ORA Singers, the world-class vocal ensemble and leading commissioner of contemporary choral music, is delighted to announce a brand new residency at LSO St Luke’s on London’s Old Street from 2019, and that Stephen Fry is to be the choir’s new President, leading the choir into this major phase of its development.
Home to the London Symphony Orchestra’s music education and community programmes, LSO St Luke’s hosts a rich programme of concerts and events inspired by the Orchestra’s own music-making and rooted in the local community, as well as being the home of the LSO’s development programme’s for young composers.
Commenting, Stephen Fry said: 'The ORA Singers have blazed a trail in the live and recorded singing of choral music that is nothing short of inspiring. The glory and directness of their sound makes me think of a musical version of the magical time when the National Gallery started to clean up the Old Masters in their collection to reveal unguessed at life, vivacity and colour beneath the dark varnish. But ORA does else, something invaluable: by commissioning new works from new composers they initiate a conversation between the past and the present, enlivening and informing both. I couldn’t have been more pleased to support one such commission myself and now to accept the role of President of ORA Singers – an entirely, you will be relieved to know, non musical position. I believe our choral tradition is one of Britain’s supreme achievements. ORA leads the way in keeping it fully and gloriously alive.'
Commenting on the LSO St Luke’s partnership, Karen Cardy, Centre Director at LSO St Luke’s said 'Starting in 2019, ORA Singers will become resident at the LSO St Luke's, which has become a wonderful laboratory for new music and groundbreaking performance practice over its 15 years. Our shared values of musical excellence, innovation and commitment to promoting music to a wider public make this an exciting partnership, and we look forward to it evolving, especially with the exciting opportunities for cross-arts and community partnerships thrown up by the creation of Culture Mile.'
ORA will open its residency with the first of nine concerts over three years in its Design Series. This series is inspired by the flexibility and beauty of LSO St Luke's main space, the Jerwood Hall, combined with a desire to engage with our audiences on a whole range of levels. Different designers will be asked to collaborate on each new programme, creating a design that is truly unique, inspired by the music and the performance space.
Founded in 2016, ORA Singers commitment to contemporary music is second to none. At the outset the choir said it would commissioning 100 new works from different composers over 10 years. To date, there have been 36 new works commissioned, each of them recorded or performed live as well. As ORA Singers continues to commission, there will at least one world premiere at each of the LSO St Luke's concerts. As previously, the new works will sit alongside Renaissance choral masterpieces, showcasing the theory that we are in a second Golden Age of choral composition, matching that of the Renaissance.
LSO St Luke's is rightly renowned for its work engaging its local community, constantly encouraging people to listen to, and participate in, music-making. It also reaches out, taking music to those less able to come to events or concerts and making use of the therapeutic benefits of music. ORA Singers is equally committed to engaging with those outside its traditional audience, and to those who are less able to enjoy live music and will be giving 15% of tickets free to local community groups for every concert.
For further information about LSO St Luke’s please contact:
Tel: +44 7834 061295
About LSO St Luke’s
LSO St Luke’s opened its doors in 2003 following its visionary transformation from a ruined early 18th century church into a state-of-the-art music centre, steeped in the local community, and providing people of all ages and backgrounds with a new, welcoming, and open environment in which to experience the London Symphony Orchestra, both directly and through its wider artistic vision. It plays host to a regular series of BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime concerts and Open Ear concerts, Barbican contemporary music concerts and Guildhall School of Music & Drama student performances, as well as a hugely eclectic mix of public concerts programmed by the LSO and its artistic partners.
Fully accessible, as well as being one of the first carbon neutral public buildings in London, LSO St Luke’s serves the community that surrounds it all year, hosting Community and LSO Discovery Choirs, a Balinese Gamelan Group, Digital Technology Group and LSO Create (a musical programme for adults with learning disabilities), with regular public performances. LSO St Luke’s is also a music laboratory for the young and emerging composers developing new music with the Orchestra through its composer development programmes, who have access to the full symphony orchestra, as well as a 21st century music venue. LSO St Luke’s is funded through a business model which sees the venue play host to weekly conferences, filming, events, wedding and other types of parties, the income from which supports its core purpose as the home of the LSO’s music education and community programme, LSO Discovery, one of the largest and most respected orchestra education programmes in the world.