World premiere commissions from Cheryl Frances-Hoad [pictured], Dobrinka Tabakova & Huw Watkins

UK premiere of Donghoon Shin’s ‘My Shadow’

Revival of John Tavener’s ‘The Hidden Face’

Featuring guest artists: William Morgan, Geoffrey Paterson & Roderick Williams OBE

Immersive installations & interactive soundscapes

in CLS’ ‘seriously informal’ signature style

Thursday 22 July 2021: To celebrate its 50th anniversary, City of London Sinfonia (CLS) is delighted to announce ‘Origin’, a four-part concert series across the 2021-22 season, featuring world premiere commissions from Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Dobrinka Tabakova and Huw Watkins; a UK premiere from Donghoon Shin; the revival of CLS’ 1996 commission, ‘The Hidden Face’, by John Tavener; and performances from guest artists including William Morgan, Geoffrey Paterson and Roderick Williams OBE.

‘Origin’ reflects on City of London Sinfonia’s remarkable history and celebrates what defines the orchestra today. Over the past five decades – and building on the legacy of its founder, Richard Hickox  CLS has championed outstanding British composers, commissioning more than 55 pieces from more than 35 composers, many as early career and emerging artists. They include Malcolm Arnold, Tansy Davies, Colin Matthews, Cecilia McDowall, John Rutter, Gwilym Simcock and John Tavener. ‘Origin’ continues this tradition with four commissions premiering in the 50th anniversary season.

More recently, CLS has grown its spirit of innovation across a raft of sector-leading research-driven programmes that engage people in interactive music-making and sharing across mental health, social prescribing, dementia care, and hospital settings. In 2020, the Orchestra won the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Impact Award for this work, and though each programme is bespoke, all are driven by the Orchestra’s musicians and delivered one-to-one or in small groups, to promote an open and relaxed environment where creative inspiration can flourish. Re-engaging people  including those most at risk of social isolation  in the joy of classical music sits proudly at the forefront of everything CLS does today. Each concert in the ‘Origin’ series is infused with this spirit of inclusivity and collaboration, and unexpected elements punctuate the season including immersive installations and interactive soundscapes, all presented in CLS’ ‘seriously informal’ signature style.

Alexandra Wood, City of London Sinfonia’s Creative Director & Orchestra Leader, said: The 50th anniversary ‘Origin’ season has been programmed to mirror the arc of our Orchestra’s story, honouring tradition yet always looking firmly forward, spotlighting our unique approach through themes that are woven throughout the season. For example, themes of human wellbeing and mental health awareness – such as the Cheryl Frances-Hoad commission – speak to our work in health and social care contexts. This work is an anchor for our Orchestra, it sets us apart and informs everything we do. Each concert in the season features surprising and original interactive elements as we seek to deepen the connection with our audiences. ‘Origin’ marks a really special moment in our history and I hope that our concerts will entice and inspire, be thought provoking and nourishing, as well as helping people get to know us better”.

John Singer, Chairman of City of London Sinfonia, said: “’Origin’ celebrates City of London Sinfonia’s continuing specialty of creating the present by combining elements of past and future. Musical masterworks alongside freshly commissioned contemporary work; our distinguished residence, Southwark Cathedral, reimagined with unexpected interactive soundscapes and installations; loyalty to long-standing friends and collaborators, such as Roderick Williams and Dobrinka Tabakova, while welcoming new friends, such as Donghoon Shin, Huw Watkins and Cheryl Frances-Hoad. Regarding our award-winning social impact work, ‘Origin’ demonstrates how we have built our pioneering research-driven platform from early participation work in the community to today’s creative, collaborative practice in health and social care contexts. It now drives the way the Orchestra performs everywhere, breaking down barriers and deepening our connection with audiences”.