A new generation of musicians have emerged: brilliantly equipped, fully in control of their craft, but impatient of the conventions and rituals hemming in classical music, often closing it off to younger listeners. At the forefront of this new wave is Robert Ames, co-conductor of the London Contemporary Orchestra. He can be found conducting them in an eclectic range of venues from Oval Space in East London through to the hallowed surroundings of London’s great concert halls.
Ames works with a wide range of artists from Fashion designer Vivien Westwood to Ron Arad, Frank Ocean, Dj Shadow or Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. His work is as likely to take in sessions at Abbey Road, the National Theatre or working in the film studio on projects such as John Maclean’s Sundance Flim Festival award winning Slow West and Naji Abu Nowar’s Oscar nominated film Theeb. Ames has premiered many new works, most recently giving a critically acclaimed performance of Bell Station 3 composed by Terry Riley at the Barbican Centre.
When Ames set up the London Contemporary Orchestra with fellow conductor Hugh Brunt in 2008, his mission was to “think very differently about what people want to listen to”. This raison d’etre led to him winning the h.Club 100 award recognizing the UK’s most influential people working in the arts and LCO winning the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Ensemble award in 2015. There are no borders, frontiers or barriers in his own tastes, which are likely to range from Actress to Adès, Foals to Feldman or Couperin to Cage.
“New music presented with style rather than po-faced seriousness. And at bottom it was serious…performed with such devoted care.” Ivan Hewitt - The Telegraph