The Portsmouth Sinfonia
Media Page

The plan for this section of the website is that eventually it will present a good cross-section of the vast worldwide media coverage there has been of the Sinfonia since its inception in 1970.

We are starting off with just a handful of print articles and radio shows.

Plus a rave review in the Washington Post of the new book about the Sinfonia.

And one truly remarkable vintage TV appearance on American network TV!

From the print world we have some historic coverage from the 1970s including wonderful pieces in Rolling Stone. And a notorious attack on the Sinfonia in the UK quality newspaper the Guardian - for which they were forced to apologize! (Our presentation presents both the original article and an annotated version explaining the calumny and the apology!)

We also have a few articles and columns written in recent years - including an impressive profile in the New York Times and feature stories that appeared in British newspapers in 2004 - on the 30th anniversary of the Sinfonia's legendary 1974 concert at London's Royal Albert Hall.

And to please the ears there are opportunities to savor some BBC radio exposure about the Sinfonia from recent years.

Including the first-ever radio documentary about the orchestra. An appetizer for the long-anticipated film documentary that is in preparation!

And a very special treat: The first-ever US network TV coverage of the Sinfonia! A dedicated segment about the orchestra that was seen by millions of Americans as the featured closing story on the CBS Evening News presented by the iconic Walter Cronkite in 1974! "That's The Way It Is!"

There is much, much more to come!

• NBC Tonight Show - Jimmy Fallon Discovers The Portsmouth Sinfonia! - May 2021
"Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon discovers the Portsmouth Sinfonia for the first time and promptly gives the orchestra top billing on his popular "Do Not Play" List. Then applies for membership with his own audacious audition!

• Washington Post - "The World's Worst!" - Book review - June 2020

• Washington Post - "The World's Worst!" - Book review - June 2020 (Text-Only Version)

• New York Times - "Lousy Is The Best They Can Ever Be!" - Article - August 2007

• Rolling Stone - Comedy Album of the Year - January 1975

• Rolling Stone - Feature Article - March 1975

• Rolling Stone - 1974 - Album Review

• CBS Evening News - Story introduced by Walter Cronkite - March 1974
Just as Walter Cronkite had been instrumental in introducing America to the Beatles in a light-hearted news story as the final item of his CBS newscast in December 1963 - Cronkite and CBS performed the identical function in exposing the USA to the Sinfonia in March 1974. This resulted from a collaboration between iconic correspondent Bob Simon (early in his career) and Sinfonia manager Martin Lewis.

• BBC Radio 2 - The Portsmouth Sinfonia Lives On! - August 2011 (5 minutes)
Segment on Chris Evans Show - an interview with Sinfonia manager Martin Lewis

• BBC Radio 3 - The World's Best Worst Record! - December 2017 (6 minutes)
An appreciation of the Portsmouth Sinfonia's "Classical Muddly" single by top classical music critic Tom Service

• BBC Radio 4 - Unforgettable! (Documentary) - August 2011 (30 minutes)
In-depth audio documentary about the Portsmouth Sinfonia

• ABC TV (US) - Ripley's Believe It Or Not - September 1982
In September 1982 an extensive segment about the Portsmouth Sinfonia was featured in the premiere episode of a new US network TV series "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" - hosted by Jack Palance. The sequence arose from conversations between the show's writer Mel Stuart (director of "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory") and Sinfonia manager Martin Lewis.

• Washington Post - TV Page news story - September 1982
In seeking to promote the debut of its new primetime network series, ABC-TV decided to focus on its presentation of the World's Worst Orchestra as likely to attract media attention and public curiosity. Press releases and publicity efforts touted the segment featuring the Portsmouth Sinfonia. Emblematic of the success of that approach is this press clip.

• The Sunday Times - May 2004
(The UK's leading quality Sunday newspaper)

• The Telegraph - May 2004

• Dangerous Minds - The World's Worst Orchestra! - February 2020

• The Portsmouth News - May 2004
(the premier daily newspaper in the city where the Sinfonia was born in 1970)

• Open Culture - Meet The World's Worst Orchestra! - November 2017

• Keyboard Magazine - July 1981 - Feature Article
Brian Eno speaks about the Portsmouth Sinfonia

• BBC Radio 3 - 2004 - Late Junction
Gavin Bryars speaks about the Portsmouth Sinfonia

• BBC Radio 4 - 2008 - Desert Island Discs
Brian Eno - producer of the Portsmouth Sinfonia - is the featured castaway on Desert Island Discs

• The Guardian - May 1974 - The Malady Lingers On
The notorious full-page article attacking the Portsmouth Sinfonia - that resulted in a full apology

• The Malady Exposed! - 1974 (With some 2020 hindsight!)
The story behind the Guardian article attacking the Portsmouth Sinfonia - AND that full apology!

• Q Magazine - February 2015 - Clive Langer reflects on the Sinfonia
Clive Langer - producer for Elvis Costello, Madness, Teardrop Explodes was a Sinfonia member

• The Spectator - June 2014 - When The Spectator Helped Butcher Richard Strauss

• The New Statesman - July 2015 - Will Self on the Portsmouth Sinfonia

• Cincinnati City Beat - July 2015 - Sinfonia & the state of Fluxus

• The "You Are Here!" Blog - Jan 2017 - The Sinfonia goes viral

• Atlas Obscura - November 2017 - The Worst Orchestra in the World

• Classical Muddly - July 2014 - An Investigation into the Portsmouth Sinfonia

• Maestro Farley! Book Foreword - Jan 2020 - Gavin Bryars explains John Farley!

Maestro John Farley conducting the Portsmouth Sinfonia at the Royal Albert Hall in May 1974.

The enigmatic Farley once led the orchestra into "The Blue Danube Waltz"
- a piece in the 3/4 waltz time signature - with a count-in of "One, Two, Three, FOUR!"

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