The Engines Orchestra (eO) makes sounds that defy conventions. Uniting London’s most adventurous young classical, jazz, world and folk musicians we’re a community working closely with other artists to push the boundaries and develop audiences for groundbreaking, new music.
Large-scale collaborations, educational projects and artist development schemes surround our core values. We make music for thinking, dancing and purely enjoying; allowing everyone the opportunity to experience something fresh along the way. We work with composers from all genres, animators, filmmakers and dancers to create accessible ways into challenging environments… whilst never being afraid to let our hair down. We make creative music, together.
The concept of the eO was first imagined by multi-award winning saxophonist and composer Phil Meadows whilst grappling with the diagnosis of type-one diabetes (an autoimmune disease) in April 2013. Staying in a ward without phone signal or internet connection and with only the patients, staff and those who visited to spark conversation Meadows quickly realised the importance of community and how music can bring people together in ways he wasn’t currently exploring. Through a challenging time, a big idea was born.
Recognition from both Help Musicians UK’s Peter Whittingham Jazz Award and Arts Council England quickly followed in support of the Engines Orchestra’s debut project – a collaborative album with the Phil Meadows Group titled Lifecycles. The record featured 13 improvising string players, woodwind, brass, harp and vocals alongside Meadow’s jazz quintet. The result – an exciting suite of new music fusing highly scored soaring melodies with freewheeling spontaneity.
Launching with a sell-out headline gig at the 2014 EFG London Jazz Festival, the Engines Orchestra has since gone from strength to strength and was awarded ‘Best Ensemble’ at the 2015 Parliamentary Jazz Awards. Lifecycles has also received praise from The Guardian, Jazzwise, TimeOut and All About Jazz as well as extensive airplay across BBC Radio 2, 3 and JazzFM.
Today the Engines Orchestra HQ is a hive of activity, working with artists from all backgrounds to produce cutting-edge, original music for everybody to enjoy. As our community grows we aspire to be the UK’s leading creative ensemble, bringing our work to international audiences and providing an opportunity for people from all over the world to get involved. If you have a big idea, then get in touch!
Lifecycles is available via our own label, The Engines Imprint and all major online retailers.
Phil Meadows Group
Phil Meadows (composer / saxophones); Laura Jurd (trumpet); Elliot Galvin (piano / keyboards); Conor Chaplin (double / electric bass); Simon Roth (drums / percussion)
Conductor: Matt Roberts. Brass: Jim Davison (trumpet); Eddie Morgan (french horn); James Buckle (bass trombone). Woodwinds: Jennah Smart (flutes); Rob Cope (clarinet / flute); Gennie Joy (bass clarinet / clarinet). Harp: Tori Handsley. 1st Violins: Emily Davis (principal); Tom Aldren; Alice Zawadzki (+ vocals); Katherine Waller. 2nd Violins: Minn Majoe (principal); Kirsty Lovie; Claire Sledd; Connie Chatwin. Violas: Matt Maguire (principal); Joe Fisher; George White. Cellos: Zosia Jagodzinska (principal); Gregor Riddell.
Artistic Director: Phil Meadows
Operations Manager: Natasha Thomas
Projects Producer: Alex J Watson
Board Of Directors
Chairman: David Warner
Trustees: Jack Fallow; Emily Jones; Jason Yarde
The Engines Orchestra is grateful to have an incredible board of trustees in place to safeguard our artistic direction and develop the future of our organisation. The Engines Orchestra has charitable status pending.
‘Future jazz gods on the rise’ – TimeOut
‘A great orchestra that have managed to mix so many genres’ – Jamie Cullum, BBC Radio 2
‘The result is absolutely stunning, an amazing plethora of musicians from the big orchestra with a jazz rhythm section driving things along’ – Chris Philips, JazzFM
‘Saxophonist Phil Meadows combines his jazz group with the luscious textures of his Engines Orchestra in an album that is reaching for drama in a very attractive melodic and harmonic setting’ – Julian Joseph, BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Line Up