Tag Archives: Copland

Month in pictures – September and October

We’ve had two very busy months at CLS. Our RE:Imagine concert series got off to a flying start in September with CLoSer: Debussy, Copland and Dance at Village Underground, and continued at Southwark Cathedral with an atmospheric celebration of the music of one of the most romantic cities in the world, in Venice: Darkness to Light. But that’s not all we’ve been up to so far this autumn. Take a look at some of our highlights of the last two months…

CLoSer: Debussy, Copland and Dance saw us return to the intimate setting of Village Underground with a programme exploring music written for dance from Rameau’s 18th century take on the classical Pygmalion myth to Copland’s evocative Appalachian Spring. The concert opened and closed with two brand new dance interpretations of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune by choreographer Tony Adigun, one contemporary classical, one urban. Photographer James Berry was on hand to capture the concert as it happened. Take a look at some of his stunning pictures…

Whether you missed the concert, or would just like to relive the evening, you can still watch short highlights on our website.

Our second RE:Imagine concert took us to the magnificent Southwark Cathedral to celebrate one of the world’s most wonderful cities, with Venice: Darkness to Light. Soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and countertenor Alex Potter joined us for JS Bach’s re-imagining of Pergolesi’s Stabat MaterTilge, Höchster, meine Sünden, and Latvian composer Ugis Praulins continued our theme of re-imagining the works of Bach, with his arrangement of movements from the Mass in B minor. Here are some lovely photos of rehearsals by James Berry.

On top of all that, it’s been very busy in the education department, as we returned to Suffolk and Essex for our annual Lullaby Concert tour and workshops with Orchestras Live. We also brought a Very Special Bear’s first concert to Warwick, Basingstoke and Saffron Walden with the help of the excellent Simon Callow, who was an absolute natural at conducting! Take a look behind the scenes to see us wrestling with balloons, and a lovely Paddington Bear card made by one of our younger audience members in Basingstoke!

Our RE:Imagine series continues in the new year with The Viennese Salon in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe, and our next Crash Bang Wallop! family concert will take place on 12 December. We hope to see you there!

Crash Bang Wallop! Let it Snow
Saturday 12 December 2015, 11.00am
Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London
Tickets: £8 Children, £10 Adults, £30 Family (four tickets)
Box Office: 020 7730 4500 / cadoganhall.com

The Viennese Salon
Sunday 24 January 2016, 2.00pm
Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe, London
Tickets: £62 (premium), £15 – 48, £10 (standing)
Box Office: 020 7401 9919 / shakespearesglobe.com



The first CLoSer concert of our RE:Imagine series celebrates music written for dance, from Bach to Debussy and Copland. But what about the dancers? In this blog we explore the famous names behind the famous works…

Martha Graham

Martha Graham is often called the “Mother of Modern Dance”. Born in 1894 in what is now Pittsburgh, she was the daughter of a doctor who believed that movement could benefit those suffering with nervous conditions. Despite this, her deeply religious parents forbade the young Graham to learn to dance, and it wasn’t until her father died that she finally began her formal dance training.

Martha Graham in 1948

Graham’s style was known for its violent and jarring movements, and alteration between tension and relaxation which represented a huge shift from the traditional styles which until that point had dominated. Here is Graham presenting her 1930 piece Lamentation, a physical exploration of grief.

Graham’s and Aaron Copland’s collaboration in the early 1940s on Appalachian Spring has produced one of the most iconic American works of the 20th century, distilling into a story of the pioneers the spirit of America’s hope, optimism and aspiration.

Vaslav Nijinsky

Nijinsky was born in Kiev in 1890, the second son of two touring dancers. Unlike Martha Graham, Nijinsky began his dance education very young, performing professionally by the age of seven.

Vaslav Nijinsky in 1909
Vaslav Nijinsky in 1909

When he was 10, Nijinsky joined the Russian Imperial Ballet School, where his exceptional talent, particularly for spectacular leaps, was soon noted. It was this talent that prevented him from being expelled from the school when his academic performance didn’t match his dancing. By the time he graduated, Nijinsky’s prowess was well known, and he secured a position first with the Mariinsky Theatre, and later guest appearances at the Bolshoi Theatre.

In 1912, Nijinsky began choreographing for the Ballet Russes, for whom he created his interpretation of L’apres midi d’un faune shown above, and garnered a reputation for his outlandish and controversial style. Indeed, his choreography for Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring was more than partly responsible for the riots that broke out following its Paris premiere.

Come along to our next CLoSer event on 22 September and see two new urban and contemporary dance interpretations of L’apres midi d’un faune, with choreography by Tony Adigun.

CLOSER: Debussy, Copland and Dance
Tuesday 22 September 2015, 7:30pm
Village Underground, Shoreditch
Tickets £15 or £5 for students (pre-register at www.cls.co.uk/cls-fiver) available from Spitalfields Music Box Office or via phone on 020 7377 1362.

Copland and Appalachian Spring

The first CLoSer event of our new RE:Imagine series is almost upon us. CLoSer: Debussy, Copland and Dance on 22 September celebrates music written for dance with works by Bach, Debussy, Rameau and Copland. In this short blog series, we’ll be exploring the stories behind the music. First up is Aaron Copland’s majestic Appalachian Spring…

Aaron Copland

CLOSER: Debussy, Copland and Dance
Tuesday 22 September 2015, 7:30pm
Village Underground, Shoreditch
Tickets £15 or £5 for students (pre-register at www.cls.co.uk/cls-fiver) available from Spitalfields Music Box Office or via phone on 020 7377 1362.

CLoSer Returns

We asked our outgoing Marketing Intern Anna, to give us her review of the first CLoSer of series two

Last week City of London Sinfonia returned to Village Underground, the unique home of the informal CLoSer concert series, for a second year.


At a glance the basement venue is an odd choice for a classical music concert, but when colourful cushions, vibrant musicians and an excited audience are added, the venue comes alive! Its prime location in the up and coming Shoreditch area is great for attracting creative locals, but is also an appealing spot to visit for those who live further afield. Our CLoSer audiences consist of a wide range of people, young and old, with mixed levels of musical knowledge and varied experiences of classical music, but who all wish to share their love of music in the informal and relaxed environment that CLoSer provides.

 The programme for this first concert had a distinctly American feel to it and Michael Collins, City of London Sinfonia’s Principal Conductor, delved straight into the Stravinsky Concerto in D with a high level of excited energy. The City of London Sinfonia strings played with a commitment to this energetic and rhythmic concerto, evidenced by the sight of a loose bow hair flying around in the violins. The second movement was beautifully melodic and reminiscent of a romantic ballet, rather than the sacrificial dance that Stravinsky is known for. This came to an abrupt end in the third movement which presented a pulsating rhythm and a mischievous melody in the violins, creating a tense mood and putting me on the edge of my cushion!


We then welcomed Guest Artists the Katona Twins to the stage to perform Piazzolla’s Hommage à Liège. The Hungarian guitar duo were joined by a dissonant string accompaniment which filled the brick underground with a wonderful resonant sound. The music was intricate and detailed and the pair played with style and apparent ease. At one point the cellos, double bass and guitar duo used their instruments as drums to create a powerful rhythm which built up to an explosive finale which caused excitement to ripple through the room.


The Twins took centre stage for two further pieces from De Falla’s El Amor Brujo suiteThe Magic Circle and Ritual Fire Dance . These were full of emotion and with the help of the relaxed atmosphere and the close proximity to the guitar duo, the audience were able to connect to the musicians from their own cushioned corner. In quieter moments the music was played with grace and intimacy, and the louder moments were confident and passionate.

As an encore, the twins played Piazzolla’s Autumn in Buenos Aires, joined by a tango dancing couple who highlighted the sensual and smooth character of De Falla’s music with their movement.


Michael Collins returned for the final piece of the night, to much delight of the audience. The opening of Copland’s Clarinet Concerto was magical, calming and soothing. Michael did a sterling job as both clarinettist and conductor, seamlessly transforming from one role to the other throughout. As always, his playing was flawless and animated and the string players were exceptionally engaging.

The post-concert atmosphere was fantastic with many audience members staying to chat with the musicians, bursting with their thoughts on the evening. The only disappointment is that we’ll have to wait until February for the next one!

Tickets are now on sale for the next two CLoSer concerts on Wednesday 13 February and Wednesday 10 April 2013.

Tickets: £15 (includes one free drink)

CLS FIVER (16-25 year olds): £5 (pre-register with marketing@cls.co.uk)

Box Office: 020 7377 1362/spitalfieldsmusic.org


Images: James Berry