Who We Are
The Orchestra of St John's mission is to serve our communities by promoting concerts of unrivalled artistic excellence. Working with the most extraordinary musicians we aim to make the emotion, drama and culture of live classical music available to everyone.
"I founded the Orchestra because I wanted something that would be at the heart of the community, not just a part of the music scene," wrote John Lubbock in 1967, the year that the Orchestra was founded.
For forty years, the Orchestra of St John's has been one of the most inspiring orchestras in the country. Everyone involved with OSJ, from the Board to the Management and Musicians , believes that although our players are some of the most exceptional musicians in the country, this does not mean that what we do is in any way exclusive: the music we perform should be for everyone. This ethos has underpinned the Orchestra's vast breadth of activity from spellbinding concerts all over the UK - even recording award-winning rock albums - to our Offstage community projects.
At the heart of OSJ are its musicians, many of whom have been with John since the early days. What makes the Orchestra so unique is that everyone who plays with John relishes the atmosphere which has been created. The Orchestra's musicians are extraordinarily talented, intelligent and gifted but as John Lubbock puts it "it is an ego-free zone when we are working" . This fresh attitude to music-making ensures that concerts are always passionately performed and enthusiastically appreciated whatever we play or wherever we work.
The Orchestra works with some of the UK 's top soloists including Dame Felicity Lott, Tasmin Little, Stephen Isserlis, John Lill and Stephen Kovacevich, but we are also committed to providing a platform for some of the most outstanding new musical talent emerging from this country, including performers such as Julian Bliss and Chloë Hanslip.
As well as performing all over the country, the Orchestra also holds its own music festival each year at Dorchester Abbey in Oxfordshire, now in its eleventh year, and regularly promotes concerts in London . These have included an innovative one-hour series of early evening concerts at Cadogan Hall as well as performances at St John's , Smith Square , the Southbank Centre and regular appearances at the BBC Proms.
The Orchestra has won numerous awards for its work outside of the concert hall, in particular those involving the young, the homeless and those in prison or homes for the elderly. Our particular focus at the moment is Music for Autism concerts for autistic children and their families and Moving Music for elderly people suffering from dementia, which was recently awarded Arts Council funding. We regularly organise Come and Play and Come and Sing workshops to give amateurs the opportunity to work with our conductor and musicians. We also run OSJ Soundynamics for corporate clients including Motorola and Lloyds TSB, which enables participants to explore their creativity to develop sustainable skills including teamwork, communication, time management and leadership.
With a reputation for commissioning and performing new music, the Orchestra has also featured on two seminal albums by the rock group Radiohead: the Grammy award-winning Kid A and Grammy-nominated Amnesiac . The Orchestra performed the première of Escape Velocity by Benjamin Wallfisch, our Associate Composer, at the 2006 BBC Proms festival.
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