The Notting Hill Orchestra and Choir for film music is seeking applications for all musicians and vocalists.

They welcome professional and non-professional musicians, with all ages accepted. Weekly rehearsals will be in the form of a workshop guided by professional musicians.

The Orchestra’s repertoire will include film music as well as a classical repertoire and amateurs will have the opportunity to play alongside professional musicians.

Concerts are organised at the end of every season in the Notting Hill area. There are two upcoming concerts at the end of this year, on 12th and 13th December.

Rehearsals take place every Saturday from 6.30-9pm at St Georges Church, Notting Hill. Do join!

If you’d like to join the Notting Hill Orchestra, please send a CV to nottinghillorchestra@outlook.com or contact them on 0779 143 9921.

For further information on the Orchestra, please see nottinghillorchestra.wix.com/nhoc.

This weekend (Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st September 2014), the wonderful Open House London sees many fascinating buildings across London opening up their doors, allowing visitors a peek at spaces, areas and more that would normally be closed to the public.

St John's Church Notting Hill

Joining in, on Saturday 20th September, is St John’s Church in Notting Hill. From 12pm to 5pm, the Church will be welcoming visitors through its doors and opening up two spaces in the church that have never been made available to the public before.

The church’s organ recently underwent a complete restoration, and this Saturday visitors will be able to actually go inside the instrument and see all 2,398 pipes up close as well as taking a look all of the complex mechanisms inside…and hear it being played from the inside! The organ builder that worked on the job will be present to talk visitors through the organ and its restoration, as well as answering any questions visitors may have.

The disused church bell tower will also be opened up this Saturday, allowing visitors a chance to climb to the top and see the 150 year old bell and clock mechanism as well as taking in the wonderful panoramic views of West London. As the bell tower has been closed for a number of decades now, this is definitely a fantastic opportunity to visit a normally closed space as well as taking in a view of the local area that’s now rarely seen. The bell will also be tolled whilst visitors are in the belltower!

More details of St John’s Church participation in Open House London can be found here – www.stjohnsorganproject.com/open-house-london.html – including some ‘preview’ pictures of both the organ and the belltower.

Open House London at St John’s Church Notting Hill
12pm – 5pm, Saturday 20th September 2014
St John’s Church
Lansdowne Crescent
W11 2NN

Aspect Foundation for Music & Arts recently revealed its line-up of Autumn 2014 concerts, the first of which will take place on Wednesday, 1st October.

Titled Alma Mahler: Muse or Monster, this first concert explores the enigma of Alma Schindler Mahler Gropius Werfel – married three times and with a litany of lovers, what was it about her that fascinated and attracted a small army of gifted men? The evening will also explore the impact she had on culture and music of her time, with music by the lady herself featuring in the programme of chamber music and songs.

Aspect Foundation for Music and Arts

With performances by mezzo-soprano Olivia Ray, violinist Ania Safonova, cellist Oleg Kogan and pianist Ronan O’Hora, the programme of music during the evening will be:

Alma Mahler ‘Laue Sommernacht’ from 5 Lieder; ‘Der Erkennende’ and ‘Lobgesang’ from 5 Gesänge
Zemlinsky ‘Irmelin Rose’ from Irmelin Rose und andere Gesänge, Op. 7
Gustav Mahler ‘Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht’ and ‘Ging heut’ morgen über’s Feld’ from Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Zemlinsky Three Pieces for cello and piano (1891)
Korngold Piano Trio in D Major, Op. 1

An illustrated talk will also be given by art historian, writer and Christie’s Education lecturer Patrick Bade.

Other concerts this autumn will be:

15th OctoberParis: The Age of Enlightenment featuring harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani and historian Philipp Blom
5th November – Prague: Czech Romantics featuring broadcaster and pianist Iain Burnside and the Zemlinsky Quartet
4th December – Schumann and Fauré: Kindred Spirits with Philippe Graffin, David Waterman and Alasdair Beatson

Tickets for each concert cost £25 (including wine and refreshments) and can be booked online on the Aspect Foundation website or by calling the box office on 07799 090 826.

Aspect Foundation for Music and Arts presents its novel concert format of ‘Music in Context’ by expanding a traditionally auditory experience into something more – one that fuses performance, lecture and discussion to present an evening of music, art history and social culture. They seek to support and promote artists as well as enlightening and inspiring audiences.

Aspect Foundation for Music and Arts presents Alma Mahler: Muse or Monster
7.30pm, Wednesday 1st October 2014
20th Century Theatre
291 Westbourne Grove
W11 2QA

Where has the last year gone? I certainly remember last year’s Carnival as if it were yesterday…but yet it’s already Carnival time once again!

That’s right, this Sunday and Monday – 24th and 25th August – Notting Hill’s streets will be packed to the brim with the revellers, soundsystems, jerk chicken stalls, Red Stripe sellers…and the Carnival procession too! And then, of course, once each day is done and dusted, it’s time for the legendary Carnival after-parties to get going…

Notting Hill Carnival 2013
Last year’s Carnival

Time Out, as ever, has a great guide to the Carnival which you can see here – there’s the route map, Carnival tips to help those that have never been and an essential guide to Carnival after-parties…as well as warm-up parties! The print edition of the magazine also has a six-page guide, including a feature on the steel bands of the event, a look at the parade’s colourful costumes and other useful tips that will come in handy to those attending. Given that Time Out’s free, it’s well worth picking up a copy. (Try local newsagents which should still have some lying around.)

VisitLondon also has useful and fun section on the Notting Hill Carnival – including a very useful area map that not only shows the procession route, but also displays helpful Underground information. There’s also more on their Notting Hill Carnival pages, which also include information on Notting Hill and Portobello Road in general.

The Evening Standard has a great line-up of Carnival parties that are taking place over the whole Bank Holiday weekend if you really want to get into the Carnival spirit.

Rinse’s Rough But Sweet Soundsystem

Celebrating twenty years since their first transmission as a pirate radio station on this very August Bank Holiday weekend, Rinse will be hosting a Carnival soundsystem for the very first time. In partnership with London streetwear brand Boxfresh – who themselves are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year – the Rough But Sweet Soundsystem will be on the corner of Hazelwood Crescent and Bosworth Road, W10. Rinse has grown from a small set set of friends sharing tracks inspired them into a radio station that transmits innovative music; the soundsystem will be live on Rinse and is the first of a programme of birthday celebrations that will culminate in Rinse – Late at Tate Britain.

Notting Hill Carnival - Rinse

The Rough But Sweet line-up – featuring everything from grime to basement and bass to soul  – includes Katy B, Chase & Status, Tinashe, Route 94, Skream, Bicep, Becky Hill, Metalheadz, Ms Dynamite, P Money and many, many more – head down (or tune in!) to celebrate with Rinse.

For a sneak preview and to get you in the mood, check out this amazing track by Katy B, who’s released this just in time for Carnival: https://soundcloud.com/katyb/littleredlight

Top Notting Hill Carnival Tips

Don’t bother trying with any of the Underground stations actually in the area – they’ll either be closed, operating a one-way system or insanely over-crowded. Try Bayswater (Circle & District) or Holland Park which aren’t too far a walk away. Many roads (e.g. Westbourne Grove) will be closed, so it’s easy to get around. TFL have a useful page on transport to and from the Carnival.

Yes…Carnival will be crowded. Ridiculously so in some places. (e.g. The junction of Great Western Road and Westbourne Park Road is always something of a major bottleneck.) If you see a massive crush of people – no doubt trying to push past each other in all directions – consider stepping back and trying to find another route around, especially if you get a little nervous with large crowds.

THE SOUNDSYSTEMS ARE LOUD. Don’t stand too close to them, because your ears will be ringing for days on end. I SAID, YOUR EARS WILL BE…oh, forget it.

Everyone and his mate will be selling soft drinks/cans of Red Stripe/bottled water from front steps, street corners etc. They’re fine to buy from! But it’s probably an idea to bring your own water along, at least to start with.

If you want to get the vibe of the Carnival but don’t mind which day you go on, DEFINITELY go to Carnival on Sunday (officially, Children’s Day). It’s a bit less crowded, the soundsystems will still be in full swing, and you can pretty much experience everything. Plus, the kids really are very cute with their amazing costumes!

DON’T drink too much. Please. I’ve seen many a reveller passed out in some doorway by mid-afternoon (!). Yes, it’s a bank holiday. Yes, it’s fun. But then you’ll just be making some nice St John’s Ambulance people tend to a drunken fool. And doorways aren’t exactly comfy!

On a related note…you’ll need the loo at some point, yeah? There are some toilets and urinals set up on site, and you’ll also see local residents offering their own loo facilities (for a charge!). But bear in mind the whole ‘loo situation’ is a bit like a festival.

See you all at Carnival!