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Liverpool Philharmonic Celebrates Sgt Pepper, the Mersey Sound and the 1967 ‘Summer of Love’

Monday 8 May 2017

  • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and The Bootleg Beatles Celebrate Sgt. Pepper and the ‘Summer of Love’
  • George Harrison:  The Story of The Beatles and Indian Music – the last untold Beatles Story
  • Roger McGough with Ensemble 10/10 perform McGough’s Summer with Monika


1967 saw some of the biggest cultural shifts of a generation, one of the defining moments in modern culture and creativity in which Liverpool played a big part in the outpouring of cultural energy and creativity.  It was the year that Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released by four local lads, The Mersey Sound poetry anthology was published and the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral opened.

Liverpool Philharmonic is playing its part in celebrating that famous year as part of Liverpool’s 67-17: 50 Summers of Love, a season of events and performances inspired by the golden anniversary of the Summer of Love.

All concerts at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall unless otherwise stated.

It Was 50 Years Ago Today: A Celebration of Sgt. Pepper and the Summer of Love

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and The Bootleg Beatles

Thursday 31 May, Saturday 3 June, Saturday 8 July, 7.30pm

The award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the nation’s premier Beatle group The Bootleg Beatles team up for a number of special concerts to mark the fiftieth anniversary of arguably the most influential album of all time, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Together, they’ll perform The Beatles’ iconic album, arranged by Nigel Osborne, live in its entirety, along with many other songs from their ‘flower power’ era including Strawberry FieldsPenny Lane and the anthemic All You Need is Love.  The concerts will be presented by renowned ex-member of Scaffold and the man dubbed ‘the patron saint of poetry’ by Laureate Carol Ann Duffy no less, Roger McGough.

As well as three sold out dates at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, this  unique production  will tour to many prestigious venues around the country including a sold out Royal Albert Hall,  London on 1 June, exactly 50 years to the day of the album’s initial release.

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today will offer an unprecedented look back on a master work whose influence and potency is undiminished five decades on and what Rolling Stone magazine claimed to be ‘the number one greatest album of all time’.

On bringing Sgt Pepper to the stage with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and The Bootleg Beatles, composer Nigel Osborne said:

‘The first thing I did was transcribe by ear what George Martin had done. He wrote for four horns, and I have a whole brass section. And then I re-scored it, I call it, in HD – High Definition. I give more power behind it. I really want the Band and the Orchestra to be one body, making very powerful rock ‘n’ roll, giving The Bootleg Beatles the platform they deserve, and giving the Orchestra the platform it deserves.

‘It’s been trying to write in such a way that one of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras can play, and really play, and at the same time there’s space, obviously, for The Bootleg Beatles to play.

‘I think I’ve done it. We’ll see. I’ve got as close as anybody could to make that happen. It’s a privilege for me honestly, a huge privilege. And I hope I’ve done it justice.’

George Harrison Within You Without You:

The Story of The Beatles and Indian Music

Friday 9 June 7. 30pm

Part of the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, this unique performance introduces musicians that were part of a Beatles story that has never fully been told. The biographical concert explores George Harrison’s discovery of Indian music and the unique impact it had on The Beatles.

Featuring a hand-picked Liverpool-based band starring Thomas McConnell, together with an ensemble of outstanding musicians led by Jasdeep Singh Degun and including Kirpal Singh, Pirashanna Thevarajah and Gurdain Rayatt playing Indian classical music, they will be performing Beatles’ classics including Within You, Without You, Help, Norwegian Wood along with songs from the Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band era.

With some surprises too, including an instrument played on Sgt. Pepper, rare images and new stories from the recording session, from George’s encounter with Indian music and with Ravi Shankar, this concert paints a whole new picture of the ‘quiet’ Beatle, the significance of Indian music to George and how his experience infused The Beatles with new ideas and fresh inspiration.

Roger McGough with Ensemble 10/10 Summer with Monika

Tuesday 27 & Wednesday 28 June 8pm;

Extra date added due to high demand – Sunday 16 July 8pm

Music Room at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

‘I spent the summer with Monika and Monika spent the summer with me’. 

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper but also of The Mersey Sound, the game-changing anthology of verse written by the Mersey Poets, Roger McGoughBrian Patten and Adrian Henri. The anthology was hugely popular [selling over a million copies] and helped re-popularise poetry and galvanised a whole generation of new writers

Liverpool Philharmonic celebrates the 50th anniversarywith three performances of Summer with Monika, Roger McGough’s classic sequence of love poems, (set to be republished by Penguin in the summer, along with The Mersey Sound).

The poems were subsequently scored and released on record by composer and guitarist Andy Roberts. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s contemporary music group, Ensemble 10/10 will play Robert’s original arrangements as Roger McGough reads his epic poems in these three gigs that will also feature more of his classic poetry set alongside other music performed  in the intimate setting of Liverpool Philharmonic’s Music Room.

On Liverpool Philharmonic’s celebration of Sgt Pepper and the 1967 Summer of LoveRichard Haswell, Liverpool Philharmonic’s Head of Programme (Hall & Events) said:

‘It’s an absolute delight for Liverpool Philharmonic to celebrate the seminal 1967 Summer of Love and the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper and The Mersey Sound in collaboration with so many fantastic people; The Bootleg Beatles, the ‘Toppermost of the Copymost’; composer and arranger Nigel Osborne who’s done such an incredible job giving us something new and creative, and authentic and loyal to the original Sgt Pepper; Roger McGough – they say if you can remember the 60s you weren’t really there – but Roger most certainly was and can, and Dr Mike Jones at University of Liverpool for his forensic research into the influence of Indian music on George Harrison.

‘And of course our incredible musicians in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and their contemporary music group, Ensemble 10/10 who are just great in anything they take on.

‘These celebratory concerts are a great demonstration of how Liverpool Philharmonic, those on the stage and behind the scenes work together and with our partners to create magical and memorable music events.

‘To present these concerts in Liverpool is a privilege; to take It Was 50 Years Ago Today on tour to other prestigious venues including the Royal Albert Hall is testament to the resonance and influence that four lads from Liverpool and their seminal Sgt. Pepper album continue to exert on music.

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