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Docklands Sinfonia now one of London’s top 5 non-pro orchestras

PUBLISHED: 20:53 15 July 2010 | UPDATED: 16:15 05 October 2010

Sinfonia at rehersal and (inset) founder Spencer Down

Sinfonia at rehersal and (inset) founder Spencer Down

Carmen Valino

A NEW symphonic orchestra set up only a year ago in London Docklands has taken the classical music world by storm. Docklands Sinfonia, getting ready for its next public performance on July 23, has already been rated as one of London’s top five non-professional orchestras

By Mike Brooke

A NEW symphonic orchestra set up only a year ago in London’s Docklands has taken the classical music world by storm.

The Docklands Sinfonia, getting ready for its next public performance on Friday, July 23, has already been rated as one of the top five non-professional orchestras in London.

It received the accolade from Classical Music magazine, which singled out just five of the 100-plus amateur orchestras in London for praise.

Critic Hannah Nepil wrote: “This ensemble has something that even some professional orchestras struggle to maintain, real joy in the music-making.”

Audiences can see Docklands Sinfonia on July 23 at the historic Nicholas Hawksmoor church that has become their de facto home’ venue, St Anne’s in Limehouse, opening with the world premiere of Moscow Festival by Rob Davies.

Philip Cobb then takes the stage for Arutunian’s Trumpet Concerto, his first solo concerto since his appointment as London Symphony Orchestra principal trumpet player at the age of 21.

The Russia to Love’ themed-concert comes to a close with Rachmaninov’s powerful Symphony No 2.

The orchestra is made up of music students and talented amateurs as well as a blend of professional musicians, rehearsing on Wednesday nights at St Anne’s. It was asked just weeks after its first rehearsal to perform on the new BBC1 series Clash’ which began screening on July 7.

Docklands Sinfonia was the brainchild of its conductor Spencer Down, who has taught the art of conducting at the Royal Academy of Music summer school. He was also a first round judge on BBC2’s Classical Star’ music competition in 2007.

Spencer has built up his orchestra’s reputation commissioning and performing new works by young British composers, including Peter Meechan, Jeremy Holland-Smith, Andy Keenan and Rob Davies, with four world premiers in just 12 months under his Sinfonia baton.

Renowned soloists in the first year have included cello virtuoso Leonard Elschenbroich, baroque soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and saxophonist Christian Forshaw. The Raven string quartet has also performed with the orchestra.

The top five’ ranking in the classical music world of Spencer’s brainchild establishes Docklands Sinfonia as a cultural force in East London.

The Friday night concert on July 23:

Moscow Festival (World Premiere), by Rob Davies

Trumpet Concerto, by Alexander Arutunian, Soloist Philip Cobb

Symphony No2 in E Minor, by Rachmaninov

St Anne’s Church, Three Colt Street, Limehouse, London E14 7HP

Tickets: £10 (box office), £12 (door), £8 concessions

Box Office: 07827-568992 (24hr) or email here.


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