The ACO Experience

First up, you arrive at The Hospital Club, Covent Garden.

It’s one of London’s most sought after Private Clubs…

Members only you heard, founded by that bassist from Eurythmics. But now, with your ACO ticket, you cruise right in: “You’ll find the concert in the Oak Room sir, it’s on the fourth floor…”

There’s a video playing on a tiny screen in the lift…hang on, isn’t that a trailer for this concert you’re about to see? Nice.

There’s space. And tables AND sofas!

Not what you expected.

You sit down on the comfiest thing you can find. The waitress let’s you know food and drink can be ordered from the bar…concert’s not till 8 so Hospital Club burger and glass of red anyone? Don’t mind if I do.

As you tuck in that burger your friends start arriving. The drinks are flowing, the conversation is great and before you know it, it’s time for the action.

First the orchestra arrives the stage…

relaxed, smiling and chatting way.

Some of them even wave to people in the audience…the first guy is in jeans and a jacket, the next girl is in an electric blue dress. Neither can be a day over 25 – not what you expected. Again.

Things really start to get interesting when a waitress brings you a few little nibbles, courtesy of the chef, and a complimentary cocktail from Nicolas, the resident master mixologist. It’s directly inspired by the music you’re about to hear and it’s called  Isolde’s Love Potion

Next out is the conductor, but he’s not here to play.

Not yet anyway.

First he lets you know you there’s a story to be told – the story that lies behind the notes you’re going to hear. So he launches into a live programme note.

He’s telling you what the music is about, but not like Miss Stevens did in compulsory Year 10 Music. No, this is some kind of epic – part Lord of the Rings, part this conductor’s autobiography. One minute you’re outside a castle and knights are duelling to the death, the next minute it’s dawn and you’re floating down the Amazon in a tiny boat, discovering why looking for tropical birds is like listening to Sibelius 7.

You can feel the atmosphere now – this is it.

The main event, the music.

But not any old music…this is an HD, surround sound, IMAX quality performance. You’re so close you can see the glitter in each musician’s eyes and hear the shimmer of every note.

They’re young, they’re brilliant and they’re totally committed. No one is playing it safe., each person living every note. And now, so are you.

Apparently that was 80 minutes of music, but it felt more like 10.

There’s applause, bows, more bows and then the concert’s over.

Not that anyone leaves.

No, instead everyone starts ordering more drinks and bowls of chips (great idea..). It’s still a full house and now it sounds more like a trendy bar than a concert hall. There’s bubbling chatter all around you, the sound of people reliving what they just experienced with people they care about.

The conversation is flowing and you almost don’t notice that some of the players have come back out to read through some music they bought along with them. It’s called a chamber music jam – off the cuff, no preparation – part celebration, part best background music ever. Apparently they do warm-up acts sometimes too…

You were thinking of heading home,

but then again, you’re with your best friends

You’ve got a one-night-only pass to one of the best clubs in town, and lets face it, Thursdays are definitely the new Fridays. We won’t tell the boss if you don’t…



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