Richard J. Birkin & London Contemporary Orchestra

Biography Richard J. Birkin & London Contemporary Orchestra

The London Contemporary Orchestra
is a leading global orchestral group focused on playing, commissioning and developing new music and artistic output. Alongside working with well-known artists, LCO focus on developing a diverse next generation of players, conductors and composers by creating opportunities for them to work at the highest professional level.

Formed in 2008 by co-artistic Directors Robert Ames and Hugh Brunt, the LCO has collaborated with a wide array of musicians, artists, creative figures, platforms and venues such as: Radiohead, Frank Ocean, Jed Kurzel, Jonny Greenwood, Steve Reich, Justice, Terry Riley, Thom Yorke, Mica Levi, Actress, Beck, William Basinski, Richard Reid Parry, Goldfrapp, James Lavelle, Secret Cinema, Vivienne Westwood, Nike, Bill Morrison, Conrad Shawcross, Ron Arad, Hannah Perry, NTS, Boiler Room, DAZED, Resident Advisor, Meltdown Festival, Barbican, Southbank Centre, Roundhouse, Printworks, Tate Modern and BBC Proms.

LCO have a strong recording and performance record for film, television and music, having recorded soundtracks such as The Master, Alien: Covenant, Macbeth, Phantom Thread, Assassin’s Creed, You Were Never Really Here, McMafia, Suspiria, American Animals, performed live Moonlight, There Will be Blood and Under the Skin and featured heavily (strings and choir) on Radiohead’s 2016 A Moon Shaped Pool.

Upcoming projects include: A world tour of Phantom Thread performed live, a development collaboration with Erased Tapes label, a new organ concerto with Philip Glass, a studio album with Actress, a new collaboration with Hannah Perry and Mica Levi, a new live show of Become Ocean developed with Universal Assembly Unit.

The LCO is a winner of the RPS ‘best ensemble’ award, the UK’s highest accolade for an orchestral group.

“London Contemporary Orchestra has become one of Britain’s brightest beacons for new music. Its repertoire is adventurous yet it attracts sell-out crowds to extraordinary venues and has a remarkable online following. It nurtures new audiences, forges fruitful alliances across the stylistic spectrum, and champions challenging scores with virtuosic flair.”

Hugh Brunt
is co-Artistic Director and co-Principal Conductor of the London Contemporary Orchestra, winners at the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards. Since 2008, he has led the LCO in innovative programmes at UK and European venues and festivals including the Roundhouse, Barbican, Royal Opera House, Open’er Festival (Poland), Royal Festival Hall, Victoria Hall (Geneva), Tate Modern, Latitude Festival, and live on BBC Radio 3 at the BBC Proms.

Recent and upcoming engagements include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Orchestra of Opera North, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, BBC Concert Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia. He has conducted numerous premieres by leading young composers Francisco Coll, Shiva Feshareki, Martin Suckling, Gabriel Prokofiev, Emily Hall, Valgeir Sigurðsson and Edmund Finnis.

He conducted the string and choir arrangements on Radiohead’s album A Moon Shaped Pool. A collaborator of composer and guitarist Jonny Greenwood, he has featured as conductor and/or arranger on his scores for Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, Phantom Thread and Licorice Pizza, Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, and Pablo Larraín’s Spencer. With the LCO he has premiered seven short works by Greenwood, and conducted the first live screening of the Academy Award-winning There Will Be Blood. He conducted the world premiere of Greenwood’s violin concerto, Horror vacaui, at the BBC Proms 2019 with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He has also worked with Thom Yorke, conducting and orchestrating his first feature film score, Suspiria (directed by Luca Guadagnino), and Yorke’s latest solo album, Anima, produced by Nigel Godrich.

Other collaborative work includes Mica Levi, Beck, Nicholas Britell, Imogen Heap, Bryce Dessner (The Two Popes), Actress (co-writing tracks on LAGEOS), Bat For Lashes, Foals, Matthew Herbert (A Fantastic Woman, The Cave), Jed Kurzel (Macbeth, Alien: Covenant), and Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer on The Matrix Resurrections.

He studied at New College, Oxford, where he held a choral scholarship, and at the Lucerne Festival Academy under Heinz Holliger.

Richard J. Birkin
is a recording artist and composer for TV & Film. His work has been recorded/performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra quartet, ISKRA Strings and Sinfonia Viva players; recorded at Abbey Road Studio 2 and Nils Frahm’s Durton Studio; featured in the Sky Atlantic/Canal+ series The Young Pope starring Jude Law; and licensed by Armani, BBC Radio 4 and NASA.

He has written original soundtracks for short films (Edith, starring Peter Mullan and Michelle Fairley), a novel (the Man-Booker nominated Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor), a museum (a permanent musical installation in Derby Museum’s Nature Gallery) and more.

Richard also frequently experiments with music led new media – creating a touch sensitive installation for his string-quartet Night Sun, and interactive performances for his EP Songs for Spoken Words where he took control of the audience’s phones.

His critically-acclaimed work as a recording artist includes an eclectic neo-classical/ambient/post-rock meditation on a city at night (A Lullaby Hum for Tired Streets, Triste 2011), and a richly arranged and produced album for piano and string-quartet (Vigils, Reveal Records 2016).

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