A focus on Alan Grant
The London Phoenix Orchestra is comprised of musicians from across the insurance and financial sector. They meet on a weekly basis to rehearse and put on a public performance about four times a year.
Alan Grant joined the London Phoenix Orchestra in 1976, and as well as being the LPO’s French Horn player, Alan is also Chairman of the Insurance Orchestral Society, Non-Executive Director in seven insurance companies in London as well as Chair of the Risk Committee, and part-owner of a ski chalet company, piano player and rock band member to name just a few of his current endeavours!
Alan spoke with us about the London Phoenix Orchestra, a registered charity. We discussed the history of the orchestra and what role it plays today.The Orchestra was set up in 1924 by Harold Rawlinson and initially called The Insurance Orchestra. It started as an opportunity for employees in the Insurance Industry to get together on a regular basis outside of work. Playing regularly at The Royal Festival Hall, the orchestra established itself at the forefront of amateur orchestras. In the 1990’s the orchestra changed its name to the London Phoenix Orchestra.
Alan’s mantra is that the orchestra should be “one of the top amateur orchestras in London”.
He left school at 16 to start work and having played in the Havering Youth Orchestra it made sense to him that, alongside working, he would play in a city orchestra.
About eight years ago Reg Brown came on board and took the orchestra into a more commercially viable direction introducing the corporate membership scheme. With the increasing cost of hiring venues, paying for music, instrument hire etc. the running costs of the orchestra were escalating and the subs paid by the members were nowhere near enough to cover the on-going costs.
The charismatic Levon Parikian is the orchestra’s conductor and is heavily involved in constructing each season’s programme to make sure there is something for everyone.
Each concert has a theme around which the music is based. The most recent theme for the orchestra’s summer gala concert was classic film scores. This event was the culmination of this year’s Insurance Charities Awareness Week where we enjoyed a fantastic evening of music at Cadogan Hall in London. The concert, in aid of The Insurance Charities, included music from Morricone’s Cinema Paradiso, Gershwin’s An American In Paris, Williams E.T. – Adventures on Earth and the beautiful piece from Out Of Africa by John Barry which was a highlight of the evening.
Joining the orchestra
If you are interested in playing for the orchestra the joining criteria is to be a grade 8 musician. You can try it out for an evening before deciding if you want to join and the age of the players reflects the diverse nature of the orchestra from old to young. Or if you would like to find out when their next concert is then take a look at their website www.phoenixorchestra.org/