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Sinfonia of London

Sinfonia of London rose to fame in the 1950s as the leading recording orchestra of the day, appearing in the musical credits of more than 300 films, including the 1958 soundtrack by Bernard Herrmann for Hitchcock’s Vertigo, and on countless gramophone records, among them Sir Colin Davis’s first discs of Mozart symphonies and Sir John Barbirolli’s celebrated recording of English string music. Relaunched in 2018 by the British conductor John Wilson, the orchestra brings together outstanding musicians who meet several times a year for specific projects. It includes a significant number of principals and leaders from orchestras based both in the UK and abroad, alongside notable soloists and members of distinguished chamber ensembles.

The orchestra’s début recording, of Korngold’s Symphony in F sharp (2019), received numerous five-star reviews, was nominated for a Gramophone Award, and won a 2020 BBC Music Magazine Award. Escales, the orchestra’s second release, was devoted to French orchestral works and chosen as Disc of the Month by Gramophone.

Respighi’s Roman Trilogy (2020) garnered the orchestra its second BBC Music Magazine Award. The magazine concluded: ‘Wilson and his hand-picked band of musicians continue to strike gold with almost anything they turn their hands to.’ MusicWeb International said: ‘I have never heard this music presented with such power and detail and sheer visceral excitement but also with such control and sophisticated balance – it is literally revelatory. This might just be one of Chandos’ finest feats of engineering ever, showcasing the superlative and sophisticated playing of John Wilson’s Sinfonia of London. A genuine triumph.’

In 2021 Sinfonia of London made its live début at the BBC Proms and released two further recordings. English Music for Strings received a flurry of ecstatic reviews, The Mail on Sunday declaring it ‘dazzling... some of the finest string playing ever put on disc by a British orchestra’, and an album of works by Dutilleux was described by the Financial Times as ‘bewitchingly played and imaginatively directed by Wilson’, going on to win the performers a BBC Music Magazine Award for the third year in a row.

Further acclaimed releases since then have included a disc of orchestral works by Ravel, which received a Gramophone Award in 2022, the celebrated album Metamorphosen, featuring outstanding works for string orchestra by Strauss, Korngold, and Schreker, a disc of music by John Ireland, Hollywood Soundstage, which celebrates the golden age of Hollywood, and a recording of Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3, the first in a Rachmaninoff cycle by this orchestra and conductor, and a second disc of British works for strings.

In 2022, Sinfonia of London returned to the BBC Proms, The Arts Desk stating that ‘John Wilson’s handpicked super-orchestra is quite simply the most exciting thing currently happening on the British orchestral scene’. The orchestra undertook its first UK tour in autumn 2022, to exceptional acclaim, The Telegraph declaring that Sinfonia of London ‘is set fair to become Britain’s favourite orchestra’.


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