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The Sounds of Lockdown

Posted 29.05.20

This week, HRH The Prince of Wales called for us all to consider the "enormous importance" of the arts in our lives and to collectively "find a way of keeping orchestras and other arts bodies going". Therefore, the Turnbull team have collected our favourite sound-related stories from throughout lockdown to share with you.


Every Thursday, people around the world, have taken to their balconies and doorsteps to celebrate the frontline workers that have cared for us throughout the COVID-19 crisis. In the UK, Turnbull supported the official charity of the Clap for Carers initiative further by donating our profits. The galvanising eruption of percussion is a moving public display of our collective gratitude ­– and one we hope will continue.


The world’s planned VE Day 75th Anniversary celebrations may have been suspended; however, the Royal British Legion marked the occasion by organising a sing-along for us to unite around Vera Lynn’s legendary wartime song We’ll Meet Again. Featuring some of the UK's national treasures, including Lesley Joseph, Dame Joan Collins, Bill Bailey and Elaine Paige OBE.



Womenswear brand, Toast, have collaborated with musicians and sound designers Leon JeanMarie and Christin Rauter on a series of wondrous soundscapes. The year-long project is available on their website and is said to ‘calm, reset and enliven the mind’. 


Echoing Prince Charles’ sentiment, the world’s orchestras' response to the crisis has been particularly inspiring. Collaborating from a distance, they have continued to fill the world with their amazing music. Here are a few that caught our attention:

British composer, Dani Howard, made her debut with the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2019, and she composed #STAY, "a little musical message for the world." 

The New York Philharmonic took to YouTube to perform Adagietto from Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, as a show of thanks to the people of New York City.


When their performances of Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra was cancelled, Opera North, based in Leeds, England, ensured the show went on with a virtual performance of 2020: An Isolation Odyssey, from Kubrick's classic film.

The BBC Symphony Orchestra took to video call for this collaborative performance of Final Flight by Paul Thomson from their homes. For another performance, the BBCSO asked for members of the public to submit their home videos for a moving crowd-sourced rendition of You’ve Got the Love.

In the US. the Socially Distant Orchestra has been releasing numerous performances on YouTube. See them play Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture here.


As a tribute to the NHS and health workers that have lost their lives to COVID-19, The Choir Project in Manchester, England, unites members of the Northenden Community Choir, the RNCM and Deloitte staff choirs, as well as singer Kerry Ellis and poet Tony Walsh, for a performance of Coldplay’s Fix You.


Los Angeles’ The Board Museum, through their YouTube, have made public The Infinite Drone Series – “a new, contemplative way of experiencing The Broad’s most popular artwork”. Experience Yayoi Kusama's The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, the immersive infinity mirrored room, like never before.



London's Royal Opera House has created #OurHouseToYourHouse, a streamed series of performances from their archive. Here they present the premiere of Laurent Pelly's production of Massenet's Cendrillon, an adaptation of the legendary Cinderella fairy-tale.


"People are spending more time in the house and so they are more sensitive about noises inside and outside the home," sound artist and designer Yuri Suzuki told design magazine Dezeen in May. As a response to the crisis, Suzuki has launched a crowdsourced project archiving sound, in collaboration with the Dallas Museum of Art – submit your sounds here.

Daniel Challis

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