George Hinchliffe’s Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is an original musical ensemble featuring only ukuleles of various sizes and registers, accompanied by just the natural voices of the performers. The Orchestra is best known for playing versions of famous rock songs, orchestral classics, and film themes that subvert audience expectations. With performances considered moving, funny, stomping, thought provoking, surprising, and toe tapping, the Orchestra takes us on “a world tour with only hand luggage.”
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More about George Hinchliffe’s Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
When George Hinchliffe’s Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain began in 1985, the uniqueness of an orchestra consisting entirely of ukuleles in different sizes was something that attracted the founders. The members had experience with many kinds of music, and yet they had become tired of the conventions of the music business, of performance, and of genre stereotyping. The idea was to make something fresh and entertaining, both modern and old-fashioned that deviated from the current performance fashion.
Among their many international concerts and festival appearances, they have “sold right out” twice at Carnegie Hall in New York, twice at The Royal Albert Hall in London, and also at Sydney Opera House in Australia.
George Hinchliffe’s Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain was featured in a CNN report in 2012 and on CBS This Morning in 2013. The Orchestra has been invited by the British Broadcasting Corporation to play live on air for BBC Radio 3 (the classical music channel), BBC Radio 1 (the rock, Electronic Dance Music, and youth music channel), and on other BBC channels many times. They have taken part in The Electric Proms (in a collaboration with The Kaiser Chiefs), and the BBC Promenade Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London. They have also appeared on Jools’ Annual Hootenanny.
The Orchestra has recorded and released records, CDs, and DVDs on its independent label and with CBS, Sony, Discethnique, Longman, Volume, Tachyon, and The Ministry of Sound. Original compositions and songs by the Orchestra have been used on television, film, and in radio plays, as well as in performance by other musicians. They have collaborated with the British Film Institute in providing music for silent films and also musically with Madness, Robbie Williams, Ant & Dec, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Stefan Raab, Rainer Hersch, and a full symphony orchestra performing at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Beatle George Harrison was a well-known fan who established contact and played with the Orchestra.
In addition to performing at theaters and concert halls, the Orchestra has also packed in the crowds at rock festivals such as Glastonbury; The Big Chill; World of Music, Arts, and Dance; The Electric Picnic; and before 170,000 people in Hyde Park, as well as playing in seven cathedrals in England and Wales. The group was commissioned to write The Cecil Sharp 100 Year Memorial Concert in 2012 and The 100 Year World War One Memorial Concert in 2014 for Birmingham Town Hall.
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