Cancelled: The First Cuckoo

Following the guidance from Public Health England, it is with a heavy heart that we inform you that Firebird’s next concert, The First Cuckoo, on Sunday 22 March has been cancelled…

As a result of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak the programme at Kings Place has been suspended until the advice changes. The safety of all our artists, audience members and staff remains our priority at this difficult time.

If you have already booked tickets through the Kings Place box office you will receive a separate notification of the cancellation of this event and giving you the option of a refund, a voucher or donating the value of ticket.

We would kindly ask you to consider donating the value of your ticket in support of our artists and the venue.  Musicians such as those involved with Firebird have been placed in the devastating position of being unable to perform.

Small charities such as London Firebird and Kings Place receive no direct public funding. So if you choose to donate your ticket, the income will be shared between the artists and Kings Place. 

We all hope that this current situation will be short lived. We have a fantastic programme of concerts lined up at the wonderful venue of St George’s Hanover Square.

So please get these dates in your diaries and we all look forward to seeing you later this year.

Composers of Tomorrow

Firebird’s unique outreach collaboration with Middlesex University culminates in a masterclass and a concert this month featuring some of the exciting up and coming composers of tomorrow…

Dr François Evans, Associate Professor in music at Middlesex University gives an overview of the residency with London Firebird Orchestra

Since 2013 London Firebird Orchestra has been Orchestra in Residence at Middlesex University. The relationship enables the Orchestra to perform in a range of activities from concerts to masterclasses and workshops each year.

Tuesday 13 March 2018 6pm-9pm
Composition masterclass with Michael Thrift
Grove Concert Room, Hendon Campus, Middlesex University

This year the residency provides a composition workshop as the first stage of the Middlesex University Chamber Orchestra Composition Prize.This annual event is a key part of the Firebird Orchestra’s residency at Middlesex University.

So let’s meet this year’s chosen composers…


Vivaswath Rao
(BA Music, Third Year)

Vivaswath is an opera singer, Hindustani classical vocalist and composer from Mumbai, India. He is currently in his final year of undergraduate study as a performer and composer at Middlesex University, having previously studied at KM Music Conservatory, Chennai.

Clara Fiedler
(BA Music, Second Year)
The Passage

Originally from Germany, Clara worked in music management and journalism before moving to the UK in 2015 to begin her studies at Middlesex University. She is involved with various choirs and ensembles, as a chorister and soloist, and also works in music education for people with learning disabilities.

Bernardo Gonçalves
(BA Music, Second Year)

Bernardo completed a music production degree in Lisbon before moving to London to continue his studies at Middlesex University. His interest in music and the arts is wide-ranging, but his main focus is composition. He has written soundtracks for films and short cues and, after graduating, plans to enter the film industry as a composer.

Sukanyan Sunthareswaren
(BA Music, Third Year)
A Wicked Love Song

Originally from Sri Lanka, Sukanyan studied at KM Music Conservatory, Chennai, before entering directly into the third year of Middlesex University’s BA Music degree course. He is an active composer, writing music for films, television commercials, documentaries and mobile apps, and in 2015 was shortlisted for Nokia’s ‘Sounds of the World’ ringtone project.


The second stage is a performance of the winning piece (chosen by Middlesex staff and Firebird personnel) at the annual Spring showcase concert at St Pancras Church, which is accompanied by London Firebird Orchestra.

Thursday 22 March 2018 7:30pm-9pm
London Firebird Orchestra
George Jackson conductor

St Pancras Church, Euston Road, London NW1 2BA
Un-ticketed, Free Admission

For Middlesex University student composers, this represents an invaluable opportunity to hear their pieces workshopped. For the winner there is the added bonus of a public performance by a professional chamber orchestra. This is a rare, perhaps unique, offer for undergraduate students within UK University music departments.


Astor Piazolla

The King of Tango

Firebird’s next concert on 8 February features music by Vivaldi alongside the music of Ástor Piazzolla – described by music critic Stephen Holden as ‘the world’s foremost composer of Tango music’. Nicholas Keyworth explores the life and music of this great Argentinian musician.

Born in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 1921, Ástor Piazzolla was the son of Italian immigrants. Much of his childhood was in New York where he would listen to his father’s records of Italian tango orchestras as well as jazz and classical music – and especially Bach. Piazzolla composed his first tango La catinga aged 11 and soon after began piano lessons with Bela Wilda, a student of Rachmaninoff, who taught him to play Bach on a bandoneon which his father had spotted in a New York pawn shop in 1929.

Back in Argentina he began to play in various tango orchestras and met the pianist Arthur Rubinstein who recommended he studied with the eminent Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera. In 1946 he formed his Orquesta Típica, which became a platform for his own experiments with orchestration, tango styles and also composed film scores.

Astor Piazzolla Lithograph by Hetty Krist

Astor Piazzolla Lithograph by Hetty Krist

In 1953 he won a grant from the French government to study in Paris with the legendary composition teacher Nadia Boulanger. Piazzolla thought his destiny now lay in ‘pure’ classical music but Boulanger soon saw that his true musical talent lay in his tango compositions.

Back in Argentina, Piazzolla formed his Orquesta de Cuerdas. This was the birth of nuevo tango revolutionising the traditional tango into a new style incorporating elements from jazz and classical music. Piazzolla’s presence on the international stage was now guaranteed. Right up until his death in 1992 he was always in great demand across the globe as a composer of film music, opera and chamber music as well as virtuoso performer in his own right winning a string of awards and accolades for his work.

Astor Piazzolla 1963

Astor Piazzolla 1963

Piazzola’s music is captivating, fascinating, familiar yet always fresh and accessible. It’s classical influences from the baroque can be heard combined with the exotic dance music of South America, the sensuality of the Mediterranean and twist of Jazz. No wonder his music has become one of the most popular and exciting musical forms of our time.

Musical Connections at St George’s Hanover Square

Last week’s brilliant Firebird concert at St George’s Hanover Square took place in this historic and prestigious venue by popular demand from the orchestra’s Friends Society – and was a special evening to be remembered.

Firebird’s Artistic Director, Marc Corbett-Weaver said of the event:
It was wonderful to play this delightful programme in the musically historic and remarkable intimacy of St George’s Hanover Square. Not only was this the Firebird Debut for the young French conductor Nicolas Nibout, it was also rather special that there were three unique connections with this remarkable venue: