English Sinfonia’s operational basis is as a Chamber Orchestra. This implies “small” in size, although no set definition of a chamber orchestra exists – literally an orchestra that can fit into a chamber or room as opposed to a symphony orchestra. English Sinfonia has a membership of players drawn mainly from London, who all perform on modern instruments. At its smallest ES performs as a septet, it regularly plays repertoire which requires just 12 strings and harpsichord but also expands to perform music requiring up to 50 musicians. In that way it is immensely flexible and stylistically versatile.
Following the financial difficulties faced by the orchestra over the last couple of years the running of the orchestra has undergone a radical shake-up. Now, with a new and reduced administrative/management team, the orchestra ensures that the maximum possible amount of funds raised are invested in getting the orchestra on the stage and to widening the access to ES performances.
English Sinfonia Ltd is a registered charity No: 279713
Geoffrey Alexander studied composition with Brian Elias, Susan Bradshaw, Gerard McBurney and Giles Swayne before going on to become a leading Hollywood arranger and orchestrator. He has worked on well over 100 movies in a career that began at the age of 16, as an assistant to arranger Robert Stewart. He also worked for several years with the renowned musicologist and arranger Christopher Palmer. In the world of film music he has enjoyed notably long and successful partnerships with George Fenton (Planet Earth, Hitch, Bewitched, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Anna and the King, Ever After, In Love and War), Trevor Jones (Notting Hill, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, 13 Days (BAFTA nominated), Merlin, Richard III (BAFTA nominated), Cliffhanger), and Richard Robbins (The Remains of the Day (Academy Award nominated), Jefferson in Paris, Surviving Picasso, The Golden Bowl, Le Divorce).
His collaboration with George Fenton on Blue Planet for the BBC won BAFTA, Ivor Novello, and Emmy awards for best score. The music from Planet Earth recently won a Classical Brit award.
Away from the screen he has written Phantasia, a double concerto for Violin, ‘Cello and orchestra based on themes from Phantom Of The Opera. Commissioned by Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber, it was recorded in 2005 with Sarah Chang (Violin), Julian Lloyd Webber (‘Cello), conducted by Simon Lee and is available on EMI Classics.
Geoffrey has recently been appointed Artistic Advisor to the English Sinfonia for whom he is writing Blood In The Snow – a violin concerto for Janice Graham. Still Life Fast Moving, a short fanfare-like piece, which will receives its premiere at the orchestra’s inaugural North Wall concert. He has also recently taken ES into the studio where they recorded the first pieces for the ‘Evening With Friends’ album project. Other current ‘works in progress’ include a ballet – The Country Bunny to be premiered in Charleston, South Carolina, Easter 2009 and two short pieces for the violinist Sarah Chang.
Sally Ann Ewins
Sally Ann studied flute at the Royal College of Music. She graduated with a Performers’ Diploma (First Class), gained a Teachers’ Diploma, and won the Eve Kisch prize for Chamber Music and the E.F. James prize for the most outstanding woodwind player. She was awarded a Countess of Munster Musical Trust Scholarship to further her studies in the UK and France with the eminent teachers Susan Milan, Alain Marion, and Raymond Guiot. She was an active solo recitalist giving performances throughout the UK including the Newbury Spring Festival, York Arts Festival, Cheltenham Lunchtime Recital Series, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and many more. Her concerto appearances included the Mozart G and D Concertos, Bach Brandenberg Concertos 4 & 5 and the B minor Suite, Vivaldi Piccolo Concerto in A minor and the Ibert Concerto in such venues as Dorchester Abbey and the Queen Elizabeth Hall. As a successful freelance player Sally Ann performed with most of the country’s leading orchestras and worked extensively in the session world, playing on many Hollywood films, television dramas, commercials and pop tracks. She also worked in the West End playing for the shows Carousel, Oliver, Martin Guerre, Sunset Boulevard and the production of A Little Night Music at the National Theatre.
In 1998 Sally Ann took the decision to move out of London and change the emphasis of her work in the music business. She is a director of Upbeat Music Ltd, the company that she set up with her husband to provide media music services. She runs the administrative side of the business and is an Orchestral Contractor. She is the UK fixer for Merchant Ivory Films, recording the soundtracks for Cotton Mary, The Golden Bowl and Merci Dr Rey. She has worked for other composers on projects such as From Hell (20th Century Fox), What Friends Are For (Independent) and on pop tracks for Rick Astley and Carly Hennessy. Following the success of Incognito she enjoys an ongoing collaboration with Adrian Munsey having recently recorded Requiem and View for his latest album to be released later in the year. Sally Ann was appointed General Manager of English Sinfonia in April 2007.