City of London Sinfonia returns to Southwark Cathedral


City of London Sinfonia (CLS) will return to Southwark Cathedral with two socially distanced performances of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

These first indoor concerts since March 2020 have been designed in accordance with current safety guidelines around live public performances during the Covid-19 pandemic but will retain the familiar signatures of the Orchestra’s seriously informal style.

Two hour-long concerts at 2pm and 7.15pm on 18 September will feature Dmitry Sitkovetsky’s arrangement of the Goldberg Variations for string trio, performed by Alexandra Wood (Leader), Ruth Gibson (Sub-Principal Viola) and Joely Koos (Co-Principal Cello).

With capacity limited to 140 places per performance, audiences will be able to experience the concerts in flexible and socially distanced seating configurations positioned in the nave or in-promenade taking in the breathtaking architecture and distinct acoustics throughout the cathedral.

A short mindfulness introduction led by Ruth Gibson will be open to audience members who would like to take a moment of calm reflection before the performance begins.

Alexandra Wood, City of London Sinfonia’s Creative Director & Orchestra Leader, said: “It is tremendously exciting to be returning to live music-making with CLS on 18 September.

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“It has been a long and strange six months for performers and audiences alike – unable to experience that connection, the magic, the atmosphere, the special silences and then, of course, the applause.

“Whilst we have been able to make music at home and explore online possibilities, we have missed sharing our music with a live audience, as the audience really is the most important part of an occasion.

“We therefore want you to enjoy the whole experience in these concerts – the music, the building, the restorative breathing led by our wonderful Ruth – while feeling relaxed in a safe environment.”

In order to reach the widest possible audience, and continuing CLS’s live+digital hybrid offer, the concert will also be recorded by Apple and Biscuit Recordings and broadcast on the Orchestra’s YouTube and Facebook channels later this month.

Matthew Swann, City of London Sinfonia’s Chief Executive, added: “We are delighted to welcome audiences back to one of our favourite venues, for what we hope will be the first of many performances at Southwark Cathedral over the coming weeks and months.

“This first performance is our first step to establishing a new model of performance, combining the elements that attract so many new audiences to CLS, with a digital offering that means we can still reach those audiences in the UK and beyond who are not yet ready to attend in person, and who our musicians continued to reach through our online lockdown offering.”

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