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The Little Orchestra: London’s chillest classical music ensemble

Oliver Keens

For anyone who has ever found the atmosphere at a traditional classical concert ever so slightly stifling and buttoned-up, an alternative is at hand. The Little Orchestra has been operating since 2013, aiming to make listening to great classical music a much more relaxed experience. For starters, traditional concert halls are eschewed in favour more ad hoc venues – such as Hackney’s more clubby Oval Space and Hackney Town Hall, which plays host to TLO’s Valentine’s special this week.

Seating is casually set up around the players, literally on the same level as their audience, meaning you’re only a bow’s length away from a cellist or an arm’s length from a timpani drum. On our visit, we spotted a host of things never seen before at a classical concert: sofas, a conductor on a bouncy swivel chair and people enjoying Mozart while swigging from a beer can. Speaking of drinks, though the bar remains open during the performance, it’s a good sign that it stays virtually deserted – punters are too engrossed by the rotating cast of players, largely pooled from some of London’s best colleges.

Another refreshing tweak is that punters aren’t shooed away five minutes after the orchestra take their bows. At TLO shows, the venues stay open, a small jazz band plays and guests are encouraged to chat and mingle. It all works in TLO’s favour. There are still tickets left for their Valentine’s special, and they set up again at Oval Space on Jun 2 and 3.

The Little Orchestra present A Little Romance at Hackney Town Hall on Friday February 12. Buy tickets now before it sells out!

Or discover more great classical music concerts in London.


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