City of London Sinfonia
City of London Sinfonia is one of the organisations that inspired us as we researched how arts and culture can positively affect mental health and wellbeing…
‘Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once’.
So wrote the poet, Robert Browning.
City of London Sinfonia, the orchestral home to over 40 outstanding musicians, is based on the shared belief that music has the power to transform lives. Of the dozens of performances the Sinfonia gives every year, many take place outside conventional music venues – in care homes, clubs, hospitals and schools – before groups who wouldn’t ordinarily experience outstanding professional music-making.
The link between music and mindfulness is one which the orchestra has been exploring. Both music and the practice of meditation involve stepping out of the day to day and tuning into a different, deeper mode.
In their Music and Mindfulness concerts, the orchestra aims to create a ‘magic hour’ of peace and calm to help combat the stresses of everyday life. Ann Lovatt, violinist and mindfulness practitioner, leads the event, either conducting a short mindful meditation within a live performance, or highlighting aspects of the music which allow an insight appropriate to the practice of meditation.
Matthew Swann, Chief Executive of City of London Sinfonia, describes the concerts as: ‘a light touch way of raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing’. One member of the audience described a performance in the following terms: ‘it was like being bathed in healing and timelessness’.
Watch this video, featuring Ann Lovatt talking about the concerts