Sunday 4 October 2015

new minds, music & futures - Orchestras Live's annual report

Orchestras Live turned 50 this year, and their annual review is rightly celebratory in what they have achieved. Some numbers show the sort of impact we are talking about. During 2014/15:
  • 26 orchestras were involved
  • 62 promoter partners
  • 154 different venues
  • 121 concerts
  • 465 events
  • 55,858 audience members and participants 
  • 19% attended a local orchestral concert for the first time
  • 42% find new music stimulating
Orchestras Live exists to take orchestras to the parts other organisations do not reach, and to involve people in hard to get communities in orchestral music. There are various strands to their activities. In using music to promote health and well-being they have projects like Essex Folk, Disabled Musicians in Essex, and Able Orchestra. Projects which involve introducing people to a live orchestra for the first time make up important strands, including First Time Live early years including Lullaby Concerts and Flutter and Fly. First Time Live Youth actually puts the young people in charge of the concert, to electrifying effect, with projects like From Dusk 'til Dawn, Harlow First Time Live, Sound Struck and First Time Live 2 in Luton.

Championing new music is another important strand, with 34% of the 121 concerts they co-promoted containing work by living composers. Beyond the Premiere provides a platform for repeat performances of recently commission work, and enabled Gwilym Simcock's new work for clarinet and orchestra, On a Piece of Tapestry to be performed five times.

Of course all this would not be possible without support from a whole raft of supporters including the Arts Council, Cumbria County Councils Neighbourhood Fund, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the John Ellerman Foundation, the J Paul Getty Charitable Trust, Kimberly-Clark, Philips Avent, the Royal Opera House, the Sir Joh  Fisher Foundation, the Monument Trust, the Thistle Trust, and media partner Classic FM.

There is a lovely interactive TimeLine on the Orchestras Live website which enables you to explore significant events in their last 50 years. And the full 2014-15 annual review is also available for downloading.

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