Resident and Associate Orchestra round up

Wednesday, July 22, 2020 - 12:47

One of the most fascinating aspects of lockdown life has been seeing the way in which musicians have adapted to the restrictions placed upon them in order to ensure the music plays on. In this round up we see the realisation of lockdown easing before our eyes, as pieces performed in isolation by artists from Chineke!, and the BBC Concert Orchestra give way to socially distant recitals from the Philharmonia and London Philharmonic orchestras. 

Plus, the Aurora Orchestra offer two tales of two cities, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment take inspiration from Bach; the London Sinfonietta get up close with contemporary clarinet and the National Youth Orchestra show how a Mighty River can provoke similarly mighty conversation.

Summer Sessions: Wind

from the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Summer Sessions are here!

After months of playing apart, the London Philharmonic Orchestra have finally come back together again to deliver four online concerts. This Summer Session series began on 15 July with Strings, and continues on Wednesday 29 July at 7.30pm with the second concert of the quartet, Wind. In a performance live streamed for free on YouTube the LPO Wind section performs chamber music by Mozart, Rossini and Janáček.

more about LPO Summer Sessions



Sheku performs Saint-Saëns

from the Philharmonia Orchestra

Philharmonia Sessions: Sheku performs Saint-Saëns

Like the LPO, the Philharmonia Orchestra have also launched a new series of online performances, beginning with this celebration of string playing recorded at Battersea Arts Centre. Star cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason performs Saint-Saëns’s lyrical Cello Concerto No. 1.

The special 50 minute home concert also sees John Wilson conduct one of the nation’s favourite pieces, the Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. Vaughan Williams’s rhapsodic masterpiece is well suited to socially-distanced performance – with musicians divided into two mini-orchestras and a string quartet, and placed as far apart as possible, to weave a web of luminous sound around the listener.

see all Philharmonia Sessions



The Science of Laughter

from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

The Science of Laughter | Bach, the Universe & Everything

For their online series Bach, the Universe and Everything, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment have drawn on the environment of St Thomas church in Leipzig where, from 1723 until his death in 1750, Bach produced innovative music for the weekly services. In the spirit of the church’s congregation – who were open to new ideas, and bound by faith – each edition offers a thought-provoking cantata and a talk from a leading scientist.

In this concert Neuroscientist Dr Sophie Scott discusses the science of laughter and why we instinctively try to make each other laugh to get through difficult times. Whilst Bach's BWV 113 – in which laughter can be heard in the Chorale and Recitative, with a burst of playful semiquavers in the continuo cello – provides the cantata.



Introduction to Contemporary Clarinet

from the London Sinfonietta

Lockdown Live - Introduction to Contemporary Clarinet

In their Lockdown Live series London Sinfonietta players have been diving into the nuances of contemporary performance on their instruments, and exploring how they are used in a contemporary setting. In this particular video, London Sinfonietta principal clarinettist Mark van de Wiel explores contemporary writing for clarinet, with a focus on the clarinet solo from Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time.

London Sinfonietta’s Lockdown Live series



Four Places

from the Aurora Orchestra


This film-infused broadcast from the Aurora Orchestra pairs two contrasting responses to places in America: Charles Ives’ haunting ode to New England, and a vivid portrait of New York by Michael Gordon and Bill Morrison. The film initially premiered on YouTube on Sunday 12 July as part of the orchestra’s Aurora Play digital series.

Aurora Play digital series



BBC Radio 2 House Music Sessions

from the BBC Concert Orchestra

Radio 2 House Music - Nell Bryden with the BBC Concert Orchestra - Sirens

Launched during lockdown to enable Radio 2 listeners to continue to enjoy live music during lockdown, House Music Sessions sees performers team up with the BBC Concert Orchestra from their home.

This video features Nell Bryden performing a special arrangement of her 2012 song Sirens. Other House Music Sessions performers include Jack Savoretti and Melanie C.

BBC Concert Orchestra House Music sessions



Filmed in Lockdown: No Human Is An Island

from Chineke! orchestra

Harpist Ruby Aspinal, who appears in the film for No Human is an Island

Commissioned by the BBC as part of their Culture in Quarantine programme, ‘No Human is an Island’ is a song and short film by Tom Hickox, featuring Chineke! Orchestra. Written two weeks into lockdown, the song draws on John Donne’s iconic poem of the same name, echoing the need for community and physical contact in human life. 

Recorded and produced under lockdown the film, directed by Grammy nominated Nicolas Jack Davies, allows us to see each concert musician performing the song out of context, in their own home.

watch the performance



Mighty River 

from the National Youth Orchestra

NYO Music Trail

Last month #BlackoutTuesday saw music-lovers flood social media with black squares to show support for racial justice and equality in the music industry and beyond. Prompted by this, the National Youth Orchestra’s community of young people have chosen to explore, learn and discover music by a more diverse range of voices.  

As a musical starting point, the NYO will rehearse and perform Mighty River; a piece by Belize-born British composer Errollyn Wallen, which explores the history of the slave trade in Britain, with spirituals and gospel music at its core.   

The piece also offers a jumping off point for contextual discussions: as the NYO take the opportunity to educate themselves, and the young people in our community, to be alive to a range of viewpoints and stories, and equip them with an understanding to foster a more equal way forward in the sector. You can follow their journey on the hashtag #NYOMightyRiver. 

find out more


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