Events

​Grand Union's priority is live performance, and since 1982 we have toured regularly - and continue to tour - throughout the whole of the UK and to many parts of Europe and the rest of the world.

For Youth Orchestra events, see also GUYO performances and GUYO workshops pages, and Projects for other activities.
For more on opportunities for participation, see the pages for Grand Union Voices and Band Off The Wall;

AUTUMN PROGRAMME 2019 - music re:unites

SEPTEMBER

Sunday 22nd, 1.00pm & 3.00pm – Grand Union Orchestra All-Stars
Bank Junction, City of London EC4 , open air stage

The 9-strong All-Stars are a main feature attraction on the main stage outside the Bank of England in Transport for London's car-free day, with music and musicians from West Africa, China, India, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Friday 27th, 7.00pm - Uncharted Voyage
Croydon, Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, London CR9 1DG 
Our latest collaboration with Croydon Music and Arts celebrates both the reopening of the newly refurbished historic Fairfield Halls as the Phoenix Centre, and 50 years since the original performance there of Croydon Youth Orchestra in a specially commissioned work by Tony Haynes.  

OCTOBER

Sounding Bethnal Green Is our contribution to Black History Month, every Friday throughout October at St John's Church. It aims to bring the attention of local residents to the extraordinary variety of people and cultures on their doorstep. Combining performance, interview, discussion and practical workshop, led by professional artists from Africa, Bangladesh, China and Somalia, it highlights the remarkable demographic of the neighbourhood and its history through music and musicians flourishing locally.

Friday 4th, 7.00pm (bar opens 6.30) - Sounding Bethnal Green
St John on Bethnal Green, 200 Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA
Admission: pay what you can afford
Opening event featuring Claude Deppa (trumpet, percussion) and the music of the South African diaspora (see note above). 

Friday 11th, 7.00pm (bar opens 6.30) - Sounding Bethnal Green
St John on Bethnal Green, 200 Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA
Admission: pay what you can afford 

The second event in the series features gu zheng (Chinese harp) virtuoso Zhu Xiao Meng, with folk songs and ancient court music of China (see note above).

Sunday 13th, 7.00pm (note change of time) - Bengal to Bethnal Green
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
Admission free 
A special event in this popular and much-loved programme, directed by tabla maestro Yousuf Ali Khan (see also October 25th). It features the remarkable Indian classical singer Mahamaya Shil with GUO All-Stars musicians including Shanti Jayasinha (trumpet, cello), Louise Elliott (flute, tenor sax), Carlos Fuentes (Latin percussion) and Gerry Hunt (guitar, bass) unusual arrangements by Tony Haynes that combine South Asian music with other traditions.

Friday 18th, 7.00pm (bar opens 6.30) - Sounding Bethnal Green
St John on Bethnal Green, 200 Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA
Admission: pay what you can afford

The third featured artist in this programme marking Black History Month is the celebrated Ghanaian master-drummer Abass Dodoo (see note above)

Friday 25th, 7.00pm (bar opens 6.30) - Sounding Bethnal Green
St John on Bethnal Green, 200 Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA
Admission: pay what you can afford 

A chance to savour the genius of local celebrity Yousuf Ali Khan (tabla) up close and personal, as he presents the final event in the Black History Month series with other artists and young singers from the Bengali community (see note above).

NOVEMBER

Wednesday 6th, 7.00pm - A World Music Odyssey
Hackney Empire Theatre, 291 Mare Street, London E8 1EJ
Grand Union musicians with a stellar array of Hackney's most promising musicians in a Gala evening in one of London's most beautiful theatres! The journey starts in West Africa, taking in the Caribbean, the Balkans and India, and finishing in South Africa. Strings, wind and brass, tuned percussion, steel pans and African drummers all feature in this extravaganza led by Claude Deppa, with compositions and arrangements by Tony Haynes.

Sunday 10th, 4.00pm - Bengal to Bethnal Green
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
Admission free
A second special event in the popular programme, this time featuring young musicians. Led as always by table maestro Yousuf Ali Khan, the performance introduces the young Bengali singer Reya Sharmin and emerging artists from the Grand Union Re:Generation Band, including Amisha Karsan (sitar) Mahesh Parkar (tabla) and Krishna Shil (violin). Flyer here

Friday 15th, 7.00pm – Grand Union Re:Generation Band
Poplar Union, 2 Cotall Street, Poplar, London E14 6TL
Admssion free   
The Re:Generation Band returns with a programme of its own compositions. (This is an ongoing GUO initiative with young professional musicians of the future - see note below)

DECEMBER

Sunday 15th, 7.00pm - GUYO Winter Concert
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
Admission £8 / £5 concessions 
Annual concert summing up and celebrating the Youth Orchestra's year's work, from the launch of the Re:Generation Band, through great festival performances to the best ever Summer School! The evening will feature music created by the young musicians during this period.

Whatever the eventual outcome of Brexit, our society is likely to remain at odds with itself for some time to come. The arts, and music in particular, have the potential to heal rifts and bring people together again. All our autumn projects, including those with young musicians, aim to contribute to this aim, and the development of the Re:Generation Band is an important aspect of that 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR SO FAR

MAY

Wednesday 22nd – Grand Union Orchestra All-Stars, Trinity Buoy Wharf
An All-Star 10-piece Grand Union Band specially assembled to launch an exciting new series of jazz events in the atmospheric setting of Trinity Buoy Wharf. 

Monday 27th – Band off the Wall, All Points East Festival, Victoria Park
Grand Union’s Dalston Community street band comes off the iconic Peace Mural, and makes its first appearance at East London’s most prestigious festival.

JUNE

Thursday 27th – A World Music Odyssey Round Chapel, Clapton Collaboration with Hackney Music Service, featuring Hackney Borough Youth Orchestra, the Training Orchestra and other schools ensembles.

JULY

Sunday 7th - Bengal to Bethnal Green,  Rich Mix
A special editiion featuring sarod virtuoso Shahadat Hossein Khan, visiting from Bangladesh, and singer Shyamal Chowdhury with tabla maestro Yousuf Ali Khan.

Saturday 20th - Sounding Bethnal Green Summer Gala, St John on Bethnal Green Workshops and performances highlighting the wondrous cultural mix of community groups and musicians flourishing in the East End today.

Saturday 27th - Hillview Estate Festival, King's Cross
Grand Union 6-piece band featuring local Indian singer Mahamaya Shil and her son Joshi on tabla - South Asian music with more than a touch of Carnival! 

Mon 29th - Thurs August 1st, Annual Residential Summer School               Writtle University College, Chelmsford
Public performance at 4.30 on Thursday 1st of work created during the Summer School. For full information, go to the Summer School page

AUGUST

Wednesday 7th – Grand Union Orchestra All-stars Trinity Buoy Wharf
The All-Star 10-piece Grand Union Band assembled to launch the summer's new series of jazz events in the atmospheric setting of Trinity Buoy Wharf returns - bringing the spirit of New Orleans 100 years ago to East London’s own Mississippi delta, the confluence of the River Lea and the Thames!

Read the great feature on Grand Union at Trinity Buoy Wharf in Wharf Life magazine! 

FEBRUARY

Friday 1st: Sounding Bethnal Green, St John's 
Focusing on the South African diaspora, led by trumpeter Claude Deppa and singer/percussionist Marcina Arnold.

Sunday 3rd: Bengal to Bethnal Green, Rich Mix
The first in the 2019 series, featuring singer Nandita Mukherjee. Flyer here

Friday 15th: Sounding Bethnal Green, St John's
Chinese classical and folk music with Shanghai-born gu zheng (Chinese harp) virtuoso Zhu Xiao Meng

Friday 22nd: Bengal, Bhangra and the Blues , Poplar Union
Celebrating International Mother Language Day in a programme devised by tabla maestro Yousuf Ali Khan, joined by young musicians from workshops organised in collaboration with Spotlight and Poplar Union. Full details here.

Saturday 23rd: What Colour is Jazz?, Chat's Palace, Hackney
Fundraising event for Headway East London, bringing together Grand Union musicians, MOBO-nominated Camilla George and DJ Lex Blondin.

MARCH

Friday 1st: Sounding Bethnal Green, St John's 
Music and musicians from Bangladesh and Southern India, led by Yousuf Ali Khan.

Sunday 3rd: Bengal to Bethnal Green, Rich Mix
The second in the series, featuring singer Zannat Quasari. Flyer here.

Friday 15th: Sounding Bethnal Green
Focusing on the music of Somalia with internationally acclaimed oud player Mohamed Maalo Nuur.

Wednesday 20th: The Rhythm of Rivers, Royal Albert Hall
Commissioned for over 1000 musicians and singers by Merton Music Foundation

Monday 25th-Friday 29th: Trading Roots, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk schools
Six Grand Union musicians touring performances and workshops of music from around the world.

APRIL

Friday 5th, 7.00 - 9.00pm: Sounding Bethnal Green
St John on Bethnal Green
Led by Bulgarian percussionist Lilia Iontcheva, focusing on the songs and dance rhythms of Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Sunday 7th, 4.00pm - Bengal to Bethnal Green, Rich Mix
The last in the current series of immensely popular free events, directed by tabla maestro Yousuf Ali Khan, bringing together local Bengali artists with musicians from the Grand Union Orchestra, featuring singer Suzana Ansari. Flyer here

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