What began in 2011 with 100 musicians performing Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring has now blossomed into a series of five concerts in the same venue. And the name of this venerable auditorium? Peckham Multi-Story Car Park.
Over the next few weeks The Multi-Story Orchestra will perform a selection of classical favourites to an audience nervously dodging Ford Fiestas and the odd three-wheeled van. The Orchestra play at the car park every summer, as well as touring schools, playing in nightclubs, and running education projects and choirs across the country.
The series kicks off on 20 June with a performance of Symphony no.5 by Jean Sibelius, with a repeat run-through of the same work the following evening. On 26 July the car park will return to where it all began with a performance of old friend Dmitri Shostakovich's Cello Concerto no.1, featuring internationally renowned solo cellist Matthew Barley.
The series wraps up with two shows featuring the work of Louis Andriessen, a prolific Dutch composer whose most famous piece, De Staat (The Republic, based on the writing of Plato), will likely never have been played in more unusual surroundings. De Staat, described by the composer himself as "a contribution to the debate about the relation of music to politics", will be performed on 7 and 8 August.
Happily there's an excellent video of the original 2011 car park concert that perfectly sums up the enthusiasm surrounding the whole project, which you can watch below.
More details about and tickets for each concert can be found at the Multi-Story website.
As Londonist delved into the background of this endeavour we discovered a couple more things to tickle your fancy at the car park this summer.
For the first time there will be a theatrical performance in the car park's space. Titus is a collaboration of parkour enthusiasts with a community chorus of singers and beatboxers, and this heady mix will be performing Titus Andronicus once or twice a day between 30 August and 21 September. Details for the show can be found on the website of Bold Tendencies, the art project of which both the music and theatre are a part.
And when it's time to refuel, there's Frank's Cafe right on hand. Frank's is a cocktail bar open Tuesday to Sunday on the 10th floor of the car park, with drinks mixed by bartender Frank Boxer and food put together by head chef Amir Pem. One item on the menu involves 'rooftop ponzu sauce'.
All of which suggests to us that Peckham Multi-Story Car Park is the place to be this summer, which are words you can't have expected to be seeing any more than we expected to say them.
The series of concerts in the Peckham Multi-Story Car Park runs from 20 June to 8 August. The Titus Andronicus shows run from 30 August to 21 September. Full details and tickets are available at the Bold Tendencies website.