Tag Archives: news

City of London Sinfonia joins the RSPB’s campaign to celebrate birdsong through music in concert venues, hospitals, schools and day centres

In partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and RSPB President Miranda Krestovnikoff, City of London Sinfonia (CLS) joins the call to celebrate birdsong in music. In their Absolute Bird spring concert series and wider social programme, CLS explores the wondrous sounds of nature at a time of growing environmental threats.

Featuring diverse artists including vocalist and violinist Alice Zawadzki, recorder player Genevieve Lacey, folksinger Sam Lee, and conductors Jessica Cottis and Sian Edwards, the Absolute Bird series culminates in three concerts at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Southwark Cathedral in May 2019 celebrating 800 years of awe-inspiring music.

The Orchestra’s London series supports the release of the RSPB’s Let Nature Sing recording, a specially created track of pure birdsong highlighting the loss of 40 million wild birds and their calls from our skies. The charity is calling on the public to download, stream and share the single to indicate that they are passionate about nature’s recovery, with the aspiration of entering the Charts. The track, to be released on 26 April, was directed by Sam Lee who performs with CLS on 24 May, and co-composed by Bill Barclay, who is currently touring King of Ghosts with CLS and Soumik Datta following their 2017 recording on Globe Music. Continue reading City of London Sinfonia joins the RSPB’s campaign to celebrate birdsong through music in concert venues, hospitals, schools and day centres

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“From Bingo to Bartok”: Creative and Innovative Approaches to Involving Older People with Orchestras

On 25 January 2019, we published “From Bingo to Bartok”: Creative and Innovative Approaches to Involving Older People with Orchestras, a free online publication with Orchestras Live and commissioned by the Baring Foundation.

Co-edited by our very own CEO Matthew Swann and Orchestras Live CEO Sarah Derbyshire, From Bingo to Bartok illustrates some of the best examples of orchestral work engaging older people from many classical music organisations around the UK.

The publication’s case studies cover projects in communities where classical music is supporting older people living better lives and meeting the challenges of health and loneliness – about which Matthew says:

“These projects show how orchestras can bring huge societal benefit in an area of growing need. They also show how these same projects can deliver enormous artistic and organisation benefits to orchestras through developing the skills of our musicians, creating performance opportunities and opening income streams.”

Download From Bingo to Bartok

You can view our own case studies in chapters five and seven, detailing our approach to sharing music experiences with older people in care homes and to intergenerational concerts through Relaxed performances.

Find out more about our Wellbeing work

Pick of the Week – 29 January

What’s been happening in the arts this week? As part of our blog series, Pick of the Week, we’ve picked our favourite stories, interesting exhibitions and most thought-provoking debates we’ve seen and heard this week.

Ed Vaizey: ‘no excuse’ for lack of diversity in British orchestras

Two weeks ago we wrote about positive action in classical music. The culture minister has now added his voice to the call for orchestras to do more to become more ethnically diverse; “I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to see people from all our communities reflected in our arts”.

Repeating some lessons

Every few months it seems someone new is warning us that classical music is dying out, only to be contradicted almost immediately by someone else saying that classical music is doing better than ever. One thing that’s clear, though, is that classical music’s audiences are changing. In this blog, Greg Sandow discusses ways music organisations can keep up with that change.

Dutch police smashed an opera singer’s front door in because they thought he was screaming in agony

And finally! On the one hand this is an hilarious story. On the other hand, it’s not the best review of this poor man’s singing!

 

Pick of the Week – 8 January

What’s been happening in the arts this week? As part of our blog series, Pick of the Week, we’ve picked our favourite stories, interesting exhibitions and most thought-provoking debates we’ve seen and heard this week.

 

Music in the Brain

With the help of an fMRI machine, neuroscientists at MIT have discovered a group of brain cells in the auditory cortex which respond specifically to music. Maybe music really is hardwired into us? 

Can talking about music add to our understanding of it?

Inspired by this very moving article, Lawrence Kramer asks why we tend to be reluctant to capture musical experience with words. And when we do, can it help us not only to make sense of the music itself, but also our own lives?

CLoSer
Quartet for the End of Time. Village Underground. 23 April 2014.
Design a wig

We’re finishing this week with a bit of light relief. This is a rather addictive little game from the V&A where you can design your own 18th century wig. Here’s one of our more modest constructions…

design a wig

Pick of the Week – 20 November

What’s been happening in the arts this week? As part of our blog series, Pick of the Week, we’ve picked our favourite stories, interesting exhibitions and most thought-provoking debates we’ve seen and heard this week.

 

Can you get high on art?

A neuroscientist, an art critic, and a neuroaesthetics expert (this sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it really isn’t!) were asked whether they thought it possible for art to induce the same sorts of responses as taking drugs. They agreed that art can certainly have a profound effect – even in your brain chemistry – but is it really the same as chemically enhancing your perceptions?

 

The art of slowing down in a museum

On a related note, this article in the New York Times offers a great alternative to the ways in which we tend to engage with works in museums and galleries. Are we so busy trying to tick off all the ‘must sees’ that we’re missing out on what art can really offer us? Professor James O. Pawelski raises a compelling case for taking things more slowly.

 

The wackiest art heist ever

We finish this week with some light relief and this story of a bizarre art theft in the 1960s. In fact, the story is such a strange delight, we don’t want to spoil it by saying too much…

 

PICK OF THE WEEK – 28 AUGUST

What’s been happening in the arts this week? As part of our latest blog series, Pick of the Week, we’ve picked our favourite stories, interesting exhibitions and most thought-provoking debates we’ve seen and heard this week.

Why do we hear the work of so few female classical composers?

A-level student Jessy McCabe launched a petition last week to include female composers on the Edexcel syllabus, after noticing that all 63 set composers this year were men. In fact, across the three main exam boards, only one set composer is female. What do you think? Which composers would you choose for the syllabus?

Boy trips in museum and punches hole through painting

It was a bad day for paintings after a 12 year old boy tripped and damaged a 17th century painting on loan to a gallery in Taipei. Surely everyone’s worst nightmare?

A new commission from Southbank Centre by James Bulley and Daniel Jones

We were really excited to see Vespers, a new sound installation that composes a musical score in real-time, drawn from the online activity of the United Kingdom. Each day, the work begins afresh with a blank score, searching through text and sound material posted online across the day, progressively composing a voice-led score that reflects and portrays our everyday concerns. The installation is on the second floor at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre until Monday (31 August) so make sure you catch it before it goes!

PICK OF THE WEEK – 14 AUGUST

What’s been happening in the arts this week? As part of our latest blog series, Pick of the Week, we’ve picked our favourite stories and most thought-provoking debates we’ve seen and heard in the news this week.

 

Can music relieve the pain of surgery and help recovery?

There’s been some fascinating research published in the Lancet this week about music in hospitals. They found that listening to music during and after operations helped to reduce pain and speed up healing. We’ve definitely seen first-hand how live music helps with stress and anxiety in hospitals. Brilliant that they’re doing more research in the area!

Orchestras are broadening their scope for the better

Have a look at the changing roles orchestras have played in people’s lives in Robert Ziegler’s fascinating article. From whole family affairs in communist Europe, to playing soundtracks live over their films, orchestras are always looking for ways to engage their audiences and to be relevant to their lives. With funding cuts and music education under threat, orchestras are leading the way in discovering new ways to bring their music to new audiences in new and exciting ways.

French right-wing tells artists: Earn your keep

France has long been a safe haven for the arts, with state subsidies and support for artists. But things might be changing. The local government in Frejus, on the French Riviera, has demanded that artists provide free workshops for school-children in return for their subsidised rents. In what is becoming a heated debate, supporters of the local government are in favour of the artists giving back to society, while the artists are wary of being forced to volunteer without the infrastructure or training to do so.

Where do you stand on the issue? Should volunteering be forced upon the artists, or are they doing enough to revitalise the town already? You can comment below, and we’d love to hear from you.