The Multi-Story Orchestra returns for summer season

Peckham car park hosts concert series

Published: June 13, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Set deep in the heart of Only Fools and Horses territory, a concrete multi-storey car park in south-east London will soon be filled with the glorious sounds of Sibelius and Shostakovich.


A series of concerts starting on 20 June will mark the welcome return to Peckham Car Park of the Multi-Story project. Founded by 25-year-old composer Kate Whitley and 26-year old conductor Christopher Stark, its aim is to bring together young musicians (aged 22-30) committed to exploring new ways of getting classical music to wider audiences outside the traditional concert hall setting.

Back in 2011 the project created a buzz with a performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring at the car park. More than 1,500 people attended and the project was featured on a BBC Four documentary, The Sound and the Fury. They have been returning each year for performances at the location but this year marks the first concert series there.

The series begins with a premiere of a work by Whitley for a children’s choir and orchestra, which will feature 200 children from local primary schools. The following day will see the Multi-Story Orchestra performing Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony. And in the following month, Matthew Barley will perform Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1.

On Thursday 7 and Friday 8 August the orchestra will return to Peckham Car Park for Louis Andriessen's De Staat.

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Five more unusual concert locations

If you think a multi-storey car park is an unusual location, here are some to rival it…

1. Under the wings of Concorde…
In 2011 the Lammermuir Festival staged a performance of Philip Glass’s 1000 Airplanes on the Roof in a setting that resembled the location of its premiere – Vienna Airport. The festival managed to stage the concert in the Concorde Hangar at the nearby National Museum of Flight in East Lothian.

2. In a volcano…
Violinist Eric Silberger recently became the first violinist to ever performance inside Thrihnukagigur Volcano in Iceland. This is the only volcano in the world that you can go inside and walk in the magma chamber. The intrepid violinst played Bach’s Chaconne from Partita No. 2 inside the volcano in May.

3. Down a Salt Mine…
The Wieliczka salt mine, near Kraków in Poland reaches a depth of 327m and is used as a venue for the Misteria Paschalia Festival. In 2008 countertenor Philippe Jaroussky joined Christine Pluhar’s early music group L’Arpeggiata to perform a concert of Monteverdi in its depths.

4. In a rainforest…
The Teatro Amazonas is an opera house in the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Manaus in Brazil. The home of the Amazonas Philharmonic Orchestra, the venue has been staging concerts since 1896.


5. Up a mountain…
Bodø hosts an annual Nordland Music Festival just within the Arctic Circle in Norway: the stunning Keiserverden Mountain makes a unique concert location. Flown in by helicopter, Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has performed Grieg at the mountain’s summit.

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