Introducing our 50th Anniversary Season

Posted on: July 26, 2021 in: Comment & Media, Programmes

To celebrate our 50th anniversary, we’re delighted to announce our ‘Origin’ concert series, featuring world premiere commissions from Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Dobrinka Tabakova and Huw Watkins; a UK premiere from Donghoon Shin; the revival of our 1996 commission, The Hidden Face, by John Tavener; and performances from guest artists including William Morgan, Geoffrey Paterson and Roderick Williams OBE. Performances will also feature unexpected elements and interactive soundscapes that capture the creative music-making that thrives in our participation projects.

‘Origin’ reflects on our Orchestra’s remarkable history and celebrates what defines the orchestra today, with all concerts presented in our signature ‘seriously informal’ style. Over the past five decades – and building on the legacy of our 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 rich tradition with four commissions premiering in the 50th Anniversary Season.

Alexandra Wood, CLS’s Creative Director and 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, CLS’s Chairman, 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.

Be sure to follow and get involved in #CLSat50 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more information about our 50th Anniversary Season.

Read our press release (CLS website) >>

Browse our 50th Anniversary Season >>

‘Origin’ series

Discover the authentic voices of the British Isles as we explore how folksong has influenced composers, both past and present in ‘An authentic voice’ on Wednesday 27 October, 7pm. More info>>

Explore the power of music to shock and change through pieces that have shifted contemporaries towards yet undiscovered soundworlds in ‘Shifting sounds’ on Thursday 4 November, 7pm. More info>>

Immerse yourself in the diary of a young naturalist with autism in the world premiere of ‘Scenes from the Wild’ on Thursday 25 November (7pm) and Saturday 27 November (2.30pm, 7pm). More info>>

Celebrate 50 years of City of London Sinfonia, and many more years to come in ‘This is CLS’ on Thursday 3 March 2022, 7pm. More info>>

Series info

  • Dates: 27 October, 4 November, 25-27 November, 3 March 2022
  • Venue: Southwark Cathedral, SE1 9DA
  • Running time for each concert: c.90minutes
  • Ticket prices: £25-20 (concessions and discounts available)
  • Online booking in advance only:
  • Safety measures and FAQs:
  • Press enquiries: Jenn Reynolds

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