Wednesday 15 January 2014

First Time Live - Youth: more music to more towns

First Time Live in Harlow
First Time Live - Youth, Orchestras Live's orchestral touring initiative, will be bringing more orchestral music to hard to reach areas, both in terms of geography and in terms of access to orchestral concerts. Working with local partners, Orchestra Live will present the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the City of London Sinfonia a series of concerts and workshops during Spring 2014 at schools in March (Cambridgeshire), Peterborough, Thurrock, Doncaster, Grimsby and Mansfield.

One of the distinctive features of First Time Live – Youth is that is puts young people at the centre of the project and gives them responsibility for creating a major orchestral concert for their peers. This includes selecting concert repertoire, scriptwriting, sound and lighting design, video projection, stage management, writing press releases, blogging, photography, concert presentation and even conducting. The result generates high levels of engagement and enthusiasm amongst participants, both in the audience and on stage, including the professional musicians.

At the Orchestras Live conference last year I saw a film of an event in Scunthorpe in 2013 (you can see the video on their website) and the degree of engagement and energy created was quite outstanding. What makes the events so striking is the way giving the young people responsibility creates a whole new attitude when it comes to classical music.

The project began in 2013 in Hull, Scuthorpe, Harlow and Luton. On average, 85% of post-concert survey respondents in the four locations said they had never attended a concert before, and in Harlow the figure was 100% While most of the UK’s professional orchestras include schools concerts in their annual programming, most do not tour beyond their home base. First Time Live – Youth brings high-quality and orchestral concerts to areas where cultural engagement is in the bottom 20%. The aim is to demystify orchestral music through participation and active engagement to create a legacy of enthusiasm to engage with concerts in the future.

Further information from the First Time Live website, and the Orchestras Live website

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