Association of British Orchestras

City of London Sinfonia

Contact details

1st Floor, Radisson Court 219 Long Lane
City of London Sinfonia (CLS) is the orchestral home to over 40 outstanding professional musicians who come together in the shared belief that music has the power to transform the lives of people across all areas of society. They bring a distinctive, seriously informal style to everything they do, breaking down the barriers between their musicians and audiences – whether performing on a world-famous music stage or sharing musical, creative experiences with residents in care homes and hospital schools. Led by Creative Director and Leader Alexandra Wood, CLS conceives and delivers innovative artistic programmes with associate partners and artists, including project leaders with specialist skills, musicians in classical, jazz, folk and contemporary music, and artists in film, dance or visual art. The imaginative concepts and themes – often relating to science, nature, history or philosophy – influence and inform their wellbeing and education projects just as much as their concert series, bringing the adventure, intrigue and enjoyment of these programmes to all their audiences. In the 2018-19 Season, CLS celebrated 30 years of inspiring wellbeing and education work in their year-round participation programme of ‘in-the-moment’ and creative music-making projects. CLS musicians are at the heart of the programme, working alongside specialist workshop leaders in the planning and delivery of projects in a range of settings including care homes, hospital schools, hospices and in mainstream education. Musicians also lead the 'Comfortable Classical' relaxed concert series, in partnership with the Albany, Deptford. CLS’s residencies include Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital School, working alongside young people (aged 8-18) who have severe mental health conditions, and Headway East London, a specialist day centre for people affected by brain injury. Participants work with sound artist Gawain Hewitt and CLS musicians to create new music in response to the Orchestra’s artistic programmes. In May 2019, the participants’ compositions – inspired by the Orchestra’s 'Absolute Bird' concert series – were recorded and featured within sound installations, which audience members were able to interact with at concerts. For over 20 years, CLS musicians have led weekly music sessions for children and their families on hospital wards at major NHS Trusts in London, including Evelina Children’s and University College London hospitals, encouraging artistic expression of patients and a distraction from the everyday. Musicians also work alongside workshop leaders in care homes (Jewish Care) and hospices (St Christopher’s Hospice), creating music with and for participants. CLS’s Creative Primaries project takes place throughout the school year with Key Stage 1 pupils in partnership with Tower Hamlets Arts Music Education Service and Harrow Music Service, focussing on schools in socioeconomically deprived areas and providing children with an opportunity to experience the joy and fun of live music and artistic creativity with a professional orchestra. The Orchestra enjoys its partnerships with a diverse range of artists, including Genevieve Lacey, Soumik Datta, Brett Dean, Sam Lee, Sian Edwards and Roderick Williams OBE, giving over 75 performances every year anywhere from an East London club to an international concert hall, and in its residencies at Opera Holland Park and St Paul’s Cathedral. Special engagements in recent years have included tours to Mexico, Japan and Ireland, and recordings such as 'King of Ghosts' with sarodist and composer Soumik Datta (Globe Music, 2017), Stuart Hancock’s 'We’re Going on a Bear Hunt' (Sony Classical, 2017) and 'Hana Wa Saku' (‘Flowers will bloom’), a collection of Japanese folksongs (Nimbus Alliance, 2016). In 2018, CLS pioneered 'Mindful Music', a programme aiming to improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace through a combination of live music and mindful meditation. The Orchestra also produces 'We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Live in Concert' (premiered 2018), a live orchestral screening of Lupus Films’ animation and Stuart Hancock’s award-winning score, in association with Intermusica. In addition to all their weekly activities, the Orchestra is working with King’s College London and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) in a new ‘Sound Young Minds’ research project, aiming to measure the impact of their music projects in mental health settings. They are also designing a new series of intergenerational concerts with Orchestras Live, building on their ten-year success of concerts for children aged two to five.

Annual Conference

The ABO conference will be held online from 10-12 March 2021.