The Songwriter's Orchestra pairs singer/songwriters with a group of twelve orchestral musicians to present brand new musical arrangements of original songs. We work with songwriters from a variety of musical backgrounds, ranging from folk to pop, musical theatre to jazz, and everything in between. Each song is transformed so our ensemble of wind, string, brass and percussion players can serve as the sole accompaniment. The diversity and power of our large ensemble brings each song to life in a whole new way.
The Songwriter's Orchestra was established by undergraduate students at Columbia University under the name LyricLion, after the university's mascot. We sought to bring together musicians and singers on campus who rarely got the chance to collaborate. When we first heard the result, we knew we had started something special. We packed dorm lounges and even performed in Miller Theatre. After graduating, we eagerly expanded and entered the NYC music scene as a professional ensemble.
The musicians who make up the ensemble have trained at top music schools including The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, and the Eastman School of Music. The songwriters we work with are each individually accomplished in a variety of ways. As a group, they have received awards for their writing, released albums and EPs that have gone on to favorable reviews and chart topping rankings on iTunes and Spotify, performed on Broadway, and toured with their music throughout the country
As an ensemble we have performed at (le) poisson rouge, 54 Below, The Laurie Beechman Theatre, Miller Theatre, Imani Winds Chamber Festival, Usdan Camp for the Performing Arts, and The Dolphin Café. We look forward to playing more concerts, expanding our network of songwriter collaborators, and reaching more audiences with our unique live concerts.
The Songwriter's Orchestra has recently focused on making activism a key part of their mission, harnessing the power of sharing personal narratives through music. In September they presented Brinae Ali's work "Thirsty," which responds to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and raised money for youth arts programming in the city. Following the 2016 election, they held a special concert creating a space for healing and empowerment in the wake of the hatred and bigotry on the rise in America. In 2017, they are undertaking their most ambitious collaboration yet by partnering with Herstory Writer's Workshop to present a concert for youth justice. The concert will bring awareness to and encourage action on the Raise the Age campaign in New York State.