Portsmouth Sinfonia

Also known as Portsmith Sinfonia, Portsmouth Sinfonia, The
Members of Portsmouth Sinfonia: Angus Fraser, Ann Shrosbree, Bob Woolford, Brian Eno, Brian Watterson, Brian Young, Cherril Smith, Chris Turner, Clive Richardson, David Saunders (2), Deborah Smith, Gary Gunby, Gary Rickard, Gavin Bryars, Gwen Fereday, Ian Southward, Imogen Morley, James Lampard, Jeffrey Steele, Jenni Adams, Jill Adams, John Farley (2), John Lawrence, John Ryder, Linda Adams, Maggi Wooton, Martin Kenny, Maurice Joyce, Mick Steele, Neil Watson, Nigel Coombes, Peter Beresford, Peter Clutterbuck, Robert Carter (2), Robin Mortimore, Russell Coates, Simon Dale, Stefan Klima, Stephen Luscombe, Steve Beresford, Sue Evans, Suzette Worden, Tony Talbot, Utako Ikeda
This performer (group) in the Internet: http://www.portsmouthsinfonia.com/, http://www.specht-h.at/

Discography of Portsmouth Sinfonia:

# Release title Total tracks Type of release is Imprint date Label
1 Plays The Popular Classics 11 Audio 1974 Columbia
2 William Tell Overture / Also Sprach Zarathustra Op. 31 (Excerpt) 2 Audio 1974 Columbia
3 Classical Muddly 15 Audio 1981 Springtime Records
4 Hallelujah 8 Audio 1974 Transatlantic Records
5 Plays The Popular Classics 11 Audio 1973 Transatlantic Records
6 An Der Schönen Blauen Donau / Also Sprach Zarathustra 2 Audio 1974 Transatlantic Records
7 Classical Muddly 2 Audio 1981 Springtime Records
8 20 Classic Rock Classics 20 Audio 1979 Philips
9 20 Classic Rock Classics 20 Audio 1979 Philips
10 Plays The Popular Classics 14 Audio 1974-05-00 Transatlantic Records
11 Plays The Popular Classics 11 Audio 1973 Transatlantic Records
12 20 Classic Rock Classics 20 Audio 1979 Philips
13 Hallelujah - At The Royal Albert Hall 8 Audio 1974 Antilles
14 Hallelujah At The Royal Albert Hall 8 Audio 1977 Transatlantic Records
15 Plays The Popular Classics 11 Audio 1974 Columbia
16 William Tell Overture 2 Audio Transatlantic Records


The self-proclaimed "world's worst orchestra" was founded by Gavin Bryars in 1970 when he was lecturing at the Portsmouth School of Art.

Bryars wanted to engage the masses with classical music, and sought a way to liberate the form from the pomposity of its audience. His idea was to form an orchestra of the people. Anyone could join, regardless of skill.

The orchestra comprised known musicians playing instruments they had no knowledge of, virtuoso players and people who had never played an instrument in their lives. Their oeuvré would encompass the popular classics and rock songs - music that could be played by ear. No sight-reading skills were therefore required. The virtuoso players kept everything vaguely within the realms of what might be called a tune, with the other players reaching for (and missing) notes nearby. The result was a fascinating atonal mess of a noise, one which was considered profound by several of Bryars classical contemporaries.

The hilarious results of this experiment led to the Portsmouth Sinfonia's records being pitched at the comedy market which earned them a cult following, enough for them to be selling out the Royal Albert Hall by 1974.

Although it ceased performing in 1982, the Portsmouth Sinfonia never formally disbanded. At the time of writing (March 2006) there are whispers that more concerts might just be forthcoming…


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