Tag Archives: St Joseph’s Hospice

2013 – 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 2013 was…


CLOSER: The New Babylon, 23 October 2013
‘A packed house for The New Babylon at CLoSer. More people than we could deal with (almost) for Shostakovich’s silent film
Matthew Swann, Chief Executive


Outreach project at St Joseph’s Hospice, May 2013
‘The Hospice Harmony project at St Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney with John K Miles and a CLS quartet,  one of the most moving projects I’ve been a part of.’
Gillian Hunter-Gibbs, Educations Manager


The Fauré Requiem Tour 2013
‘Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme of Tallis being played in 10 cathedrals by our fantastic string players – moved me to tears every time.’
Matthew Swann, Chief Executive

Crash Bang Wallop

Crash Bang Wallop! Christmas Special, December 2013
‘Pushing Claire Bloor across the Cadogan Hall stage in a custom made box whilst wearing an elf hat!’

Becca Newman, Concert Manager


Lullaby Tour, Autumn 2013
‘Watching the musicians throw themselves into the ‘Mad Professor’ tour with Claire Bloor – their outfits and hair styles got madder each day!’

Gillian Hunter-Gibbs, Education Manager


CLOSER: Tim Garland, February 2013
‘The audience vote for February’s CLOSER. It was really exciting to see which piece the audience would choose and it was definitely a close call towards the end – there were only a few votes in it. The Schnittke sounded spectacular in Village Underground and it was great that our audience was able to have an input in the programming.’
Steph Ramplin, Development and Marketing Assistant

Cathedrals October 2013 054

The Fauré Requiem Tour 2013
‘For me, it has to be our epic ten-date national cathedrals tour which saw the Orchestra and Artistic Director working and performing with the cathedral choirs and organists in Durham, Ely, Portsmouth, Derby, Coventry, Guildford, Exeter, Chester, Southwell and Liverpool. A wonderful chance to take music (including a brand new commission from Gabriel Jackson) to new audiences around the country and for cathedral musicians to work with a professional orchestra thanks to our tour supporters Friends of Cathedral Music, Arts Council England and the Foyle Foundation. Watch this space for the next instalment in 2015/16…!’
Ruth Mulvey, Development Manager

Elaine cathedral pic

Chester Cathedral, The Fauré Requiem Tour 2013
Sitting behind / underneath the organ pipes in Chester Cathedral during the Cathedrals tour. I could see the second orchestra for the RVW but got the full effectof the organ in the Poulenc – amazing !’
Elaine Baines, Chief Operating Officer

The Great Enormo credit James Berry

Arnold’s Grand, Grand Overture at Brighton Festival, May 2013
‘My favourite moment for the year has got to be a personal one. Once a year my concert management services are required and I am let out of the office. At this concert in Brighton I could finally tell people the adoption service had found us a little girl because everything had been agreed, yet despite my excitement Elaine (Chief Operating Officer) still let me loose with a gun for the Arnold Grand, Grand Overture!’
Jacqui Compton, Librarian

Coming up in 2014…
Natural / Supernatural Festival
Spring 2014


Month in Pictures: May 2013

After a jam-packed May, we’ve finally had time to sit down, catch our breath and bring you another edition of Month in Pictures. Last month, we were on the road visiting cathedrals up and down the country as part of our Fauré Requiem Tour and we’ve loved meeting new audiences in Durham, Ely, Portsmouth and Derby. Bring on the next leg of the tour in October! It’s also been a busy month for our Education Team with Little Red Riding Hood’s Crash Bang Wallop!, our ongoing Key Stage 1 project in Tower Hamlets and the culmination of our workshops at St Joseph’s Hospice as part of Dying Matters week. And if that’s not enough, there’s been a new arrival at the office in the form of our Chief Operating Officer’s adorable puppy, Dolly! If you were at Crash Bang Wallop! on 11 May, you’ll know who we’re talking about…


There’s an impostor in the office! Not really – it’s just the Big, Bad Wolf gearing up for our workshop in Tower Hamlets


And here he is entertaining the masses with some fine musical accompaniment from the City of London Sinfonia Brass Quintet


Air Trombone: our Tower Hamlets project participants show you how it’s done

Buggy Park CBW credit ALEX

Buggy park at Cadogan Hall. Must be another Crash Bang Wallop!

Ely Cathedral choristers with our Principal Conductor Stephen Layton and composer Gabriel Jackson

Stephen Layton, Gabriel Jackson and the wonderful choristers at Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral, 'the Ship of the Fens', our second stop on the Tour and the venue for our BBC Radio 3 broadcast

Ely Cathedral in all its glory!

Choir and Orchestra in concert at Derby Cathedral

Choir and Orchestra in action at Derby Cathedral

DOLLY!! Credit Steph

Dolly the puppy (future City of London Sinfonia mascot?)


Volunteers, patients and City of London Sinfonia musicians perform a brilliant concert for us at St Joseph’s Hospice

Wellbeing Through Music at St Joseph’s Hospice

Last Friday, our string quartet were at St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney to perform in a concert that was the culmination of a musical project with John K Miles and the patients, volunteers and staff at the hospice. This project formed part of Dying Matters week, which aims to change public knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards dying, death and bereavement. Over the past few weeks, John has been working with City of London Sinfonia and the participants to compose new music that is inspired by their experiences, thoughts and feelings.

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We caught up with John briefly, ahead of the concert in which the group came together to perform their work in front of an audience of friends, family and hospice patients and staff…

Could you tell us a bit about the project and who you are working with?

It’s a project in St Joseph’s Hospice and I’ve worked with a mixture of volunteers who have some connection to the hospice (one of our volunteers is a man named Paul who’s lost his wife and she was a patient here about two or three years ago), people who are outpatients at the hospice and also some of the hospice staff. Every week (including the concert day!) there’s been a new person join in so I feel that the project has really gathered momentum. I know CLS have worked with St Joseph’s Hospice before, having come in to perform concerts, and the idea was to put together a creative project, which we’ve done, and we’ve got some lovely stuff to perform.

The group will be performing poetry with music, we’ve got some songs that we’ve written together and we’re performing a couple of songs, workshop standards, that we’ll all be singing. Most of the material has been written by the group with the City of London Sinfonia quartet interjecting a couple of classics.

That sounds fantastic. How did you approach composing as a group? Could you tell us a little bit about the compositional process?

We more or less wrote songs on the fly – we didn’t have a formal songwriting process. Sometimes we did some brainstorming for words and sometimes the participants came to me with ideas. The group was very responsive, as soon as we had some words and suggestions for melodies we pretty much, straight away, had a basis for our first song  – it’s about the hospice. One of the volunteers is a poet  and he brought in a poem that he’d written, which we set to music and one of the other participants brought in the beginning of a song that she’d written and I added to it. I have added a couple of things to the songs here and there, sometimes harmonies, but the group’s been very responsive and it’s been very much a joint effort.

You have varying levels of abilities within the group. How do you approach working with non-musicians?

Well I find that the participants, non musicians or musicians, often have as good if not better ideas than me! Everybody puts in what they are able to reference and sometimes they are very unexpected things. I think that goes for anybody that I work with. For example, we’ve got a 91 year old participating in today’s concert – he brought in a great song from the 30s or 40s and we’ve made a funky arrangement of it for him to perform with the group. You could say we’ve brought it into… well… maybe to the 70s!

And what are the main things that you’ve enjoyed about this project and working with this group of people?

It’s been a privilege working with these people because they’ve very quickly built up a really good, cohesive feeling in the group and people have shared very personal things. It’s been really fantastic to work with them.

We took the camera along and managed to get some great shots of the group in action (see above). The concert was fantastic success with lots of opportunity for the audience to get involved!

Congratulations to all the patients, volunteers and staff at St Joseph’s Hospice for a fantastic concert.

Catch up with Meet the Music

Flashback: Meet the Music
Making a racket at one of our Lullaby workshops

It’s been an extremely hectic time for our Education team and musicians over the last couple of months, with numerous Meet the Music activities taking place. Here’s a flavour of what’s been going on…

Last weekend saw the success of another much-loved Crash Bang Wallop! concert at Cadogan Hall and while the leitmotifs of Stephen McNeff’s Squirrel Nutkin still  rattle around our heads, we are already looking ahead to the turn of Little Red Riding Hood when we return on the 11th May. In the mean time, however, our Meet the Music education team’s schedules are far from quiet…

First Time Live participants from the last project in Luton
First Time Live participants from the last project in Luton

This week sees our musicians partake in their final workshop for First Time Live at Harlow, which will culminate in the production of a concert on 21st March, completely engineered by Harlow’s finest, budding orchestra managers and composers! Under the expert guidance of our presenter, John K. Miles, and principal conductor, Michael Collins, our role in this project enables a group of brave young teenagers, who live in areas lying in the bottom 20% for levels of arts engagement, an opportunity to access, and be a part of, a live orchestral concert experience.

Turning our attention to a slightly younger audience, our Lullaby programme will this week be making a final visit to Clacton-on -Sea. Thanks to generous funding from Barnardo’s, we are able to take a quintet of musicians into three nurseries in Jaywick this Friday, followed by two interactive family concerts on Saturday, featuring excerpts from The Nutcracker and including our very own young ballerina! Next stop will be Purfleet and Under the Sea!

CLS Quartet performs at St Joseph's Hospice
CLS Quartet performs at St Joseph’s Hospice

But we don’t just take care of the little people… as part of our Wellbeing through Music programme, we also have an upcoming visit to the residents of St Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney, next week. We are excited about developing more opportunities to work with St Joseph’s over the next few months, including a potential composition project we have in the pipeline. We will also be performing at Guy’s Hospital on the 24th April (a lunchtime concert open to the public) and our players continue their  weekly visits to the children and families of Great Ormond Street Hospital and Evelina Children’s Hospital, bringing music as respite to those who need it the most.

Find out more about our Meet the Music Programme.

RETROSPECT: October in Pictures

Here’s a whistle stop tour of what we got up to in October, which included a visit to St Joseph’s Hospice for a performance as part of Hospice Care Week, as well as a return to Great Ormond Street Hospital for a lunchtime chamber concert. With concerts in Hereford, Yeovil, Oswestry, Truro and Egremont with the Katona Twins and Craig Ogden, the players have been very busy, not to mention their performance at Cadogan Hall with Michael Collins, featuring the music of John Adams (complete with cow noises!).

Oh the glamorous life of a musician… Craig Ogden’s dressing room in Truro!

The City of London Sinfonia Quartet perform at St Joseph’s Hospice

The Orchestra rehearse John Adams’ Grand Pianola Music with Michael Collins

Our Education Manager, Gillian, displaying her rather adventurous fashion sense ahead of our Lullaby concert tour to Suffolk.

Rehearsing with the Katona Twins at the Courtyard in Hereford

And finally… a shot from above at the Courtyard