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    LCO: Imagined Occasions (Photo by Jana Chiellino)

Music: Spinetingling orchestral magic in abandoned Underground stations

Posted by Holly Wilkins,

I’ve always been intrigued by the London Underground’s rich history and so was very excited to be invited to a one-of-a-kind performance by the London Contemporary Orchestra at Aldwych, a station abandoned in the 1980s. 

The performance was based around an incomplete opera written by Canadian composer Claude Vivier, where the protagonist is murdered by a stranger on the subway. Ill-fated to say the least, Claude was later stabbed to death in his own home. As I walked down the 200 odd steps into the depths of the station, it is fair to say I had no idea what to expect.

You walk through crumbling tunnels, board a disused train and finish on a dilapidated platform, with the destination accompanied by short pieces, each with a mixture of instruments and musical styles. The highlight had to be the choir performance in a train tunnel – the eery darkness is pierced by lights strapped to their heads and you are fully immersed in an incredible experience. 

The LCO pushed the boundaries of orchestral performance and even a few weeks after, it still sends chills down my spine.

The Imagined Occasions Series continues on August 22 and October 3, see the LCO website for details.

  • Lco_hugh-brunt_credit-jana-chiellino

    LCO: Imagined Occasions (Photo by Jana Chiellino)

  • Lco_hugh-brunt-conducting-angels2_rjanachiellino_-05

    LCO: Imagined Occasions (Photo by Jana Chiellino)

  • Lco_robert-ames_rjanachiellino_-06

    LCO: Imagined Occasions (Photo by Jana Chiellino)


Posted by Holly Wilkins

Holly worked with us as an editorial intern after studying at Leeds University and working in the PR industry in Los Angeles for a short period. She wrote for the site between March and May 2013.