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Press Release

Music the best medicine as street orchestra visit Leicester Royal Infirmary
Press release date12/07/2017
Street Orchestra of London (SOL) will perform to patients, their relatives and carers and hospital staff as well as prisoners, the elderly and De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students and staff after teaming up with Square Mile and #DMUlocal community partners, to offer a series of captivating pop-up performances across the city.
Press release

Taking place across a single day, SOL’s tour will take them on a journey to HM Prison Leicester, Leicester’s Hospitals’ Oncology Centre at Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI), the city centre and Wyggeston Hospital Chapel Learning for the Fourth Age as well as an hour performance on the DMU campus.

The Orchestra, which performs around six-seven times a day and takes less than five minutes to set up will descend on the city with some of the UK’s finest young orchestral musicians on Friday 14 July.

And the good news is, it’s completely free to all.

Founded on the belief that every human being has an equal right to enjoy quality live music, SOL’s series of performances aim to offer truly unique musical experiences to passers by in an informal setting.

SOL is conducted by talented Dutch viola player, Gijs Kramers, who joined the DMU Orchestra back in January to perform at HM Prison Leicester, playing and arranging pieces by Oasis, Queen and Guns n’ Roses.

Gijs said: “For me coming to Leicester with SOL is great, as I have been playing here with the Philharmonia for over 10 years, but it’s really exciting to finally reach some other audiences as well.

“Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the people that come to Philharmonia concerts and it’s great that the orchestra has such a great following.

“However, there are so many people in Leicester that don’t come to those performances that I feel it is very important we also play to.”

The question is…what type of music should we expect from this unique orchestra? “We are currently finalising our repertoire list, which will consist of about 20 pieces of music, varying from baroque to contemporary, and from jazz to pop and world music.

“Classical pieces will include Dvorak’s New World Symphony and Bizet’s Carmen overture as well as Dixieland and salsa.

“We also have the amazing singer Jean-Paul Samputu from Rwanda with us to perform some very funky African songs.”

All SOL players are young professionals who are at the beginning of their careers and touring gives these emerging musicians a broad view of the modern cultural landscape.

Leicester’s Hospitals’ Oncology Centre based in the Osborne Building at Leicester Royal Infirmary is just one of DMU’s community partners hosting a performance for this unique daylong event.

Giuseppe Garcea, Clinial Director for Cancer, Palliative Care, Haematology, Urology, Gastroenterology and GI surgery at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “We are delighted to be receiving a visit at the Leicester Royal Infirmary from the Street Orchestra of London.

“We think it will put a smile on the faces of our patients, their families and carers as well as our staff.

“Visiting hospital can often be a daunting experience and so to have the orchestra here will help put our patients at ease and we are really looking forward to the visit.”

Leicester Royal Infirmary will host SOL at 11.55pm on the day, outside the Osborne and Windsor buildings before they head over to DMU and then onto the city centre to perform in Jubilee Square and Market Square.

DMU prides itself on its community work and contribution to public good and DMU Square Mile have been working closely in recent months with SOL to arrange venues and organisations to host the special performances.

DMU’s Head of Music Chris Heighton said: “Orchestral Music should sound everywhere and anyone should be able to come into contact with it, a mission that is at the very core of the DMU Orchestra and of indeed the Street Orchestra of London.

“We’ve been planning to bring SOL to Leicester for some time now and in collaboration with a number of DMU Square Mile and #DMULocal partners, we’ve created a programme of six unique performances across the city, bringing ‘live’ orchestral music to communities across Leicester.”

Conductor, Gijs was previously co-principal viola player for the Netherlands Ballet Orchestra before joining London’s Philharmonia Orchestra where he currently plays.

As well as playing the viola and conducting, Gijs teaches viola and chamber music at Codarts Conservatory in Rotterdam. He said: “SOL aims to break through barriers with the belief that symphonic music should be available everywhere and anywhere so that everyone can enjoy it.

“A musical performance by SOL is a quintessentially different experience from that of any other orchestra.

“It performs up-close and frequently incorporates direct interaction with its audience which is one of the key elements of the performance.”

View the full timetable to see where you can catch SOL in Leicester here.


Media are invited to attend: 

Time: 11:50 hours

Date: Friday 14 July 2017

Location: Osborne Building, Leicester Royal Infirmary

Opportunity: Photographs and interviews with hospital staff, patients, DMU’s Chris Heighton and Gijs Kramers, the conductor.


Contact information:
Contact information
For media enquiries regarding the performance at Leicester's Hospitals, please contact:
Paul Millington
Communications Officer
0116 258 8715
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