St John’s Smith Square and Southbank Sinfonia to join forces from April 2021

A cracking start to the day this morning – a press release announcing the merger of two arts organisations.

Getting underway with digital concert on 15th April and underway by Summer 2021, training orchestra Southbank Sinfonia and Westminster concert venue St John’s Smith Square are joining forces to become Southbank Sinfonia at St John’s Smith Square.

The new organisation will be a home for world-class musical development and act as a permanent home for the Southbank Sinfonia. The fellowship of musicians will rehearse, run workshops and community-driven events, in addition to participating in St John’s Smith Square’s ongoing festivals like Holy Week and Christmas Festivals.

The news is a strong message ahead of the much-anticipated transition back into live performance, positioning a much-loved concert venue and exciting ensemble at a critical point in time.

“We’re incredibly excited to be welcoming 33 wonderfully talented young musicians to become the driving force behind the creative programme at St John’s Smith Square,” commented Richard Heason, Director of St John’s Smith Square. “It’s a stunning building with a fabulous reputation for music-making which embraces everything from local groups to world-class artists. Placing emerging talent at the heart of the organisation guarantees the future of our musical heritage.”

St John’s Smith Square has consistently demonstrated resilience, resourcefulness, and determination throughout the pandemic. Director Richard Heason made the venue available for all manner of recording projects inside and out, underlining the value of the venue’s much-loved acoustic for audio and video captures. A variety of crowdfunding projects underline the organisation’s determination (as well the venue’s lack of Arts Council funding).

Simon Over, Music Director from Southbank Sinfonia, and Richard Heason from St John’s Smith Square become Co-Directors in the newly-merged organisation. Simon Over said,

“I’ve always loved performing at St John’s Smith Square.  Southbank Sinfonia has enjoyed an ongoing relationship with the hall since its inaugural concert there in 2002, and in its 20th anniversary next year, the moment is right for the orchestra to enter the next stage of its development, making this splendid hall its permanent home.”