The last two months at City of London Sinfonia have certainly been busy ones, with some sad ‘lasts’ and exciting ‘firsts’ of many projects and programmes. Back in May our residency at Opera Holland Park began with some fantastic productions of Puccini’s Il Trittico and Jonathan Dove’s Flight, while our Émigré concert series ended on a high with Georgian London at Shoreditch Church on 16 June. Towards the end of last month, the orchestra also went on a five-day tour of Mexico with our Principal Conductor, Stephen Layton and cellist Matthew Barley (you can read more about the trip on this blog post). In education news, we were delighted to put on another of our popular family concerts, Crash Bang Wallop! at Cadogan Hall and several KS1 projects in Tower Hamlets and Harrow with the wonderful New York composer and musician, Ljova.
Our Georgian London concert on 16 June marked the end of our Émigré concert series with a programme of music by Handel, Mozart, JC Bach and Haydn in the beautiful surroundings of Shoreditch Church. Below are a few photos taken from our Twitter followers of the rehearsals and concert. You can read more about the concert in our most recent blog post, Retrospective: Georgian London, and don’t forget you can listen to the whole thing online for 30 days on BBC IPlayer!
Last night marked the final performance of both our Émigré concert series and Spitalfields Music Summer Festival 2015 with our Georgian London concert at Shoreditch Church. Joined by our Principal Conductor, Stephen Layton, choir Polyphony and baritone Ashley Riches, it was a fantastic evening of music by some of classical music’s biggest names, Haydn and Mozart chief among them, who fled to London in the eighteenth century to seek fame and fortune. The whole performance was broadcast live via BBC Radio 3, so don’t forget you can hear it all again for free on BBC IPlayer!
Ahead of our upcoming concert, Georgian London on Tuesday 16 June, we caught up with baritone, Ashley Riches before he joins us to perform Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum at Shoreditch Church. He reflects on his spontaneous decision to become a musician, why Don Giovanni is his favourite piece of music and role to sing, and his long-standing admiration for Polyphony, who joins him and CLS for this exciting concert.
When did you know you wanted to become a musician, and what spurred you on?
Actually, there was never really a moment… I had a training contract with a law firm not far from Spitalfields, but decided to try a year at music college before settling down to a ‘proper job’! Somehow it went well enough that I decided to give it a go. I’m a little bit fatalistic about these things – singing is the sort of career that chooses you, to some degree.
The buildings marked with a blue plaque in London commemorate the places some of the most important figures in history have lived and worked. Founded in 1866, the English heritage scheme is apparently the oldest of its kind in the world. Before our upcoming concert on 16 June at Shoreditch Church, we took a blue plaque tour of Georgian London to see where the composers whose music we perform next month worked and took residence when they visited this fantastic city.
Emigration has been a constant theme for musicians throughout history, with composers moving between countries and continents for a wide range of reasons. In our current concert series, we explore the journeys émigré composers have made through their musical output, whose sounds and atmospheres often reflect and have become associated with their life travels. As part of our blog series, Composer Journeys, we’ve been mapping out the journeys these émigré composers have made.
In the weeks around our ÉMIGRÉ concert series, we’ve been collecting stories on the theme. While our concerts explore the journeys composers and musicians have made across the world, this blog series, ÉMIGRÉ STORIES, focuses on the journeys made by the individuals that join together to make City of London Sinfonia.
Our fifth émigré is our Philanthropy and Enterprise Manager, Nancy Hitzig who left her home-town, Toronto, two years ago to study and work in London. In this post she talks the transformative effect the move made on her, and warm observations on the wealth of culture London has to offer.
In July 2013, I quit my job in Toronto, sold most of my stuff, and moved halfway around the world to London. I’d lived in Toronto my whole life and decided it was time to go on an adventure. My mother had spent a year abroad when she was around my age in Southampton and it felt like my turn. I embarked on a Masters programme at HULT International Business School.
With New York musician, Ljova in town for our long-awaited, two-week collaboration, several more concerts as part of our émigré series and lots of education work, particularly with young primary school students, the Spring months at City of London Sinfonia have certainly been jam-packed.
A unique mix of Klezmer, classical music, Balkan Gypsy and jazz, we’ve loved getting to know New York composer and musician, Ljova’s music over the last two weeks. Travelling over 3500 miles to join us for a two-week period, Ljova has performed alongside our musicians in several projects and concerts, including our recent CLoSer at Village Underground, Key Stage One projects with young children in Harrow and Tower Hamlets and participated in our L’Chaim outreach work with Jewish Care Homes. Just this week, he joined us in a DASH Arts café at Rich Mix, Shoreditch, and we look forward to welcoming him at Cadogan Hall this Saturday for our next Crash Bang Wallop family concert, Bon Voyage! Continue reading Month in Pictures: March and April→
Our two-week collaboration with the fantastic New York composer and musician, Ljova kicked off yesterday with the final CLoSer concert of our Émigré series at Village Underground. We loved getting to know Ljova and his atmospheric music, as well as his wife and singer, Inna Barmash who joined the Orchestra for some Klezmer-inspired vocal numbers.
We received some fantastic feedback on Twitter and Instagram from the concert, which we thought we’d share post-concert, as well as some of our favourite snaps! And don’t forget – the whole concert is available to watch for free via our live stream until Wednesday 6 May on our website and YouTube channel.
The final CLoSer concert of our Émigré series is tonight, and we’re really looking forward to performing with the wonderful Ljova, who was a guest yesterday evening on BBC Radio 3 In Tune with Suzy Klein. Ljova played three of his own works, and talked about his music, experiences of leaving Russia for New York, and of the continual struggles of forming an émigré identity.
The episode is still available to listen to on catch up, and you can find Ljova from around 1hour 14mins in.
Whenever you hear a classical music joke, chances are the punchline is something negative about the viola or violists. Whole websites are devoted to viola jokes, and it has been a source of contention for hundreds of years. It is generally believed that the viola joke tradition originated c.1700 when viola parts were normally very simple (and therefore normally taken up by the lesser talented players!). Poor violists, they’ve had to put up with it for over 300 years!
Ahead of our CLoSer concert with New York violist, Ljova next week, we thought it would only be right to show our respect to this long-standing tradition and to collect our favourite viola jokes. We called on our Twitter followers to share the best ones they could come up with too and we’ve collated our favourites below. Enjoy!