English Sinfonia

Latest News

The North Wall, Oxford, 16 November, 8pm

English Sinfonia is delighted to announce its return to The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford with a typically diverse programme of English and American music.  Leader Janice Graham and principal bassonist Adam Mackenzie are the soloists in the first performance of a new work by Geoffrey Alexander.

  • Holst - St. Paul's Suite
  • Vaughan Williams - 5 Variants of 'Dives and Lazarus'
  • Philip Glass - Symphony No. 3
  • Geoffrey Alexander - You Are Here
  • Barber - Adagio
  • Britten - Simple Symphony
Info and Tickets

More news...

St. John's Smith Square, September 22, 7.30pm

Our Autumn concert with conductor Rachel Young features pianist Viktoria Postnikova as well as our own Janice Graham as soloists in an evening of mostly Russian music.

Arvo Part - Fratres for Violin, Strings and Percussion

Alfred Schnittke - Concerto for Piano and Strings

Dimitri Shostakovich - Chamber Symphony op.110a

Dimitri Shostakovich - Romance from The Gadfly

More news...

Spring Concert at St. John's Smith Square - May 26 2011

Tickets are now on sale for our London spring concert. BBC Young Musician Of The Year winner Lara Melda joins us for our first concert under the baton of Rachael Young.

Weber - Overture: Die Freischutz

Grieg - Piano Concerto in A minor

Dvorak - Symphony No.8 in G

The musicians of English Sinfonia look forward to meeting members of the audience in the foyer during the interval.

St. John's, Smith Square

More news...

Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage - 22nd February at 7.45 pm

English Sinfonia together with leader and soloist Janice Graham and composer Geoffrey Alexander are delighted to be returning to their old home at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage after an absence of over two years. The eclectic programme is influenced by song in its many forms, spans two and a half centuries of musical history and is typical of the orchestra's new artistic direction.

Rossini - Ovrture: La Scala di Seta

Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending

Britten - Simple Symphony

Alexander - Dream Of Songs

Haydn - Symphony No.53 in D 'L'Imperiale'

The musicians of English Sinfonia look forward to meeting members of the audience in the foyer during the interval.

Gordon Craig Theatre

More news...

Breakthrough Breast Cancer - Towards The Dawn - ES Digital

On August 4th English Sinfonia, composer Geoffrey Alexander and violinist Janice Graham got together to record Towards The Dawn, a new and touching piece offering comfort to all who have lost, celebrating all who have survived and inspiring all who are searching to overcome breast cancer.

The track will be released as a single on ES Digital, the orchestra's own new record label with all profits and writer's royalties to be donated to Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Inspired by a remarkable friend and Breakthrough fundraiser Deb Little, they have recorded the work as a musical focus for the charity, believing passionately that music has the power to express the profound and sometimes contradictory feelings and emotions associated with difficult situations like these. They hope their music will touch people's souls and raise their spirits at the same time.

Please check back for updates - we will be adding a clip shortly to whet your appetite and as download day approaches links will be added to sites where you can purchase a CD single or download the track to your mp3 player.

More news...

English Sinfonia Return to London

Thursday 16 October, 2008
Cadogan Hall, London 7.30pm

English Sinfonia Gala Concert

Janice Graham violin/director
Geoffrey Alexander conductor

Geoffrey Alexander: Still Life Fast Moving*
Holst: St. Paul's Suite
Adrian Munsey: Requiem
Wagner: Siegfried Idyll
Holst: Song of the Night
Haydn: Symphony No.92 in G 'Oxford'

* London Premiere conducted by the composer.

English Sinfonia make a welcome return to the London stage. From the hip, minimalist rhythms of the opening fanfare to the crisp wit of Haydn at his best, this eclectic programme is typical of an artistic policy that is winning them an ever-wider following.

As a special addition, Graham and Alexander will give the first performance of Towards The Dawn, their new single in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, released on September 29th.

Tickets £30, £25, £18, £10 (concessions available)
Cadogan Hall Box Office 020 7730 4500


More news...

2008/9 Oxford Season

Wednesday October 8th 2008
The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford 8pm

English Sinfonia

Siobhan Grealy – Flute
Janice Graham – Director

Mozart – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Elgar – Serenade for Strings
Malcolm Arnold - Concerto No.1 for Flute and String Orchestra
Britten – Prelude and Fugue
Dvorak – Serenade for Strings

Following the triumph of their inaugural season and a superb concert with Daniel Hope to open the Summer Festival, English Sinfonia’s eagerly awaited return to the North Wall brings a typically varied concert of music for strings presented around Malcolm Arnold's Concerto for Flute and String Orchestra. This lively, jazz inflected work features the orchestra's principal flautist Siobhan Grealy in the central role.

The evening begins with one of Mozart’s most popular, sunny works followed by the more introspective, pastoral Serenade of Edward Elgar. After the interval Britten’s Prelude and Fugue continues the English theme. Written in 1943, its darker harmonies and taut counterpoint treat each individual player as a soloist. Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings, brimming with Bohemian melodies and Slavic dance rhythms, is another perennial favourite of both audiences and performers and provides a fitting end to the evening.

As usual, supporters and friends are invited to join us for a glass of champagne in the lobby after the performance.

Tickets £25, £20, £15 (concessions available)


More news...

July 19th Gibside nr. Newcastle

Event: Midsummer Music and Fireworks

Venue:Gibside (in Tyne & Wear)

Part of Gibside's famous concert weekend - this open-air proms concert features North East-born Graeme Danby, Principal Bass with English National Opera (who entertained crowds at St James' Park at the recent Tyne-Wear derby with his sensational rendition of "Blaydon Races") with the English Sinfonia and three guest soloists. With a different programme every year, this is one of the best outdoor classical concerts of its kind in Europe.

BookingBooking Essential 01670 773939
Book Online Now: https://kiosk4.ts.com/k?v=ntnortheast

Suitable for Groups
Family event - suitable for all ages - come and enjoy yourselves!

English Sinfonia is under the artistic direction of Janice Graham, one of the most distinguished and respected violinists of her generation. As well as being a professor at the Royal College of Music, Janice is also a regular judge on the BBC Young Musician of the Year panel.

Gazebo pitches available at £17.50 (contact Gibside). Overnight parking charge £5.00 per car.

Contact: Gibside, 01207 541820, gibside@nationaltrust.org.uk

More news...

April 24th - Final Oxford Concert of the Season

The winning team of English Sinfonia together with leader and soloist Janice Graham and composer Geoffrey Alexander return to Oxford on Thursday April 24th for the final concert of their first season in residence at the North Wall Arts Centre, Summertown, Oxford. They present a typically eclectic programme of music spanning two and a half centuries and united by the influence of various forms of song.

Rossini - Ovrture: La Scala di Seta

Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending

Britten - Simple Symphony

Alexander - Dream Of Songs

Haydn - Symphony No.53 in D 'L'Imperiale'

Join us afterwards for a complimentary glass of champagne in the foyer.


More news...

Heavenly Sounds

In mid March ES spent two days at the Magdalen College Chapel in Oxford  to record the Duruflé Requiem. The sound of the Chapel Choir in its home was sublime and producer Robina Young from the Harmonia Mundi record label captured the magic for a recording to be released at the end of 2008.


More news...

The Big Screen

In mid March ES recorded its first film soundtrack at Abbey Road Studios. Working with composer Trevor Jones, English Sinfonia’s artistic advisor Geoff Alexander orchestrated and conducted the score for 3 and Out.

The first film of british director Jonathan Gershfield with performances from Mackenzie Crook, Colm Meaney & Imelda Staunton is a comedy about ordinary people with unique dilemmas. It opens on April 25th in 400 cinemas around the country. http://www.threeandoutmovie.com/

More news...

Full House

We were delighted to be playing to a full house at the North Wall Arts Centre in February. Word has spread since our first concert and it was exciting to see the numbers grow and rewarding to see such a significant number of audience members for the second time. We have had overwhelming praise for the quality and vitality of the musicianship and  the lightness of touch with the programming.  

The review  published in the Oxford Times, Friday February 15th  2008:

English Sinfonia’s concert last week included an eclectic mix of engaging works and some highly enjoyable playing by an orchestra with a distinguished pedigree. 

Since taking up residence at The North Wall last year the orchestra has been busily re-inventing itself.  The ‘big idea’ is a focus on shorter works rather than large set pieces.  The result is a repertoire which is refreshingly different from the standard fare and includes some delightful works.

The music on offer on 6 February was typical of the new approach.  The ensemble opened with the Bach inspired Adagio and Fugue (K546) by Mozart, with its rich sonorities reminiscent of the later symphonies.  This was followed by the youthfully exuberant Divertimento in F (K138), written when Mozart was just sixteen. 

Next came John Adams’ Shaker Loops; the evening’s longest and most demanding work.  Shaker Loops is one of Adams’ earlier pieces and has become something of a minimalist ‘classic’.  The sections of the orchestra play ‘loops’ of material of differing lengths which results in an ever shifting kaleidoscope of effects and pulsing rhythms.  This was a highly concentrated performance. There were lovely languorous moments in the second section, and the climax in final section was suitably hypnotic and menacing. 

After the interval the orchestra played Holst’s charming folk-song inspired Brook Green Suite, Sibelius’ pithy and sombre Romance in C, and Grieg’s Holberg Suite, a witty pastiche of Baroque musical styles written in commemoration of the eponymous eighteenth century Danish playwright.

The orchestra was clearly familiar with the repertoire and they played with an enjoyment which was infectious.  The intimacy of the auditorium at The North Wall, formerly the St Edwards School swimming pool, is perfect for music on this scale and is an ideal base for the orchestra.  This is programming for a ‘Classic FM generation’, as the Artistic Advisor Geoffrey Alexander describes it; concerts for people used to hearing music in bite size pieces.  The full house suggests that the new approach is working. 

Brook Green Suite, along with several other superb pieces by Holst, has been recorded by English Sinfonia on Naxos.

More news...

Shaking it up!

English Sinfonia return to Oxford on Wednesday February 6th for the first time since the huge success of their inaugural concert as orchestra in residence at the North Wall Arts Centre. From Mozart to minimalism, they mix it up with a typically varied programme that includes John Adams’s modern classic Shaker Loops and showcases their virtuoso string section led by Janice Graham. Audiences have come to expect nothing less from this long established ensemble with a reputation for the highest quality music making and a tradition of breaking down musical boundaries.

The concert begins with two works that show very different sides of Mozart’s personality – the Divertimento in F (K. 138), sparkling with youthful wit and energy is followed by the intense, personal Adagio and Fugue in C minor (K. 546), a much darker piece, full of formal ingenuity and intellectual rigour. American composer John Adams’s Shaker Loops promises to be one of the evening’s many highlights. A dynamic tour de force of modern string writing, this thrilling work is a rollercoaster ride of buzzing rhythms and subtle shifts of colour that has rapidly established itself as a minimalist masterpiece. The Brook Green Suite by Holst finds the mature composer revisiting the folk-inspired lyricism of his youth – a little light before the dark, brooding beauty of Sibelius’s Romance in C. The evening ends with a perennial favourite of audiences and performers alike, Grieg’s Holberg Suite, a set of lively Baroque inspired dances written in 1884 to celebrate the bicentenary of the great playwright for whom it is named.

The orchestra will be directed by Janice Graham and Geoffrey Alexander.

Audience response to the first North Wall concert:

I really enjoyed the concert and thought the orchestra were fantastic. I loved the relaxed atmosphere of the venue and it was so intimate too. ( Lucy Noble, Head of New Programming, Albert Hall.)

We are regular concert goers in Oxford and this was the best concert we have ever been to. (anon.)

Tickets available from The Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street, Oxford. Tel: 01865 305305 or online at www.ticketsoxford.com.


More news...

Gala Concert 20th October 2007 - English Sinfonia Live

English Sinfonia is delighted to announce a new residency at the North Wall Arts Centre in Oxford. The city's newest venue opened its doors in July when Lord Attenborough, Michael Attenborough and George Fenton cut the ribbon to open its first summer festival.

Concert Details PDF

More news...

Critical Acclaim

Janice GrahamIn April 2007 English Sinfonia received critical acclaim for their newly-released Naxos CD featuring the music of Gustav Holst. Recorded with the generous support of the Nancy Hadwen Charitable Trust it included several of his less well-known compositions.

Brook Green Suite
A Song Of The Night for Violin and Orchestra Op. 19
St Paul’s Suite Op. 29
Lyric Movement for Viola and Chamber Orchestra
A Fugal Concerto for Flute Oboe and Strings Op. 40
Concerto for Two Violins Op. 49

“…engagingly infectious spirit and expertise… shaped with intoxicating rapture…an outstanding release”   The Strad

“…A Song of the Night would grace any violinists repertoire, and is lyrically performed by the ES leader and Artistic Director Janice Graham…” The Telegraph

“…the rich string sound is inspired by no less a leader than Janice Graham…”  The Times

More news...

English Sinfonia News

In January 2007 Janice was appointed Leader of the English National Opera Orchestra. A recent performance by Janice was described as "heart-stopping" by The Times.





More news...
Music and Video
To listen to and view the English Sinfonia in action please click on the links below:
Music & Video
Booking Orchestra
For details on booking the English Sinfonia Orchestra please view our booking PDF form supplied below.
Booking The Orchestra
Booking Orchestra
Booking Orchestra
Booking Orchestra