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First orchestra dedicated to musical theatre launches

London Musical Theatre Orchestra will only perform numbers from musical shows

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The world's first professional orchestra dedicated to musical theatre has been launched.

London Musical Theatre Orchestra will exclusively perform numbers from musicals in and around the capital.

The group was founded in June 2015, when conductor Freddie Tapner posted a casual note on Facebook asking for friends to meet up and play through a musical. The post was met with 250 replies in 24 hours, and a group of 100 singers and instrumentalists met at a church in Islington.

One year later, LMTO has been launched as a professional orchestra.

Each performance will also see a quarter of the orchestra made up of developing musicians, in the hope the experienced members will guide their development. Any one can sign up to join a workshop with the orchestra.

Performers at the launch event at the Great Hall, Bishopsgate Institute included Hadley Fraser (Les Miserables), Rebecca Caine (The Phantom of the Opera) and Ashleigh Gray (Wicked).

LMTO's first concert will be in November when the group will take on Rodgers and Hemmerstein's State Fair at the Cadogan Hall. Following this, the orchestra will perform Alan Menken's A Christmas Carol. The intention is to stage five to six concerts a year.

Patrons include Gillian Lynne, Anthony Drewe and Julian Fellowes.