Flashmobs: so 2005. Orchestras: so 1805. But we have to admit that there’s something very thrilling about the idea of a 40-piece guerrilla orchestra suddenly appearing on the streets of London, making some sweet, sweet music and then disappearing off to their next assignation.
The Street Orchestra of London is just such an ensemble, and now’s your chance to get involved with the flash concerts around the city that they’re planning for this summer. This new project is inspired by Amsterdam’s Ricciotti Ensemble, a roaming orchestra that has been taking music to the streets of Amsterdam and touring the world since 1970. SOL’s mission: to play a rapid-fire series of rolling concerts across London over four days in June. Planned venues include parks and squares as well as hospitals, prisons and refugee centres: places chosen to bring classical music out of the concert hall and give it – up close and for free – to a cross-section of society.
The Street Orchestra’s joint masterminds are Gijs Kramers, a former artistic director of Ricciotti, and Nonclassical, Gabriel Prokofiev’s cutting-edge classical club night and label. They’re launching their brainchild this Saturday, at Nonclassical’s annual Battle of the Bands at The Victoria pub in Dalston. With a repertoire including music ‘from all times and conceivable styles’, it’s a daunting task – even more so considering the Street Orchestra’s members will learn the music in just a few days of rehearsal before the performances, and will have to set up for every concert in less than three minutes.
If you’re up for the challenge, you can apply to be a member of SOL before January 22. They’re looking for music college students and advanced amateurs to play strings, flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, saxophones, horns, trumpets, trombones and percussion. We’re guessing decent stamina would also be helpful. If that’s not you…well, you’ll have to wait until June to find out what surprises the Street Orchestra of London has in store.