May 2011: Orchestra Unwrapped

A groundbreaking arts education project providing music opportunities for over 28,000 Leicester children

The Philharmonia Orchestra has announced the launch of Orchestra Unwrapped, an ambitious 4-year music education project that will give every Leicester primary school child aged 7-11 the opportunity to hear the Philharmonia Orchestra live at De Montfort Hall by 2014. The Philharmonia has been Resident at De Montfort Hall since 1997.

The project will offer children, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, access to music education through a dynamic programme of interactive schools concerts, bespoke educational materials for the classroom, and online learning guides. Orchestra Unwrapped is the first project of its kind nationally because it will reach every Key Stage 2 child in the City.

The interactive live schools concerts will be presented by music education specialist Paul Rissmann and together Paul and the Orchestra will take the children on an hour-long journey that will introduce the Orchestra in a fun and friendly way.

The project has been devised in consultation with a forum of Leicester City Headteachers and music coordinators, as well as Leicester City Council’s Education and Learning Services, ensuring that all needs, from local priorities to logistics, are met.

The first concerts will take place on Friday 23 September 2011, Wednesday 23 November 2011 and Wednesday 14 March 2012 and members of the press will be welcome to attend.

David Whelton, Managing Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra, explained the impetus behind the project:
“In 2007 the Philharmonia Orchestra, along with seven other symphony orchestras, signed a vision statement pledging to increase access to music for young people with the long-term aim to offer every schoolchild in the UK the opportunity to experience and hear a symphony orchestra live. From here the idea was born; Orchestra Unwrapped will see us give each 7-11 year old in Leicester that very opportunity. We’re very excited about the launch of this initiative and look forward to bringing it to fruition.”

Jasbir Mann, Head of Service, Learning Transformation and Development (0-19) and Learning Services, at Leicester City Council commented:
"This is a fantastic opportunity for the children in Leicester and we're looking forward to working with the Philharmonia Orchestra."

Michael Dix, a Music Teacher at Glebelands Primary School, whose children will be one of the first to visit next season said:
“We are delighted that our children will be able to savour the experience of hearing a world-class professional orchestra – we can’t wait for the project to start!”

Orchestra Unwrapped is reliant on private investment and receives no government funding. Supporters of the project include: Ernest Cook Trust, S.F.I.A Education Trust Limited, The Maud Elkington Charitable Trust, the Golsoncott Foundation and anonymous donors. Information about donating to the project is included below. 

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