The Nu Civilisation Orchestra is earning a reputation as a shapeshifting, cutting edge ensemble. Refusing to be bound by genre or scale, it metamorphoses into a new format as each new project is unveiled. Founded in 2008 by Artistic Director, Gary Crosby OBE and led by musical director, Peter Edwards, the NCO presents audiences with stories worthy of great soundtracks, expanding musical scores with contributions from the world of visual arts, film, dance and literature.
Since inception, the Orchestra has presented an eclectic body of work including the likes of Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto; a joint performance with the BBC Concert Orchestra for Duke Ellington’s A Tone Parallel to Harlem; Charles Mingus’ The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady with the dance troupe, Clod Ensemble; Parallel, a tribute to the legendary free-form Jamaican jazz genius, Joe Harriott, collaborating with visual artist, Emma Godebska; live film scores for John Akomfrah’s acclaimed documentary The Stuart Hall Project, and the Oscar Micheaux/Paul Robeson silent classic, Body And Soul; a big band reimagining of Joni Mitchell’s Hejira, featuring guest vocalists Eska, Lisa Hannigan, Emel Mathlouthi, Nadine Shah and the poet Sabrina Mahfouz for International Women’s Day at the Royal Festival Hall, London.
The NCO toured The Jazz Ticket in England in 2017-18, a project that celebrated the centenary of five giants of jazz, and featured the PRS New Music Biennial commission, A Journey With the Giants of Jazz by Peter Edwards.
The Orchestra made its BBC Proms debut in 2019, performing Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts with the BBC Singers, the London Vocal Assembly led by Carleen Anderson, and featuring Jamaican pianist, Monty Alexander. In 2021, the NCO revisited their Joe Harriott project, Parallel, presenting a sonic and visual tribute in collaboration with video artist, Catarina Rodriguès.
In 2021, the NCO makes a perfectly timed creative exploration and celebration of Marvin Gaye’s seminal masterpiece, What’s Going On, five decades after its release, featuring soul vocalist Noel McKoy, immersive visual projections by Yeast Culture and poetic interventions by various artists including actor Colin Salmon, and poets Casey Bailey, Malik Al Nasir, Saili Katebe and Aflo.
Nu Civilisation Orchestra…telling stories that impact our times through the lens of music.