Wimbledon Event To Combine Silent Film And Live Orchestra

London Symphony is a poetic journey through the capital, including SW19

London Symphony, a new city symphony which fuses silent film and classical music to create a poetic journey through the capital, will be performed live in Wimbledon.

Directed and edited by New Malden-based Alex Barrett, London Symphony is an artistic portrait of the city as it stands today, and a celebration of its rich diversity of culture, architecture and religion.

Footage for the project was captured in over 300 locations around every borough of London, including various parts of Wimbledon and further afield in Merton. A couple of film stills are pictured on the right.

The film is being screened at 25 venues up-and-down the country until February 2018, with three special events taking place amongst the diverse communities that inspired it. One of these is at the Shree Ghanapathy Temple in Effra Road, Wimbledon, on October 28.

The music has been specially composed by James McWilliam and will be performed at the Wimbledon screening by a nine–piece ensemble from the Covent Garden Sinfonia (CGS, formerly the Orchestra of St Paul's), and their conductor Ben Palmer.

The CGS are resident at the famous Actor's Church, St Paul's in Covent Garden, and regularly perform at many of London's leading concert halls.

The project's release strategy has been devised by Disobedient Films to take the work into the heart of the communities that inspired it, including the world-renowned home of silent cinema in London, the Barbican Centre, and the iconic brutalist Alexandra & Ainsworth housing estate in North West London.

The release has been supported by Arts Council England, and performances in Wimbledon, the Barbican and the Alexandra & Ainsworth housing estate will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Barrett, McWilliam, Palmer and a local history expert unique to each venue.

Alex Barrett said: "London Symphony is a community project, and we will be bringing it directly into those communities during our release. It is a contemporary take on the 'city symphony', a genre of creative non-fiction that flourished in the 1920s and consisted of works that attempted to build poetic portraits of city life.

"As well as serving as a form of virtual tourism, city symphonies raise important and universal questions about the nature of community life – questions that have become vital within the current political climate."

Mrs Geetha Maheshawaran, coordinator of the Shree Ghanapathy Temple, said: "This is the first time we have undertaken such an event in our most sacred of spaces: hearing W"estern classical musicians playing live in a Hindu Temple will definitely be a first!"

She added: "This performance will be such an incredible instrument for unity – something that is so vitally needed, especially after the recent terrible atrocities in London and Manchester and the tragedy of Grenfell Tower. We need to deepen our discussion on community cohesion and also to help us to celebrate the unity in our diversity." The screening at the temple is in keeping with the project's partial focus on London's religious diversity.

Ben Palmer, conductor of the Covent Garden Sinfonia, said: "It's always a thrill to bring a new piece to life, but this promises to be an unusually interesting collaboration for CGS. We're very excited to be premiering James McWilliam's fantastic music for London Symphony, especially at the iconic Barbican Centre."

For more information go to: London Symphony.

August 14, 2017

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