FilmInstituteEvents4th June 2020
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Returns For First Recording Session After Only Closure In 90 Years
For nearly 90 years, the doors to Abbey Road Studios have welcomed artists, composers, songwriters, producers, orchestras and engineers from across the globe – coming together to create music that has provided the soundtrack to our lives. But on Tuesday 24 March, the famous oak doors closed for the very first time, in line with the measures introduced by the UK Government to limit the spread of COVID-19.
After more than 10 weeks, the Abbey Road team is thrilled to return to the famous house in St John’s Wood, to welcome back the creative community for recording and mastering.Re-opening the doors and making history as the first studio session is Decca Records artist Melody Gardot. The world-renowned jazz singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was poised to record with the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Orchestra when the COVID-19 restrictions came into place and the session cancelled. She is thrilled the legendary Abbey Road Studios is able to create a safe environment for a full orchestra to record together within the social-distancing regulations. This will also be the RPO’s first reunion since the lockdown.
A truly international recording session, Melody joined remotely, from Paris, along with long-time collaborator, the multi-Grammy winning producer Larry Klein, who joined from LA. Both were visible on large screens as they communicated with the engineers, Abbey Road team and musicians in London.
Bringing together groups of musicians in an enclosed space in the current environment provides a unique set of challenges, so the Abbey Road team has been working tirelessly with friends across the studios network to implement the UK Government guidelines and set the new standards for recording and production under COVID-19. With the safety and wellbeing of the Studios team and guests as the top priority, Abbey Road will have new operating guidelines that will allow for social distancing and create the safest possible working environment.Abbey Road Studios’ Managing Director, Isabel Garvey, says: “Music is proven to help us get through difficult times, providing escape and easing our mood – so it’s never been more important than in the current circumstances. At Abbey Road, we’ve witnessed the creative community’s desire to create new music and communicate their feelings throughout this time, and we’ve received numerous requests from our clients to get back to work. So, we’re thrilled to have established new standards for safe recording and to re-open Abbey Road once more.”
Melody Gardot, who recorded at the studio in 2009 for the Live from Abbey Road television series, says, "Knowing that we are the first session back at Abbey Road Studios after its re-opening is an absolute honour. I was told that until COVID-19 the studio had never been closed for business in almost 90 years of operation. Even during WWII it stayed open. And the fact that we’re recording the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, helping get the musical community back on track in a way that is safe for all involved. It feels like we are touching history."
President of Decca Records, Rebecca Allen, adds, “Decca Records and Abbey Road Studios have had a strong alliance for many, many years. We are thrilled that they are able to open their doors once again to allow the creation of music, and we are delighted that our own artist Melody Gardot, along with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, are working together to fill the studios once more with incredible artistry.”
Sali-Wyn Ryan, Board Member, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: “After the last few months it was such a reassuring experience to meet my colleagues again for the Melody Gardot session yesterday. I think the Orchestra was excited but a little apprehensive about returning to work, but the environment at AR felt welcoming and safe and it was a great thrill to perform together again. Of course, this is just a tiny step towards many challenges ahead but it was brilliant to get back to doing what we have all been missing - making music together."