Tag Archives: Gwilym Simcock

Retrospective on CLoSer: Sketches of Miles

We do things differently here at CLS, and on Wednesday 6 April we lived up to our promise to surpise with a concert of the music of Miles Davis – CLoSer: Sketches of Miles.

For this, the final CLoSer concert in the RE:Imagine series, we were joined by the exceptional talents of Gwilym Simcock and his trio, vocalist Cleveland Watkiss and – in a last-minute addition – saxophonist Tim Garland.

Relive the experience

Checkout the highlights video below and some beautiful photos from the concert by the wonderful James Berry along with your reactions from Twitter. Just tweet us at @CityLdnSinfonia to let us know what you thought!

Photos by James Berry:

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Read the review by Schmopera:

Last night’s concert at the Village Underground will go into the books as one of the most memorable shows we’ve seen yet.” – Schmopera

From Twitter:




Join us for the season finale

Paris Reflected
Wednesday 20 April, 7.30pm

The sounds of Paris are reflected across the centuries in this finale of the season. Providing the centrepiece to the programme is Duruflé’s Requiem setting based on ancient plainsong melodies, preceded by Fauré’s Pavane with its ancient dance forms and Ravel’s tribute to the earlier French composer, Couperin. Composer Charlotte Bray provides the final instalment in our ‘Bach RE:Imagined’ series.



Retrospective on CLoSer: Song of the Earth

Our RE:Imagine series continued in style last night as Village Underground transformed into London’s most intimate and relaxed concert venue for CLoSer: Song of the Earth. The elegance of Johann Strauss distilled for salon orchestra and Bach’s Toccata and Fugue (arranged by up-and-coming young composer Luke Styles) set the scene. Storyteller Rachel Rose Reid enthralled the audience before we heard Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. Mezzo-soprano Anna Huntley and Tenor Gwilym Bowen took centre stage as all the mastery of Mahler’s epic symphony, concentrated into an ensemble of just 15 world-class musicians.

The concert was live-streamed online – checkout the highlights below and some beautiful photos from the concert by the wonderful James Berry along with your reactions from Twitter. Just tweet us at @CityLdnSinfonia to let us know what you thought!

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Forthcoming concerts

We hope you can join us at a concert soon – for full listings visit cls.co.uk/whats-on

The next concert in our RE:Imagine series is The Great English Songbook  when we will be journeying through England’s Elizabethan age and Shropshire countryside with baritone Roderick Williams on 9 March at Southwark Cathedral.

We are next back at Village Underground for CLoSer: Sketches of Miles on 6 April when  we will transport you to New York as we explore the musical marriage of the legendary trumpeter Miles Davis and composer/arranger Gil Evans.

The Great English Songbook
Wednesday 9 March 2016, 7:30pm
Southwark Cathedral, London, SE1 9DA
Tickets £25, £15, £5* (*restricted view)
cls.co.uk / 020 7621 2800

CLoSer: Sketches of Miles
Wednesday 6 April 2016, 7.30pm
Village Underground, London, EC2A 3PQ
TICKETS: £15 (includes a free drink)
cls.co.uk / 020 7621 2800

Month in Pictures – August and September!

The last couple of months at CLS have seen the opening of our Shakespeare: Let Music Sound series this week, lots of education and community work (including the start of our Lullaby project with young children in Derbyshire), but mainly lots of burgers and lots of cake. Scroll down for some of our favourite moments!


In August, we headed off to Glasgow with Gwilym Simcock and our Principal Conductor and clarinetist, Michael Collins to perform Gwilym’s On a Piece of Tapestry in the City of Music at the UNESCO Commonwealth Games with New Music Biennial.


After our final performance at Opera Holland Park this Summer, our Concerts Manager, Becca had the glorious job of getting the scores ready to send back to the publishers. She found some hilarious markings in the parts, including an enlightening comment from the horn section making sure certain instrumentalists were still awake!


This beautiful picture was taken by our Chief Operating Officer, Elaine during a morning walk, marking the beginning of Autumn with low mist and frost. Get those woolly jumpers ready!

autumn arrives with mist and frost


Our musicians have been up and about doing lots of education and community work this month, including workshops for our Lullaby concert tour in Derbyshire (the picture where the musicians are wearing numbered hats!), First Time Live 2 legacy project in association with Orchestras Live and some concerts and workshops in Jewish Care homes as part of L’Chaim.


On Wednesday we opened the first of our Shakespeare: Let Music Sound Autumn concert series with a performance of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Southwark Cathedral with Holst Singers, baritone Neal Davies and actors Richard Hope and Emma Pallant. Here are some of our favourite snaps, if you want to see more, check out our Facebook page!


The team at CLS has had a bit of a change over the last few months as we’ve said a sad goodbye to our Development Manager, Ruth Mulvey and a temporary farewell to our Education Manager, Gillian who went on maternity leave. This, of course, along with the recent appointment of Nancy Hitzig, our new Philanthropy and Enterprise Manager, have been great excuses for cake, a cheeky game of ‘Guess the Baby’ and a new CLS tradition: Burger Friday!


In other news, our Marketing team have been talking about our CLS FIVER scheme for students and 16-25s at London Freshers Fairs, our Chief Executive, Matthew Swann, had an accident on his bike (for the record, this is not a “favourite moment”, just a memorable one!) and Elaine’s cute dogs, Dolly and Archie, spent a day lending a very helpful paw in the office!

NMC Recordings of Gwilym Simcock & City of London Sinfonia now available for digital download!

After a fantastic few months of performances, broadcasts and interviews across the country, we are delighted to announce that NMC’s recording of Gwilym Simcock’s On a Piece of Tapestry, performed by City of London Sinfonia, renowned clarinettist Michael Collins and the composer himself at the piano, are now available for digital download.

Flawlessly fusing the traditionally distinct worlds of classical music and jazz, Gwilym Simcock composed On a Piece of Tapestry in reaction to two poems by Spanish / American philosopher poet George Santayana, which are narrated in this recording by British actor and comedic legend, John Sessions. NMC’s Music Map is a fantastic way to explore the relationships between Gwilym Simcock’s own unique style and influences.

Commissioned by City of London Sinfonia as part of the New Music Biennial (a PRS for Music Foundation initiative that exists to support, promote and showcase the talent of UK’s new music sector) the work has since been performed across the country from Bradford-on-Avon to Dublin, culminating in a exciting concert in the cultural programme of Glasgow’s UNESCO Commonwealth Games at the beginning of the month.

To download the track, just visit NMC’s online shop, iTuneor Amazon. 


Gwilym Simcock appears courtesy of ACT Records & Michael Collins in courtesy of Chandos Records

What’s on my iPod – Gwilym Simcock

We’re so happy to be joining Gwilym Simcock again for two performances of his fantastic new work On a Piece of Tapestry this summer. In advance of this exciting collaboration, we asked him what the top 5 tracks were on his iPod. Why not get yourself in the ‘Gwilym mood’ and listen to the playlist we compiled too?!


Well with the 1st selection I’m already cheating! I’m going to pick Henri Dutilleux’s Symphony No. 1. I absolutely love this piece of music, mainly because it has a beautifully expansive harmonic palette and sublime orchestration throughout. It evokes such strong emotions every time I listen to it. I guess technically it would be 4 tracks but hopefully you’ll forgive me that!

Next I’m going to chose ‘Minute By Minute’ by the Doobie Brothers. I had to arrange this for a vocal group I musically direct and it turned me on to just how fantastic Michael MacDonald’s voice is. A short track but a great one!

Thirdly ‘Do I Do’ by Stevie Wonder. I was played this track whilst I was in residence at the Edinburgh festival, probably about 15 years ago. I was there for a month and I just couldn’t stop listening to it the whole time, and recently I rediscovered it again. Such a great positive groove!

Next, ‘A Real Embrace’ by Mike Walker, a good friend and wonderful Guitarist from Manchester. We co-lead a band called The Impossible Gentlemen, and he is one of the most warm, giving musicians I’ve ever played with. This quality is in abundance in this fantastic, beautiful track

Finally, ‘3 Views of a Secret’ by Jaco Pastorius, the legendary American electric bassist. This is, I think, my favourite tune ever, from his great album Word Of Mouth. Wonderfully compelling sound world and a great simple melody underpinned by a flowing, weaving harmonic sequence underneath that really takes you on a journey through the course of the track.



Gwilym Simcock: On a Piece of Tapestry
Saturday 5 July, 17.00pm
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre
Entry is free (ticketed) BOOK NOW

Gwilym Simcock: On a Piece of Tapestry
Saturday 2 August, 1.30pm
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Strathclyde Suite
Entry is free (unticketed). Click here for more info


Month in Pictures: March and April

With everything from conducting bumble bees, synaesthetic lighting, rhythmic jazz-piano, spiritual choral music and comedians reading poetry, these last couple of months have certainly been hectic for the City of London Sinfonia. We’ve had so much fun putting on our Natural / Supernatural series which began at the end of March performing in beautiful venues such as Southwark Cathedral and Christ Church Spitalfields, and we’ve even been able to fit in some regional touring and lots of education work too! Here are some of our favourite pics from the last couple of months:


 Our education team trying on animal masks ahead of our Crash Bang Wallop! Animal Antics family concert at Cadogan Hall in March!


Some snaps from our First Time Live projects in Mansfield, Thurrock and Peterborough which gives young people the chance to produce and experience a live orchestral concert for the first time! Can you spot the bumble bee conductor?


Rehearsals for our Tavener Celebration concert with the fabulous Hilliard Ensemble and Holst Singers at Southwark Cathedral. Our trumpet player obviously was so overwhelmed by the brilliant sound that he had to have a nap! 


Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time resonating through the atmospheric surroundings of Village Underground for our last CLoSer. We hope those who logged in to watch the performance via livestream enjoyed the performance too! Check out some more photos here.


 Some of our musicians got up to some exciting things in April, including being conducted by England Cricketer Stewart Broad with Opera Holland Park and performing at Dorsey & Whitney’s offices behind a view of the City!


Some pictures from a selection of our other concerts around the UK including the National Concert Hall in Dublin and Snape Maltings.


British actor and comedian John Sessions rehearsing for the final concert of our Natural / Supernatural series tonight at Cadogan Hall!


Natural / Supernatural
Thursday 1 May 2014, 7.30pm
Cadogan Hall

Mozart –  Overture from The Magic Flute
Gwilym Simcock – On a Piece of Tapestry (London premiere)

Gwilym Simcock – Cumbrian Thaw
Beethoven – ‘Pastoral’ Symphony No. 6 


Commission Crowd… help us commission a piece of new music!

Commission Crowd

We are embarking on a crowd funding campaign to support a new piece of music, written by jazz pianist Gwilym Simcock, and we need your help!

This year, City of London Sinfonia has commissioned a brand new piece of music from jazz pianist and composer, Gwilym Simcock, which will be part of the UK-wide New Music Biennial 2014 and featured at Glasgow UNESCO City of Music in August 2014. On a Piece of Tapestry has been commissioned especially for our Principal Conductor and renowned clarinettist, Michael Collins, piano and orchestra and will be performed across the UK, culminating in a London premiere at Cadogan Hall on 1 May 2014. Taking inspiration from his jazz and classical roots, Gwilym’s new piece will feature spoken word and improvisatory elements that will make for an exciting new piece of orchestral music for City of London Sinfonia to perform.

Building on the success of last year’s Gabriel’s Angels campaign, which saw over 100 people contribute to a new commission by Gabriel Jackson, we need our audience to club together and help support our commission and London premiere of this fantastic new work by Gwilym Simcock.

A little bit about Gwilym Simcock…
Gwilym Simcock is one of the most gifted pianists and imaginative composers on the British scene.  Able to move effortlessly between jazz and classical music, he can, at times, inhabit both worlds and has been described as stylistically reminiscent of Keith Jarrett, complete with ‘harmonic sophistication and subtle dovetailing of musical traditions’ as well as being a pianist of ‘exceptional’, ‘brilliant’ and ‘dazzling’ ability.

First ever BBC Radio 3 New Generation Jazz Artist, winner of the Perrier Award, BBC Jazz Award 2005 and Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize nominee in 2011, Gwilym has worked extensively throughout Europe with the cream of British and international jazz artists including Steve Swallow, Adam Nussbaum, Steve Rodby, John Taylor, Norma Winstone, Dave Holland, Kenny Wheeler, Lee Konitz, Bill Bruford’s Earthworks, Bob Mintzer and Bobby McFerrin.

How can you get involved?
This February, we’ll be launching the Commission Crowd; a campaign to help raise the £2,000 needed to make our London premiere of Gwilym Simcock’s new piece happen. New music is at the heart of what we do and you’ll be able to support the performance by donating any amount online, from £5 to £500.

How does it work?
You can support the Orchestra by donating online (click the orange link at the bottom of the page). Everyone who donates will have their name printed in our Cadogan Hall programme, with additional benefits available at different levels of donation, from limited edition badges to invites to meet Gwilym and Michael!

Click here to donate to Commission Crowd and support Gwilym Simcock’s new commission for Michael Collins and City of London Sinfonia!

Seasons Greetings!

We’d like to wish all our supporters and audiences a very Happy Christmas and look forward to seeing you at the Natural / Supernatural festival in 2014. Please note the office will close on Monday 23 December and will reopen on Thursday 2 Blog cardJanuary 2014.

Card design by Steph Ramplin stephramplin.blogspot.co.uk

Our next London Season launches

Our next London season is fast approaching and we’ve got a jammed packed programme which sees the return of favourites CLoSer and Crash Bang Wallop!, alongside our Hot Tunes Cold War concert series beginning in September as well performances of perennial favourites: Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah. As always we’ve got a fantastic array of guest artists lined up too including: jazz pianist Gwilym Simcock, baritone Roderick Williams, soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and singer/songwriter Mara Carlyle.

Find out where you can see us and what’s on in our new online brochure:

online London Season brochure
online London Season brochure

2012 – the year that was at City of London Sinfonia

It’s that time of year when we look back at the year that was and forward to the year that will be! We asked some of the City of London Sinfonia team what their own personal CLS highlight of 2012 was…

CLoSer - the final review

“My highlight definitely has to be our performance with Gwilym Simcock at the London Jazz Festival. I missed the initial performance at CLoSer in April so it was really great to have the opportunity to watch the musicians doing their thing and rocking out on Gwilym’s Move! I can’t wait for our recording to be released in 2013.”
Steph, Development & Marketing Assistant

L'chaim November credit Gillian Hunter

“A highlight of the year for me has been to see our Wellbeing through Music programme expand. Thanks to a number of charitable trusts and individual supporters, our musicians are currently taking high quality live music to Great Ormond Street Hospital, Evelina Children’s Hospital, St Joseph’s Hospice, the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, the Dementia Research Centre and Jewish Care Homes in North London. Our Wellbeing through Music programme enhances the quality of life of hundreds of patients, residents and their families. I have been lucky enough to see this work in action and it is fantastic that we are able to take the joy of live music to so many different people.”
Ruth, Development Manager

CLoSer part two - in words and pictures

“CLoSer concerts at Village Underground have been my highlight. There’s something very special about the atmosphere at CLoSer – Michael Collins playing the Copland clarinet concerto was a particular favourite moment! Also, working with Gwilym Simcock at CLoSer, London Jazz Festival and in the recording studio has been amazing. We’ve had a lot of fun in the office as well, usually on ‘Cake Friday’ when we find ourselves making snowmen or magic hats in preparation for a Crash Bang Wallop! concert.”
Becca, Concerts Manager

Crash Bang Wallop

“The few months I have been working for CLS in 2012 have been exciting and challenging. My highlight would probably be the Crash, Bang Wallop Christmas concert. It was great to see the children so involved in the music and having fun making the craft activities beforehand.”
Hannah, Education Intern


“2012 will forever be synonymous with sport and the Olympics and Paralympics, so it was fantastic that we were able to take part in a small way in the Olympic Torch Relay on the penultimate day of its journey with our partners Opera Holland Park, and the Paralympic Torch Relay a month later in Suffolk. We also celebrated endurance and strength earlier on in the year with our Conquering the Antarctic tour, which was performed to packed venues and which brought many audience members into contact with the Orchestra for the very first time”
Alex, Marketing & PR Manager

Crash Bang Wallop

“My highlight of 2012 was seeing our principal horn, Steve and sub-principal trumpet, John in reindeer antlers at Crash Bang Wallop, playing the cheeky brass stabs in my arrangement of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to a packed Cadogan Hall. A unique and fabulous CLS experience!”
Gillian, Education Manager

_D8E3297_Stowmarket Lullaby Concert 2012_low-res (P Coghlin)

“The Sea and Sky Lullaby tour, if nothing else because of the amazing acting ability of our players, and for looking good in their jauntily angled sailors hats, but also because the music was amazing and the young children were completely rapt.”
Matthew, Chief Executive

Images: James Berry, Anna Jessiman, Paul Coghlin and Clare Parker