CEO Statement – Lockdown, four months on
At the start of the Covid-19 lockdown in March, we announced, along with the rest of our friends and colleagues across the arts, that there would be no more performances in person for a while, and our vital activity with already vulnerable and socially isolated people would be on hiatus.
These past few months have been difficult, but through the creativity of our musicians, determination of our producing team and trustees, and the generosity of our funders, we have managed to continue to bring music to those who need it most through our Comfortable Classical at Home series and wider audiences through our Mindful Music sessions and Lockdown chats. These have attracted thousands of viewers and listeners and, importantly, have kept up that sense of ‘live’, with our musicians interacting with audiences as they've performed. In the last week, we have taken another step on the road to recovery with an outdoor performance with our friends at Opera Holland Park.
We have much to be positive about as we start to emerge from lockdown and think about the road back to performance. This is not to say that difficult and uncertain times are gone. We will still rely on the generosity of those who support us, our musicians will be making music in new settings and our producing team will be working harder than ever to ensure that everyone remains safe and healthy. In many cases, particularly those vulnerable individuals we make music with in psychiatric units and in care homes for those with advanced dementias, music-making will continue to be remote for a while longer.
We are pleased to say, though, that we are very much getting back to the live, the interactive and the in-person. We have live performances planned for early Autumn with our friends at Southwark Cathedral. Colleagues who have been on furlough for four months are returning. We have taken proactive steps to start our journey to be a more diverse, inclusive and equitable orchestra. And even though we are unable to meet some of those people we make music with in the same room, we are creating new ways of engaging with them that go beyond the usual digital platforms, allowing those people who find spoken communication difficult to once again be ‘in the moment’ with our musicians.
If you are reading this, there is every chance that you are part of the story of how we overcame the challenges of lockdown and continued to make music, by watching, listening, supporting and engaging with us – thank you. If you are new to City of London Sinfonia, then welcome. We look forward to seeing all of you very, very soon.
– Matthew Swann, Chief Executive
Published 30 July
CLS office and executive team
Our executive team is working from home until further notice; City of London Sinfonia’s office is currently closed. We are therefore unable to pick up the phone or post.
If you wish to get in touch with a member of staff directly, visit the Executive team page for contact details.
What's on: CLS during lockdown
We've been creating many videos, podcasts and blog posts during lockdown. Alongside our team, CLS musicians have been curating Comfortable Classical at Home concerts and Mindful Music sessions live from their homes. They’ve also been having fascinating Lockdown chats with each other and their industry pals.
Find out more and get all the links you need on our blog.
Go to blog >>
Go to our Facebook page to watch our concerts and sessions.
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How you can help CLS
We are currently facing uncertain times, with all performances and participation work for the Spring currently on hold, and this is particularly true for our musicians − the lifeblood of our organisation − as we are unsure when we will be able to resume performing and creating music with them and our audiences. If you are in a position to make a donation to CLS, this would be greatly appreciated to ensure that we are ready to go as soon as public performances and group gatherings are allowed.
We appreciate that the uncertainty reaches far beyond our organisation, and if this is not possible but you would like to support us, please do spread the word about CLS and our Comfortable Classical at Home concerts to anyone who may appreciate them.
March 2020: CEO Statement
Thank you to our Radio Rewrite audience, at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on Monday 16 March, for making it to our concert and supporting our musicians on the last day before social distancing measures were introduced. At the end of our rehearsal, an hour before doors opened, we took the decision to go ahead with the performance with the unanimous support of our musicians and our colleagues at Southbank Centre, knowing that it would be one of the last performances in the UK for a while.
We face uncertain times over the next few weeks and months. For the moment, we are suspending all public projects and performances taking place in the next few weeks until we have more details from government, our partners and venues. We are sorry to announce that 1920s Paris, the Crazy Years (28 April, Queen Elizabeth Hall) has been cancelled and that I’m a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star (20-23 May, Wilton’s Music Hall) has been postponed. More information will be sent to those who have already bought tickets for these events in the coming weeks – there is more information for ticket holders below.
It is particularly uncertain times for our musicians, and in fact all musicians and artists in London and across the UK. They are the lifeblood of this country’s cultural life and produce astonishing art every day. We’re relieved that Arts Council England and the Government are providing support for the cultural sector and its many freelance artists. We have also supported them by arranging for practical advice sessions with leading self-employment finance professionals, and through our Comfortable Classical at Home video series. We also ask all audiences that have booked tickets for any concerts, gigs and shows in the next few weeks – whether bought through us or elsewhere – to consider, if they can, donating their ticket price or more to help support musicians and artists in this difficult time.
To protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, the CLS office is now closed with all staff working from home, and some members of the team have been furloughed until such a time performances can recommence. Should you need to get in touch with me [Matthew], along with my colleagues Elaine, Emily, Fiona and Tasha, you can find contact details on the Executive Team page.
We hope to be making music with you all again in person very soon. In the meantime, stay safe and well, tune in to Comfortable Classical at Home, and we’ll send updates on future activity as and when we can.
- Matthew Swann, Chief Executive
Published 18 March | Updated 14 April
Info for London Season ticket holders
We appreciate your patience on dealing with cancellations and postponements in this difficult time.
The following events were postponed:
- 20-23 May: I'm a Rock 'n' Roll Star, Wilton's Music Hall
- 24 June: OHP Friends reception and opera, Opera Holland Park
The following events were cancelled:
- 28 April: 1920s Paris, the Crazy Years, Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall
Ticket holders were contacted directly by email with further information, including the below options.
Consider donating your ticket fee
As a registered charity, all of our earnings from these events go straight back into creating musical experiences in communities, healthcare settings, schools and concert halls. If you can afford to do so, please consider donating your postponed ticket fee to our Orchestra. All donations in this time will help us to continue creating online content in lieu of public concerts, as well as ensuring that we are ready to go when venues are able to reopen.
Another option is for you to receive credit to your City of London Sinfonia account, which you can redeem for another of our own-promotion concerts once this crisis is over. Credit notes are valid for 12 months from the date of your original event.
If you would prefer to receive a refund, due to the number of events affected and to aid with managing our cash flow, your refund will be issued within 28 days of the day the event was scheduled to take place (28 days from the event date).
We have been in touch with ticket holders and processed requests. Thank you for your patience and ongoing support in these challenging times.