Tony Haynes, composer/creative director of the Grand Union Orchestra, tells the inside story of his music for the orchestra, its musicians and colourful history.

83: Breaking the Spell

I’m writing this Post about half-way through the Grand Union Orchestra’s 40th anniversary year – the Company hit the road for the first time with a music-theatre show Jelly Roll … Continue reading

August 21, 2022 · 1 Comment

82: Raise the Banner

  2021 was a bumper year for anniversaries of events of lasting social and political significance in London’s East End. This 3-minute video introduces how the Grand Union Orchestra commemorated … Continue reading

November 21, 2021 · Leave a comment

81: The Covid19th Chord

There’s a great sentimental Victorian ballad called The Lost Chord, by Sir Arthur Sullivan of G & S Savoy Operas fame. Sadly these days, few people seem to have heard … Continue reading

September 26, 2021 · Leave a comment

80: Now we are 80!

Foreword: when I originally wrote this Post, I was reluctant to admit that I was just a few days short of my 8oth birthday, so I wrote this allusive, enigmatic, … Continue reading

July 4, 2021 · Leave a comment

79: Declaration of Independence

After the Second World War, Britain began to grant independence to its various colonies across the globe. In 1947, India was divided into separate nations; one of them, Pakistan, was … Continue reading

April 30, 2021 · Leave a comment

78: Let’s Create

“South Korean scientists have created an algorithm to determine whose work, out of 19 composers, was the most original.” (Arts Professional, January 14th 2021). This is one of the scariest … Continue reading

February 28, 2021 · 1 Comment

77: Artists Show the Way

  This Post explores in more detail themes from the two previous Posts – (75) the value of improvisation, and (76) the limitations of cultural institutions. It is generally accepted … Continue reading

November 24, 2020 · Leave a comment

76: Staying Ahead of the Game

This is essentially a sequel to my previous Post (75), on the virtues of improvisation. During the months since the original Lockdown, the Grand Union has fared reasonably well . … Continue reading

October 18, 2020 · Leave a comment

75: Improvisation

Improvisation – the ability to think on your feet, live by your wits, adapt quickly to changing circumstances – is one of life’s essential skills. Along with empathy, it is … Continue reading

August 31, 2020 · Leave a comment

74: Five Hundred Years or more…

Reflecting on the horrific murder of George Floyd, the protests and civic unrest that it unleashed worldwide, I remembered a powerful piece, Worksong, from the Grand Union Orchestra canon a … Continue reading

June 22, 2020 · Leave a comment

73: In Memoriam John Cumming

It’s with great sadness that I learnt of the death of John Cumming, a valued friend from pretty well the beginning of my working life as a musician. Most of … Continue reading

May 24, 2020 · 1 Comment

72: 20/20 and a timely look back…

Exactly three months ago, I was writing a message of hope and good cheer for 2020 (Post 71), just before setting off for Australia and South Asia. Who could have … Continue reading

March 31, 2020 · Leave a comment

71: 2020 Vision

Here is a soundtrack to these seasonal greetings (albeit in reverse order!); for more details, go to Post 60. Whatever happens in 2020, it is surely going to be an … Continue reading

December 30, 2019 · 1 Comment

70: Democracy needs Imagination

To work effectively, democracy needs freedom of thought and expression if citizens are to make informed decisions in casting their votes; it also requires empathy – the capacity to appreciate … Continue reading

October 30, 2019 · Leave a comment

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