History

City of London Sinfonia (CLS) is one of the UK’s leading professional orchestras, and gives approximately one hundred performances each year in London, throughout the UK and abroad, under the artistic leadership of Stephen Layton and Michael Collins. Founded in 1971 by the late Richard Hickox CBE, we have a reputation for skilfully combined programmes, a commitment to the music of British composers and collaborations with the human voice – always performed with palpable energy and spirit.

1971
Orchestra founded by Richard Hickox as the Richard Hickox Orchestra

1972
First commission: Fancies by John Rutter

1973
Orchestra performs Messiah, its first BBC Promenade concert at the Royal Albert Hall

1975
First recording: Bach Masses in G major and G minor for Argo

1979
Richard Hickox Orchestra changes its name to City of London Sinfonia (CLS) to reflect closer links with the City of London

1982
Barbican Centre opens and CLS performs its first series of concerts in the new hall

1985
First major tour to Germany

1988
Community & Education Programme established (now Meet the Music)

1989
First appearance at Edinburgh International Festival

1991
CLS celebrates its 20th anniversary with a Gala concert at the Barbican in the presence of HRH The Princess of Wales

1993
Tour of Australia with leader/director Andrew Watkinson

 

1994
World première of John Tavener’s The Apocalypse at the Proms

1995
Diana Burrell appointed as CLS’s first Composer-in-Association

1996
First overseas education project with school children in Norway

1997
CLS wins Royal Philharmonic Society Large Ensemble Music Award for its outstanding contribution to musical life in the UK

1997
CLS wins Opera Grammy Award for its recording of Britten’s Peter Grimes

1998
Community & Education Programme launches Music for Children at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, London

2000
Launch of regional concert series in High Wycombe and business training programme Development through Music

2002
Appointment of Douglas Boyd as Associate Conductor

2003
Sell-out tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Royal Shakespeare Company at major UK venues

2004
First summer as Resident Orchestra at Opera Holland Park

2006
First tour to China with Principal Guest Conductor Douglas Boyd accompanying the official visit of the Lord Mayor of the City of London

2007
Launch of concert series at London’s Cadogan Hall including a concert performance of Britten’s opera Owen Wingrave

2008
Second concert tour to Dubai
First Crash Bang Wallop family concerts

2009
First visit to Colombia as resident orchestra of the Cartagena Festival
Artistic appointments of Stephen Layton as Artistic Director & Principal Conductor and Michael Collins as Principal Conductor

2010
Wellbeing through Music first collaboration with the Dementia Research
Lullaby concert tour of Suffolk for pre-school age children

 
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