Tuesday 5 December 2023

Birdsong, audience participation and a new Composer in Residence: the London Philharmonic Orchestra's new chamber music series at St John's Waterloo

St John's Waterloo
St John's Waterloo

Following two sold-out performances of Gavin Bryars’s Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet earlier in the year at St John's Waterloo, the London Philharmonic Orchestra LPO is continuing its partnership with the venue with a short season of chamber music concerts showcasing members of the LPO. The repertoire will include contemporary works by living composers, as well as arrangements of the likes of Duke Ellington and Stevie Wonder for surprising instrument combinations. The partnership between the LPO and St John's Waterloo also includes joint Education and Community projects, including accessible participatory musical experiences with the local communities that both serve.

The series opens on 17 January 2024 with John Luther Adams' songbirdsongs, a work based on Adams' own observations and studies of bird songs, scoring them for various ensembles of piccolos and ocarinas, and rather than having a fixed score, each musician performs their part from the composer’s instructions.

On 7 February the programme focuses on Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and George Gershwin with songs by Duke Ellington arranged by David Schiff for clarinet and string quartet, Simon Bainbridge’s tribute to Miles Davis, For Miles, and Carl Davis' arrangements of Gershwin for clarinet and strings. There will also be two funk soul songs, by Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder, arranged for four bassoons.

12 March sees the audience invited to participate, with Alex Ho's Breathe and Draw for sinfonietta, two conductors and audience participation, and Ryan Carter's Concerto Molto Grosso for audience and orchestra, and Ligeti's Poème symphonique for 100 metronomes. Alex Ho is an alumnus of the LPO Young Composers scheme, whilst the concert will be conducted by two LPO Fellow Conductors, Luis Castillo-Briceño and Charlotte Politi. The concert is part of the LPO's The Music in You festival, which celebrates the creativity in everyone, no matter their musical ability or background. 

The final concert in the season, on 22 May, is Streetwise Opera’s Re:Discover festival, celebrating the works of composers of African and Caribbean heritage, and features two works by the LPO’s new Composer-in-Residence, Tania León, plus further works yet to be announced.

Full details from the LPO website.

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