We are City of London Sinfonia (CLS), the orchestral home to over 40 outstanding professional musicians, who come together in the shared belief that music has the power to transform people across all areas of society.
We give over 75 performances every year anywhere from an East London club to international concert halls, cathedrals and opera houses, or communities who because of location or opportunity would not otherwise experience outstanding professional music-making. We spend over 150 days every year in schools where social background often creates a barrier to creativity and ambition, hospitals for young people with severe and challenging conditions, and with older people dealing with loss of loved ones and memory.
We place equal value and bring the same approach to everything we do: the highest quality; a distinctive, ‘seriously informal’ style of performance that removes the barriers between musicians and audiences so that people can experience the transformative power of music; and a warmth of music-making that is created through our musicians sharing a wider range of experiences together beyond the concert platform.
This approach involves inviting artists from across the arts to enhance and transform our performances. Outstanding classical musicians collaborate with musicians in jazz, folk and contemporary music, artists in film, dance or visual art or with explorations of science, history or philosophy, giving an extra dimension to new music and shedding new light on the familiar. Audiences can immerse themselves in a world that brings together music with the visual, the adventurous and the thought provoking. A CLS performance is often fun, but we do not shy away from inviting audiences on demanding musical journeys.
In schools and nurseries, our music-making gives very young children the chance to experience the joy and fun of orchestras for the first time. It opens a path to performing, fires their creativity, and boosts their learning. Our family concerts create shared, interactive experiences across generations, often created with leading theatre and film companies. In hospitals, our music-making aids the healing process and is an invaluable creative outlet for young people with severe, life-limiting or psychiatric conditions. With older people, Holocaust survivors and those who are facing bereavement, our music-making helps to keep memories alive and minds active.
As this approach grows, we will continue to ask questions of ourselves, ensuring that we remain at the forefront of best practice – both in attracting audiences and in schools, hospitals and care homes. We will partner with leading research institutions to ask us challenging questions, and provide the hard evidence of the benefits of our activity.
Each and every one of our musicians is a catalyst and driver of our approach, and are unusually committed to using music as a means of transforming people and communities. With our Creative Director and first violinist Alexandra Wood, and Principal Conductor Michael Collins, they conceive and deliver imaginative performances and projects with our Associate Artists, who come to CLS to achieve ambitions they could not realise elsewhere.
The need for our approach is demonstrated by the growing numbers of people who are joining the wider CLS family – audiences, artists and not least those who support through financial investment – who share our vision for transforming people in all parts of society through our outstanding music-making.