Tag Archives: Emigre

Our year in pictures – 2015

It was quite a year at CLS. We began 2015 with our Émigré series, full of music by composers who travelled the globe looking for fame and fortune, new artistic experiences, or just a safe place to call home. We did some travelling of our own when we visited Mexico in the spring, before setting up camp once again with Opera Holland Park over the summer. This autumn saw the beginning of our RE:Imagine series, which explores composers’ new interpretations and perspectives on existing works. Take a stroll with us down memory lane and see some of our highlights from 2015…

With the help of some brilliant cat gifs, we channelled our inner dancers for the tango-inspired CLoSer: To and From Buenos Aires. We also reminded ourselves just how weird cats can be!

The real dancers who joined us for the concert were brilliant, though!

 

In April, Russian-born New York composer and violist Ljova joined us for a special residency. He delighted us all with his beautiful blend of classical music, Russian folk, Klezmer and jazz, reflecting his own émigré roots. In anticipation of his arrival, we all thought up our favourite viola jokes…

Continue reading Our year in pictures – 2015

Advertisements

Month in Pictures: May and June

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!

Continue reading Month in Pictures: May and June

Émigré stories: Nancy Hitzig

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.

Continue reading Émigré stories: Nancy Hitzig

Ljova on BBC Radio 3 In Tune

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.

Ljova on In Tune
Lev ‘Ljova’ Zhurbin on BBC Radio 3 In Tune, 28 April 2015. Taken from @BBCRadio3 Twitter page.

The episode is still available to listen to on catch up, and you can find Ljova from around 1hour 14mins in.

 

CLOSER: Émigré – Ljova 
Wednesday 29 April 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.

 

ÉMIGRÉ STORIES: Vladimir Naumov

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 fourth émigré is violinist Vladimir Naumov, who has been playing regularly with CLS for almost 15 years! Moving to the UK from Russia as a teen to fulfil his ambition to study at the Royal College of Music, he talks about the difficulties of integrating into an entirely new city and the transition to calling Britain ‘home’. 

 

I came over to Britain from my native Russia in September 1994, aged 19. Initially, my goal was to study for a year at the Royal College of Music as a postgraduate student, with a possibility of extending it by another year. It has to be said that this was not an official exchange scheme, and I therefore did not have any financial backing by the Russian (or British) authorities. All I had was a 50% “discount” kindly offered to me by the RCM towards my tuition fees, the rest I had to raise myself which I eventually somehow succeeded in doing. In other words, I arrived in London completely penniless, with hardly any knowledge of the English language, no friends to turn to and virtually nothing to show for it but sheer enthusiasm. I guess, this is a typical story of an émigré in a big foreign city.

Continue reading ÉMIGRÉ STORIES: Vladimir Naumov

Composer Journeys – From Hollywood to New York

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, and in the weeks and months around our exciting ÉMIGRÉ concert series, we’ve been mapping out the journeys the émigré composers have made. For our third concert of the series, From Hollywood to New York on Saturday 2 May 2015, we explore the work of the many European composers who sought fame, fortune, or refuge in the USA at the end of the 19th and first half of the 20th century. Continue reading Composer Journeys – From Hollywood to New York

ÉMIGRÉ STORIES: Sarah Barnes

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 together make City of London Sinfonia. 

Our third émigré is violinist Sarah Barnes, a regular and much-loved player with the orchestra. She talks about her family’s emigration from Russia in the early twentieth century, and story of her Jewish grandmother, whose memoirs ‘Growing up in Shoreditch’ reveal much about the musical culture, traditions and life of East End, so populated by many other kindred émigrés.

My Jewish great-grandparents’ emigration from Eastern Europe in the early twentieth century

Children of Jewish emigrants from Eastern Europe, my paternal grandparents grew up in the East End of London.  My grandfather’s parents emigrated from Romania and my grandmother’s parents from Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century. It seems they all moved here separately and met their spouses after joining the growing Jewish émigré community in the East End. Jews from Eastern Europe moved to England and America in increasingly large numbers during this period. Pogroms (attacks on Jewish people) had been occurring across the Russian Empire and discriminatory laws meant that there were few livelihoods open to them.

Continue reading ÉMIGRÉ STORIES: Sarah Barnes

Emigre stories: Katie Heller

In the weeks around our ÉMIGRÉ concert series, we’ve been collecting stories on the theme, being a subject very close to the hearts of countless families across Britain. 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 second émigré is our long-term member, viola-player and the generally fantastic Katie Heller, whose Jewish father escaped Czechoslovakia on one of the last trains from Prague as Hitler’s titan rule began to take effect. 

One of my earliest childhood memories is of dancing around our small hall with Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances blaring out of the record player. Many evenings my sister and I would dance, and often my father would improvise on the old upright piano. I love the energy of this lively music, and the uplifting effect it had on me. At this stage, I knew nothing of its origins, or why it made my dad both happy and sad.

I began to play the violin at the age of nine, and still have a book of handwritten Czech pieces, lovingly notated for me. These were so much more fun with their syncopations and accents than many of my dreary English pieces!

Continue reading Emigre stories: Katie Heller

Month in Pictures – January and February!

We have had a fantastic start to the year here at CLS as momentum has built preparing for our long-awaited Émigré concert series, not to mention a wealth of other concerts and projects, including First Time Live in Harlow and the first two lunchtime concerts as part of City of London Festival’s Free Winter Concert Series at St Andrews Holborn. Just scroll down to see some of our favourite moments from the last couple of months, as well as our Chief Executive, Matthew Swann’s recent adventures in Tokyo, Japan.

Last Wednesday (25 February) we had a fantastic turn-out for the first concert of the series, CLoSer: To and From Buenos Aires which explored a range of tango music composed by Piazzolla, Golijov and Bartók. We received some great audience feedback, which you can check out on our previous blog, and don’t forget that the performance is available to watch for free on our YouTube channel until Thursday 5 March! Continue reading Month in Pictures – January and February!

Alexandra Wood on BBC In Tune

We’re delighted that our wonderful leader Alexandra Wood appeared on BBC Radio 3 In Tune yesterday with Sean Rafferty, performing ahead of our ÉMIGRÉ concert series.

Taken from @BBCRadio3 Twitter page
Alexandra Wood on BBC Radio 3 In Tune, 10 February 2015. Taken from @BBCRadio3 Twitter page.

She talks about what it means to celebrate émigré artists, London as a cultural hub and life as a musician, before playing Astor Piazzolla’s Tango Etude No.3 for solo violin and Prokofiev’s Sonata for Solo Violin, op. 115, First Movement live in the studio.

You can listen to her on catch up from approximately 1 hour 43 minutes in.