Monday 21 August 2017

A relaxed end to the first season of Orchestras Live's Sound Around

Relaxed concerts seem to making something of presence in concert circles. Recently the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra gave a relaxed concert, as part of Orchestras Live's Sound Around, at Northampton's Royal and Derngate to a family audience of 300, including children with additional needs. Whilst the BBC Proms has given its first ever Relaxed Prom. The idea, of course, is not that those of us who are regular concert goers can listen to music with our shoes off and feet up, but that those who are not regular concert goers can learn to appreciate the classical music medium, without the regular constraints of a concert, something particularly appropriate for children with additional needs.

Sound Around is Orchestras Live's project creating opportunities for young people and those with special educational needs and disabilities to engage with live orchestral music. During the past year, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has participated in 24 octet concerts in special schools and nine full orchestra concerts, and the relaxed concert brought the season to a close. In the last few months, over 7000 children came to six concerts at three venues across England. And there were a total of three relaxed concerts with over 700 attendees. A special feature of Sound Around is the recruitment in each location of an inclusive team of Young Producers, who play a part in devising every aspect of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s performances in these areas.

Sounds Around will be touring to Carlisle, Lowestoft and Reading during the project's second year. And last month Orchestras Live held a round-table discussion, Small Acts Are Radical, to explore how inclusive orchestral performances impact on developing new audiences in the long term.

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