Matthew Barley/Cellist

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.

Victor Hugo

London Improvisers Orchestra

I had the honour of sitting in and playing with the London Improvisers Orchestra last night at Cafe Oto. This is a really remarkable collective of very experienced musicians, dedicated to improvised music, and all engaged in a search for new and imaginative ways to play and conduct improvised music. The ywork with conductors who do ‘conductions’ using a series of hand signals that convey various messages (sustained chord here; staccato note here; loop whatever you’re doing here, etc), and there was some truly thrilling music. It’s rare to be on stage for 2 hours and not experience any sense of stress, nerves that compete with music, ego, competition, and all those things that are so prevalent in the music profession but are really nothing to do with the true spirit of music. There was an abundance of listening, respect, fun, imagination, healthy irreverence, and, well, music. Check them out at any opportunity – they play Cafe Oto on the first Sunday of each month, and there’s a little bio of them here. I shall steal some of the ideas from them for my concert with the Southbank Sinfonia on Thursday.

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