Residence orchestras: lockdown picks from our classical partners

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 21:47

Looks like they’ve been keeping themselves busy… This month, our Residence and Associate Orchestras are sharing the most impressive performances in their archives, activities to brighten indoor afternoons in lockdown, and ever more ambitious digital collaborations (look out for an 81-player multi-track extravaganza from Chineke!)

For you, that means the digital version of a front-row seat at concerts by world-renowned orchestras, and a better understanding than ever of what’s really going on backstage. Plus, some surprising musical treats and the chance to actually join in with a performance. 

LPOnline performances

from the London Philharmonic Orchestra

LPOnline: Stand by me

It’s a fact that mini versions of things often provoke an outsize amount of delight. Some people are into doll’s house furniture or Chihuahuas. We like orchestral musicians small enough to carry around in a laptop. 

Settle down wherever you are and enjoy a performance from London Philharmonic Orchestra players, filmed so you can see every flick of each violinist’s wrist. We recommend sipping your morning coffee to Britten’s enchanting music for harp. 

enjoy more LPOnline performances



Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts Mahler’s Symphony No.3 

from the Philharmonia Orchestra

Mahler 3: Watch Party #StayHome #WithMe

The Philharmonia Orchestra invites you to take ‘the best seat in your house’ for their 2017 performance of Gustav Mahler’s Third Symphony. It’s introduced by players who took part, who also answer questions in the comments. 

Mahler’s Third is a piece in which the composer tried to stuff everything he’d learned about life by his mid-thirties (his original movement titles include ‘what the animals in the forest tell me’ and ‘what love tells me’). 

It’s one of the most impressive symphonies in the repertoire, demanding a huge orchestra, choirs and a soloist: in this performance, American mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung. 



Tea with Netty, featuring Alina Ibragimova

from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Bow to Reason: Alina Ibragimova

In cosy podcast ‘Tea with Netty’, the OAE’s viola player, Netty Isserlis, offers audiences an insider perspective on what’s brewing backstage. 

Most recently, Netty popped the kettle on for a chat with violinist Alina Ibragimova, who was scheduled to perform with the orchestra last week in Queen Elizabeth Hall. Ibragimova was all set to perform as the guest soloist in a little-known violin concerto by Michael Haydn; instead, she chats to Netty about how she’s coping during the lockdown, her childhood, and the merits of goat yoga. 

listen to the podcast



3D Audio with Shiva Feshareki

from the London Sinfonietta

Lockdown Live - Sinfonietta Shorts 27th May 2020

Don’t forget your headphones: in their latest livestream, London Sinfonietta presents a virtual 360-degree audio experience (one you're supposed to listen to with earbuds, not speakers). 

Log on at 3pm on Wednesday 27 May for the world premiere of ORBIT, by turntable musician Shiva Feshareki (it also includes a Q&A session). 

She explains: ‘I created both the electronic sound manipulation and the 3D-audio spatial movement live in improvisation using CDJs, turntables, analogue tape echo, and state-of-the-art touch-sensitive spatial software. I then transform this material using techniques I have invented, which use the kinetic motion of the turntables.’



Aurora Play

from the Aurora Orchestra

Aurora Play: Join in with Jessie

The Aurora Orchestra’s digital portal gives you access not just to the most spectacular highlights from their performance archive (did we mention they often play from memory?), but also activities for listeners. 

If you’d like an especially engaging way of getting into classical music at home, we recommend their ‘Join in with Jessie’ series, in which workshop leader Jessie Maryon Davies invites you to dance along to pieces by Berlioz and Beethoven. 

Her interpretive moves have been a bit of a hit with families, as you’ll see from the orchestra’s social media.

join in with Aurora Play



The W1A theme

from the BBC Concert Orchestra

BBC Concert Orchestra remake the W1A theme tune! | BBC Trailers

Cheery, bittersweet, somehow inducing nostalgia… Las Vegas by Laurie Johnson was written in 1960 for the BBC series Animal Magic but will be familiar to many from the BBC’s spoof documentary W1A

The BBC Concert Orchestra play it from their homes in lockdown, as BBC Head of Values Ian Fletcher (ok fine, it’s actor Hugh Bonneville) gives a one-off address from his home executive office – the ‘only place to be going forward.’



A collaborative performance of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Othello Suite

from Chineke! orchestra

Music Across the Ocean: behind the scenes with Chineke! and Sphinx

Each time we ask our orchestras what they’re up to, it seems they’ve managed to perform together in greater numbers through the trailblazing use of technology. 

This series of videos from Chineke! Orchestra and the USA’s Sphinx Organisation – who are collaborating across the pond in lockdown – features musicians performing in no fewer than 81 different homes (including nine conductors). 

They play music by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a mixed-race composer born in 1875, as part of the Music Across the Ocean, a project setting out to amplify the voices of artists of colour during a pandemic that is deeply affecting their communities. 

A video of all five movements will be released this Sunday 24 May 2020. 



Our Musical Planet

from the National Youth Orchestra

NYO: Our Musical Planet

After viewing all these online musical collaborations, some of you must be itching to join in – and the National Youth Orchestra wants you to do just that. At 5pm on Sunday 29 May 2020, they’re hosting a live, socially distanced performance of ‘Jupiter’ from Holst’s The Planets for anyone who can sing or play an instrument. 

There are four ways you can take part in the performance at 5pm on Sunday 29 May 2020. You can download the music and join the performance solo, sharing a window into your world. You can remix the orchestral sounds and share your creation. You can sing the ‘Song of the Planet’ (lyrics will be released on Instagram live at 6pm on Thursday 21 May 2020). Or you can perform with others (at a distance) by downloading the parts in the NYO’s five-part arrangement.  

Time to find your best backdrop and get practicing. 



The show must go on(line)

Sadly, for everyone’s safety, our venues are currently closed. But you can still get your Southbank Centre fix online. We will continue to share inspiring and thought-provoking arts stories through our website and social channels.

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As a charity, we rely on ticket sales for a huge chunk of our income. But now they’ve stopped. And it's a huge worry to us, and the people we work with. We all need the escape of art and culture; it can inspire and unite us. So please – if you can afford to – consider a donation to the Southbank Centre today, to help us be there for you in the future.

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