Greetings all and I hope you are enjoying your summer. Life as a new Dad is certainly keeping me entertained. I still haven’t quite mastered the whole ‘transfer to cot without him realising and waking’ manoeuvre, and his musical taste is eclectic to say the least! Louis is a big fan of music by Mealor to Coldplay and Whitacre to Enya at night, but still not sure about Mozart! :) He even loved listening to Maestro Neeme Järvi teach on his Meta Artists International masterclass.
Being a parent gives you a new outlook on life and it has got me thinking about how I believe we need to open the doors to classical music. I was thinking how long it could be until I would feel comfortable to take him to a concert - and the answer kind of made me angry! Here are a few of my ideas.
Behind the scenes access and a more relaxed vibe
In September, NEW Sinfonia will continue with our residency at the North Wales International Music Festival. Our orchestra rehearsals will be open to the public so the audience can see the rehearsal process and get behind the scenes access. Continuing with our NEW Shoots education work, we will be joined by school students from across North Wales. The audience will wrap around the orchestra to get even closer in rehearsal and concert and the young people will be in the middle of it all. Does it really matter if someone talks? Many orchestral musicians love to chat in rehearsal… 😂. So let’s involve and welcome people! We want to create an atmosphere that is comfortable for EVERYONE and shows our human side. I will include the audience in my rehearsals explaining what we are doing, and asking if they can hear any difference etc! The concerts later in the day will be filmed in front of an audience and released later in the month for you to enjoy online for one month.
Share the stage
In July, I attended a presentation by Albert Schmitt who is Managing Director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. He said the orchestra “… have a belief in making something special through coming together for the community" and this really resonated with me. As part of our commitment to our community, NEW Sinfonia are launching NEW Voices. This is a creative vocal ensemble open to ALL singers of all ages - all you need is a love of singing, a passion for working with people and a curiosity to explore new ways of making music. Disability is no barrier and people with carers are welcome. We are creating new experiences for our public to enjoy by sharing the stage with us. Signup will be announced shortly via our new website which is launching later this month!
Reaching out and coming together
I recently conducted Manchester Camerata in a project called Encountering Wordsworth, in partnership with Orchestras Live. Orchestras Live believe orchestras are for everyone and live orchestral music has the power to inspire people for a lifetime. Young composers from Cumbria worked with composer Laura Bowler, a poet from the Wordsworth Trust, sound artist Dan Fox from Sound Intervention and musicians from Manchester Camerata to create a new piece. You can read more here in an article by Becky West. You can listen to the result below. This opportunity allows young people to experience the thrill of working with experienced musicians and inspires them to want to more.
What do you think is the best way to get people through the door? Do we really need to separate concerts out into a ‘family concert’, a ‘pops concert’ or a ‘children’s concert’ - or do these separations just fuel the concept that some concerts are not for certain people. What do you think? I’m listening.
Thanks for reading