Just musing on my excellent time working with the Northern Chamber Orchestra (NCO). Last month, the NCO invited me to present and ‘demonstrate’ some of the creative processes involved in some of the most famous pieces in the western classical repertoire. Our workshop performances were part of the national BBC 10 Pieces initiative. We performed Beethoven’s Fifth symphony, Mozart’s symphony no.40, songs from Bernstein’s West Story, Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Mozart’s Horn Concerto no.4 and a world premiere of a piece called ‘Hits by Numbers’ by James Mason, inspired by Anna Meredith’s body percussion piece, ‘Connect It’ (for school performers). We had great fun with the pieces by playing excerpts that gave the audience special features to look out for before listening to the whole piece. We performed at St Thomas Boteler’s and The Heath Schools in the Merseyside and Warrington areas. I’ll post some pics from the events when I get them.
I really enjoyed the excitement that the young people, even the teenagers, had when listening to a full orchestra up close. As one of the teachers said, this would probably have been the first time that many of them would have experienced a full orchestra. We hope to organise some more of these events in the future, as I was strongly reminded of music’s potential for social change as described in a previous post, A taster of the potential of the catalytic nature of the Arts towards Social Justice?