Something was rumbling under Tower Bridge, but it wasn’t the District Line.
Docklands Sinfonia have played the first ever concerts in the famous bridge’s bascule chambers.
The orchestra’s brass players performed 12 sell out concerts over the weekend of September 26 and 27 as well as recording live for BBC Radio 3.
Docklands Sinfonia conductor Spencer Down said: “It is hard to imagine our musicians ever being invited to play in a more unusual environment than beneath the iconic Tower Bridge with the river above our heads.
“It was a real privilege for us to perform in this unique venue, which fits perfectly with our reputation as a young and pioneering orchestra that stages ground-breaking concerts.”
The centrepiece of the concerts was a new composition written by Iain Chambers. This innovative piece incorporated the sounds made when Tower Bridge lifts. The piece also includes live sounds from the bridge including river traffic passing beneath the bridge, road traffic above it and even the cries of birds.
Iain said: “The timbre and pitches made by the bridge lifting sounded like brass instruments to me, so it made sense to continue this musical opening with real brass.”
The Bascule Chambers house two bascules, each of which weighs over 1,000 tonnes. When these counterweights are raised, Tower Bridge rises to let tall ships through. On average, the bascules are raised around 1,000 times a year.
The 12 concerts provided a finale to this year’s Totally Thames celebration of London’s famous river.