Parallax Orchestra is an exciting new professional orchestra founded in 2015 by violinist and viola player Will Harvey and cellist Maddie Cutter. The pair met whilst recording sessions for various bands and the idea was had to formalise a group to bring together the best and most versatile musicians in order to work with high quality artists. As well as being an orchestra made up of some of country's best young professional players, Parallax Orchestra provide a session-player fixing and music arranging service and is fundamentally a group of creatively-driven musicians interested in collaboration, co-writing and exploring musical potential.
Parallax Orchestra have performed at the Royal Albert hall in ambitious large-scale projects with UK rock band Bring Me The Horizon (April 2016) and most recently with US Hard-Rock band Alter Bridge (October 2017). Reviews of the orchestra have been unanimously positive with The Guardian describing the performance as 'absurdly thrilling' and the collaboration as a 'sumptuous triumph'.
Parallax Orchestra is conducted by Simon Dobson who is one of the primary arrangers for the ensemble and a two times BASCA award winner for his compositions.
What a beautiful couple of nights! Alter Bridge are a truly world class band and we really loved every second of sharing the stage with them. So, thank you Myles, Mark, Brian and Flip for trusting in us and letting us put outrageous brass lines, swoopy strings, punchy wind flourishes and an ANVIL in your already brilliant music. Also, your fans are amazing! We loved playing for you!
Secondly, a huge thank you to the orchestra for putting so much into this project. We wanted you to all play because we think you are amazing performers and also lovely people, and you proved us right on all of that plus exceeded our expectations in terms of the level of ensemble and commitment. You are the BEST and we love you.
Thirdly, from the orchestra to Will Harvey: thankyou so so much Will for all of your dedication to Parallax. Will basically organised the entire gig himself including liaising with the AB folks in America, budgeting the whole show, dealing with the business side of the orchestra, organising instrument hire, sending millions of emails, finding instrumentalists for the orchestra, making sure everyone had fair deals and on top of all of that somehow managed to write three amazing arrangements for the show. And I have probably only mentioned half of what he's been up to. Really that is quite an achievement Will and you deserve to be very proud.
Next, to Simon Dobson, our wonderful arranger and conductor. You have such an enthusiasm and affinity for this music and it shines through both in your scores and your conducting. You are adored by all performers, and are quite literally a BRIDGE between the band and the orchestra which we would never want to ALTER. (Haha sorry). You are an enormous talent and we are really really lucky to have you. You rock.
Andrew Skeet, Nathan Klein, we want to thank you both for your arrangements too- they were such a pleasure to play and it was amazing to have such high quality and experienced arrangers in the Parallax team.
A huge thankyou also to Rob Highcroft for all his help with this show, Alter Bridge's wonderful manager Tim Tournier, Joey Brueckmann (who somehow managed to tour manage AND mix front of house at the same time), Alter Bridge's lighting director and production manager Joe Eager, Jasen Hattams and the team from SSE audio for the orchestra sound and monitoring, James Bartlett for stage managing, and Matt Arnold for percussion hire. And also thanks to Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance for lending us bits of equipment such as stand lights which we all know would have been a total disaster if we were without them.
Think that's enough babbling for me but basically this collaboration has been such a vital and important one for Parallax Orchestra, and as you can see... it took a lot of people to make it happen. Onwards and upwards!
Maddie and Parallax Orchestra x
So the shows with Alter Bridge sold out pretty fast! The arrangements are written, the orchestra's booked... Can't wait for this to happen!
In other news, It looks as though we might be on course for a top 10 album this week courtesy of Dodie Clark. 'You' entered the midweek UK chart at number 5 today and looks by all accounts to be doing pretty well across the rest of the world too! [EDIT: it ended up at #6 in the album chart which is pretty great!] It features three songs with string arrangements co-arranged by Will Harvey. The violin parts were performed by Will and the cello parts were performed by Sophie English. dodie (lower case 'd') is an artist that Parallax Orchestra has been playing with for nearly a year now in various configurations. We've helped with arrangements ('When' from the 'Intertwined' ep had a string arrangement written by Elena Abad') and have provided players not just for UK shows, but have also sourced players in the USA for her. She's totally lovely and the band are a super cool bunch.
In the next few weeks we expect to be making a big announcement about the next major Parallax Orchestra collaboration.
As well as putting in the groundwork for this new project, over the last few months we've been on tour with dodie around the UK, we've done arranging for Tinie Tempah and have recorded strings with Enter Shikari.
Anyway... much exciting stuff coming in the not too distant future. Watch this space!
THE DVD IS OUT TODAY!!!
Finally, over a year after we started work on this project, the DVD of our show with Bring Me The Horizon is out! So much work went into this from so many people.
Here's another clip from the show, and you can buy the full thing here.
A few thanks are in order...
Firstly, the Teenage Cancer Trust for giving us the opportunity to do this.
Jordan Fish for his amazing vision and drive to push us all that extra mile to make this project what it is.
Simon Dobson for his sick arrangements, original composition and conducting.
Kat Marsh for the choir arrangements and for organising such a fantastic group of singers.
Maddie Cutter, my fellow Parallax Orchestra administrator, for helping me put the orchestra together.
Ross Anderson for fixing a wonderful brass section.
Peter Miles for his support and for lending us the wonderful Middle Farm Studios where many of the arrangements were written.
Tim Sidwell and his team at Toward Infinity for filming and editing the show.
Romesh Dodangoda for the final mix of the audio, as well as Jordan and Sam Winfield.
Raw Power Management for the massive amounts of admin.
Rob Highcroft and all of the BMTH crew who were thoroughly professional and facilitated the whole thing.
All of our sponsors. Hearology for hearing protection, SSE Audio Group for the PA equipment, Shure for monitoring, The staging, lighting and trucking companies that I forget the names of.
So many people... I'll add more to this post as I remember.
We're so happy to be able to share a bit of a preview of our show with Bring Me The Horizon! This is the Overture 'At the Earth's Curve' by Simon Dobson into 'Doomed' (also arranged by Dobson).
Thanks to Hearology for sorting the orchestra out with free hearing protection for the show... We needed it!
The release of our DVD performing with Bring Me The Horizon is now only a few days away! We highly recommend ordering your copy here.
Most recently we've been on tour with Money supporting Wild Beasts. Will Newell and Alex Marshall from Parallax Orchestra also appeared on Sunday Morning Live performing with the legendary Scottish band Deacon Blue. We also recorded a session (due for release very soon) with YouTuber Dodie Clark.
Maddie's going out on the road soon with the amazing Anna Meredith.
Simon just spent all day on Saturday at the Royal Albert Hall hearing his composition 'Journey of the Lone Wolf' being performed 22 times in a row as the test piece for the National Brass Band Championships.
There are some more big projects in the pipeline... More details to follow soon!
OK it's been a long time since we've done an update. Whoops! We've been busy working on some new projects. Some big and top-secret...
This summer we have a number of appearances in various smaller configurations. On the 19th of July we will be appearing with Grace Lightman at the Servant Jazz Quarters. Grace is supremely talented and the musicians she works with are wonderful (not just us) so it should be a very special event. Tickets can be purchased here.
Also we will be appearing at a number of festivals with Money. The dates are below:
Saturday 16th July - Latitude Festival
Friday 22nd July - Secret Garden Party
Saturday 23rd July - Deer Shed Festival
Sunday 31st July - Port Eliot Festival
Wednesday 3rd August - Battersea Arts Centre
Friday 12th August - Haldern Pop Festival (DE)
Sunday 4th September - End of the Road Festival
On Friday, after months of hard work we finally performed at the Royal Albert Hall for the Teenage Cancer Trust with Bring Me The Horizon. The show was truly special and we won't ever forget it. A huge thanks to all of the players involved who gave it their all and totally raised the bar on what we imagined could be achieved. A massive thanks also to everyone else who made the show possible: Jordan Fish and Bring Me The Horizon who's vision we were able to realise in this performance, Rob Highcroft: rock music's most competent tour manager, the audio team from SSE Audio Group, Cato Music who provided us with their brand new rehearsal space, Hearology who provided specialist ear protection for the musicians, Bell Percussion, MJA Percussion, John Henry's, Bring Me The Horizon's own crew who easily turned their hands to accommodate 60 extra musicians in their midst and the many others that I don't know by name that provided staging, trucking, local crew, catering, runners and everything else that made the show possible. And, of course, the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Photo courtesy of Ashley Osborn.
Conductor: Simon Dobson
Will Harvey, Beatriz Carbonell, Claire Sledd, Lucy Mckay, Elena Abad, Jess Coleman
Will Newell, Emma Fry, Jess Wadey, Conor Masterson, Olivia Holland, Iryna Glyebova
Zami Jalil, Raisa Zapryanova, Emma Purslow, Ting-Ru Lai, Sophia Rees, Niamh Sanders
Maddie Cutter, Bethan Lloyd, Jobine Seikman, Fraser Bowles, Alexandra Marshall, Alice Grote
Double Bass: Alexander Verster, Jess Ryan
Trumpet: Sam Kinrade, Victoria Rule
French Horn: Oli Hickie, Stephen Craigen, Laurie Truluck, Tom Bettley
Trombone: Ben Thorpe, Jane Salmon, Ross Anderson (bass)
Tuba: George Ellis
Flute: Zara Jealous (& piccolo), Alex Griffiths
Oboe: Eleanor Tinlin, Stephanie Oatridge
Bassoon: Antonia Lazenby, Tom Moss (contra)
Clarinet: Will Gibson, Dan Hillman (& Alto/Baritone Saxophone)
Harp: Alexander Rider
Percussion: Molly Lopresti (tuned), Beth Higham-Edwards (timpani)
Choir: Kat Marsh, Dan Lancaster, Christina Piper, Julia Webb, Josh Bevan, Richard Thorp, Mickael Picquerey, Luke Holmes, Catrina McTigue, Emma Fish, Patrick James Pearson, Matthew Reynolds, Rio Hellyer, Elani Evangelou.
So we've been hard at work on orchestral scores for our show with Bring Me the Horizon at the Royal Albert Hall. The show is sold out, but is being filmed and recorded for DVD, CD and Vinyl. You can pre-order it here!
Apologies for the rather late update! Parallax Orchestra have been busy over the last month so here are a few updates lumped into one.
Earlier this month Maddie and Will played on Sunday Brunch on Channel 4 with We Are The Ocean. We played their version of 'Hey Now' by London Grammar (string arrangement by Simon Dobson). If you want to see our performance you can watch it here (skip to the end of the programme).
Previously in December we had the opportunity to record at Maida Vale with Violet Skies. We performed a couple of tunes, one of Violet's original songs and also a cover of Justin Bieber's 'Sorry' (String arrangement by Joel Grainger and Parallax Orchestra). You can watch the video of us performing 'Sorry' here.
On the 21st of January we were also privileged to be part of Grace Lightman's first ever full-band show at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen. She's going to be massive.
Tomorrow (1st Feb) Gam, Connie and Maddie from Parallax Orchestra start their UK and European tour with Money with an in-store show at Rough Trade East to celebrate the release of their 2nd album 'Suicide Songs' (buy it, it's awesome). Here's the rest of the tour, note that the Manchester show has been re-scheduled for 22/04/16:
NEW STUFF. Over the last little while we've been working on some projects that have come to fruition. Here's a track by a band called Haunt the Woods that Will arranged and recorded the strings for:
Also, earlier this year, Maddie and Will performed on a session for We Are The Ocean. The other string players were Sophia Rees and Antonia Kesel and the arrangements are by Simon Dobson. There are a couple of videos from this session. Both are covers: one is London Grammar's 'Hey Now' and the other is Foo Fighters' 'Pretender'.
Today we rehearsed with Money for two upcoming shows performing material from their new album. You can catch us playing live as their string section at the Lexington, London on the 10th of November and at The White Hotel in Manchester (Salford) on the 11th.
Things have been a bit crazy for us over the last few weeks. We've started work on a major orchestral project due to happen next year (more details to follow) and have been lining up sessions for a variety of artists. Yesterday we made our first steps as a group into the world of house/techno. We spent a day in the studio with London-based DJ/producer Carly Foxx working on a collaboration. We look forward to sharing the results soon!
Yesterday we played with Bring Me the Horizon at Maida Vale studios and recorded a live session for the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge. We had a string quartet made up of Will Harvey, Maddie Cutter, Anisa Arslanagic and Emma Fry and played a new acoustic version of 'Drown'. The ladies also sang backing vocals on 'Happy Song'! You can listen again to the programme here, or you can watch the video of the filmed session here
Ahead of Grace Lightman's first London show tonight, she's released a video for our collaboration on 'Black is the Colour'. Here it is!
Bring Me The Horizon have released their next single from 'That's the Spirit'. The track is called 'True Friends' and the album is out on 11th of September. We got to play a proper riff on this one...
A few weeks ago we did a collaboration with Grace Lightman. We did a version of the classic folk song 'Black is the Colour of my True Love's Hair'. Grace had recorded the vocal in one take, live with Patrick James Pearson on piano, but they had left about a minute of silence in the middle of the song with the idea that we could pick up where they had left off. We spent a fascinating evening with PJP in the studio improvising and experimenting and the result is something of which we are all proud. It's being premiered today by Crack in the Road.
Two pieces of big news. Firstly, Parallax Orchestra will be performing live on the 26th of September at the Sebright Arms in London with Martin Grech. This should be a very special occasion as in recent years, opportunities to see Martin perform have been very rare. We will be opening the evening. Headlining the night will be the excellent Lionface. Tickets for the show can be purchased here.
Secondly, Bring Me The Horizon have released the second tune from their upcoming album 'That's the Spirit'. The track is called 'Throne' and the video has racked up a casual 2 million views in 4 days. Strings by Parallax Orchestra.
Here is the latest instalment from our session with Martin Grech. A re-working of the classic 'Open Heart Zoo', co-arranged by Martin and Will.
Bring Me The Horizon have just unveiled the first single from their new record! The strings are pretty low in the mix to be fair, but it sounds massive! The strings were performed by Parallax Orchestra at Black Rock Studios in Santorini, Greece, and Studio 91 in Newbury. It's up on iTunes at midnight tonight!
In May we did the first filmed session with the newly-formed Parallax Orchestra for Martin Grech. The song was co-arranged by Martin and Will. The session was recorded at Upper Cranbourne Farm by Peter Miles and was filmed by Daniel Broadley. The players were Guy Button, Lucy McKay, Will Harvey and Maddie Cutter. The backing vocals were performed by Kat Marsh of Lionface.