was Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. It was a Sir Robert Mayer Concert for Children.

How did your very first audition go? It was for the Royal College of Music Junior Department. I was so nervous that my fingers shook all the way through, but they still let me in.

When and where was the first time you performed in London? I played at a Youth Makes Music concert when I was 10 at the Royal Festival Hall to 3000 people playing a Brahms Sonata.

Who was your first mentor/inspiration? On the clarinet it was Thea King from a very early age. I went to see her and asked for her autograph then carried on to study with her. On the piano it was and still is Martha Argerich, and I have been lucky enough to play with her on several occasions.


How was your first time stepping into conductor’s shoes? It seemed a natural progression from the clarinet as I had been doing a lot of directing from the instrument.

What was the last piece of music you listened to? John Adams’ Atomic Symphony.

When did you last feel truly challenged? I suppose whenever I walk on the platform it is a challenge as I am trying all the time to make the experience the very best, not just for me but for the audience as well.

Who was the last person to offer you some sage advice? Actually it was my 12 year old son who told me not to worry so much and take it easy!!

Michael will be conducting and performing at Cadogan Hall on Thursday 7 April, 7.30pm. Box Office: 020 7730 4500.


Have a listen to our Concert Playlist to hear all the pieces that will be performed on the night.

Five things you never knew about Jemima Puddleduck

It’s our first Crash Bang Wallop! family concert of the year tomorrow, which sees Stephen McNeff’s fantastic The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck performed. In honour of this we’ve put together our top five Jemima Puddleduck facts.

1. Jemima also appears in another Beatrix Potter book, The Tale of Tom Kitten. 

2. She’s over 103 years old, as the book was first published in 1908. 

3. The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck is the twelfth in the Beatrix Potter series.


4. It’s set at Beatrix Potter’s farm Hill Top in the Lake District, which you can still visit today.

5. Jemima Puddleduck is the second most popular character in terms of spin-off merchandise, after Peter Rabbit.


Hope to see you at Cadogan Hall tomorrow!

The CLS team 

Crash Bang Wallop!
Saturday 26 March 12.00pm
Cadogan Hall, London 



Concert Focus: Crash, Bang, Wallop!

You can tell one of our big Crash, Bang, Wallop! family concerts is fast approaching when the CLS office turns into a full time craft production zone! Right now our photocopier is running non-stop, producing brightly coloured musical word searches and colouring sheets and we’re busily laminating signs and gathering up percussion instruments for all of our pre-concert activities on Saturday.


Saturday’s concert at Cadogan Hall is based around stories and nursery rhymes, with some pieces written by our very own presenter, James Redwood, and our grand finale will be The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck by Stephen McNeff.  Also on the programme is a brand new piece by a young composer, 17 year old Joaquim (Quim) Badia Arumi. Quim is currently in his final year at the Purcell School for Young Musicians and will next year be continuing his studies at the Royal College of Music. The piece he has written is called Armentier and is written for solo piano and flute with orchestra. 


Quim told us: “Armentier was written in August 2010 in a little village called Armentera, in Costa Brava in Spain. It’s a mixture of up-beat music and calm, lyric writing. I wanted to explore the different textures of both the flute and the piano and how they can convey different characters.”


The multi-talented Quim will be playing the solo piano part and will be joined on stage by fellow Purcell School pupil, flautist Charlotte Ashton.  Both Quim and Charlotte are also part of the pupil-led Impulse Outreach group at the Purcell School and have toured the country giving workshops and concerts to schools and communities.    

If you’d like to join us and hear Quim’s piece, as well as Jemima Puddleduck and much more, the last few tickets for Saturday’s concert are available at the Cadogan Hall box office on 020 7730 4500.

Gillian Hunter

Education Manager