Consortium led by the Philharmonia Orchestra wins major Arts Council Award to develop a programme of digital music activity in Torbay, Plymouth and Cornwall
Arts Council England has announced a major award for the Philharmonia Orchestra under its Strategic Touring Programme. The project, i-Orchestra, will see the Philharmonia leading a consortium of arts and education providers in the South-West Peninsula, using the Orchestra’s pioneering expertise in digital technologies to ignite interest and participation amongst new audiences for classical music.
At the heart of i-Orchestra are the Philharmonia’s award-winning digital “virtual orchestra” installations, RE-RITE (based on Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring) and Universe of Sound (based on Holst’s The Planets, and currently in residence in Birmingham following its successful appearance at London’s Science Museum in 2012). The installations, created with the Philharmonia’s Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Esa- Pekka Salonen, will form the centrepiece of a programme of live and digital music and education activity based in three cultural priority areas: Torbay, Plymouth and Cornwall (South-West Peninsula). Live concerts and a specially commissioned pop-up digital installation, which will tour on a lorry to outlying towns and communities, will sit alongside the main installations, collectively offering a pioneering interactive digital and live performance programme tailored towards engaging communities who don’t have access to orchestral music.
The Philharmonia has developed this project in close collaboration with a consortium of local partners, who will work together with the Orchestra to deliver the project and to ensure that it becomes a genuine catalyst for cultural change, reaching the communities for whom it has been designed. These include Plymouth City Council, Torbay Council, Truro City Council, Torbay Music Education Hub, Plymouth Youth Music Service, Cornwall Music Education Hub, and Hall for Cornwall.
The Philharmonia Orchestra’s Managing Director, David Whelton, commented:
“This is a tremendously exciting project, taking the Philharmonia Orchestra’s track record in using digital technologies to reach genuinely new audiences to a region that is under-provided culturally. We’re proud to be working with a formidable group of expert local partners in arts and education to bring these immensely accessible orchestral installations to young and old in their local communities. We see this as a real catalyst for change in the region and can’t wait to get started.”
Joyce Wilson, Director, London, Arts Council England, said:
“This is a really exciting project that demonstrates the power digital technology can have when introducing arts and culture to new audiences. The Philharmonia’s project will give audiences, including children and young people, in the South West peninsular, the opportunity to enjoy unprecedented, interactive performances of orchestral music.
“The Philharmonia already has a strong portfolio of regional residencies and we are delighted that, through this touring application, they are extending this footprint into the South West peninsular, to offer new access for local communities to arts and cultural events and performances.”
The Portfolio Holder and Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council, Councillor Smith, said:
“This project will add another string to the city’s bow! More and more people are waking up to Plymouth as a cultural destination – and our City of Culture bid is helping strengthen that message.
“World-class musicians coming here and inspiring new audiences, using digital technology. It sounds really exciting and we look forward to hearing more about the incredible opportunities this will create.”
Gwyn Price, from the Plymouth Youth Music Service, commented:
“The success of this bid, the result of collaborative working, will mean a great deal to the City of Plymouth which is already proudly developing culture and the arts as powerful forces for strengthening our communities. We are keen to develop new audiences here and the digital installations will be dynamic and exciting influences towards enabling us to achieve our goals. Coupled with our Music Hub’s successful First Access scheme and ensemble provision the Philharmonia’s project brings particular benefits for children and young people in Plymouth, whilst at the same time providing for all ages in our communities.”
Tanya Moore, Manager of Cornwall Music Education Hub, commented:
“We are absolutely thrilled that this exciting and innovative project is going to be running in the south
west. Due to the geographical isolation of Cornwall, opportunities to engage with orchestras are very limited, and there are many children and families who have never seen an orchestra perform and are therefore reluctant to engage with classical music. The opportunity that this project presents in terms of outreach and audience development is huge for us.”
The Mayor of Truro, Mr John Tamblyn said,
“Truro is delighted and proud to host the main installation in Cornwall and the City Council will work tirelessly with our partners to ensure the maximum benefit is gained by our community, both when the event is taking place and the legacy that flows from it. Truro welcomes and embraces many forms of culture and we look forward to the unique and stimulating opportunity this provides.”
Julien Boast, Director, Hall for Cornwall, commented:
“This is a very exciting and ground breaking project and we are looking forward to being part of it. Hall for Cornwall is keen to embrace digital technologies to reach new communities and to be able to partner with the Philharmonia to bring interactive performances of orchestral music to sometimes isolated communities is a real opportunity.”
Cllr Dave Butt, Torbay Council’s Executive Lead for Culture and the Arts and Regional Board Member of Arts Council England South West, said:
“It is really wonderful that Torbay has been able to be part of this exciting digital music project. We particularly welcome and support initiatives which introduce new audiences including children and young people to arts and culture in the widest sense. We look forward welcoming the i-Orchestra in June 2014.”
For further information about the project, interviews, biographies and photographs please call Alice
Walton at the Philharmonia Orchestra on 020 7921 3931 or email [email protected]
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Acknowledged as the UK’s foremost musical pioneer, with an extraordinary recording legacy, the Philharmonia Orchestra leads the field for its quality of playing, and for its innovative approach to audience development, residencies, music education and the use of new technologies – including digital installations such as the multi- award-winning RE-RITE, webcasts, podcasts, downloads and computer games – in reaching a global audience. Together with its relationships with the world’s most sought-after artists, most importantly its Principal Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonia is at the heart of British musical life. www.philharmonia.co.uk
Composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen has been Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra since September 2008, continuing a relationship that dates back almost 30 years. His tenure has been dominated by landmark multi-disciplinary festivals, exploring the music of key 20th-century composers and musical movements in their widest possible cultural, social and historical context. Salonen’s dedication to technology, digital platforms and outreach has been realised through his work with the Philharmonia Orchestra on both the digital installations at the heart of i-Orchestra. www.esapekkasalonen.com
Arts Council England Strategic Touring Fund
The £45 million Strategic touring programme was launched by Arts Council England in 2011 and aims to provide better access to quality art to more people across the country. It is designed to encourage collaboration between organisations, so that more people across England experience and are inspired by the arts, particularly in places which rely on touring for much of their arts provision. It targets areas of least engagement and increases work for and by children and young people, as well as people from diverse backgrounds.
Plymouth Music Education Hub
Plymouth Music Education Hub came into being as a result of an open application process, which opened 25 November 2011. Plymouth Youth Music Service led the successful bid to Arts Council England to become the lead organisation for the new hub. The hub seeks to ensure that every child aged 5-18 has the opportunity to sing and learn a musical instrument, and to perform as part of an ensemble or choir. It allows young people to take their talent further - through local ensembles, partnerships with nationally funded music organisations, including National portfolio organisations and through involvement in the Music and Dance Scheme. The hub, building on the existing music service Plymouth Youth Music Service, is a collection of organisations working in the local area to create joined up music education provision for children and young people, both in and out of school.
Cornwall Music Education Hub
The Cornwall Music Education Hub is a partnership of 40 organisations who work together to promote and support music education in Cornwall. The lead organisation for the Hub is Cornwall Learning which is part of Cornwall Council. The Cornwall Music Education Hub is one of the 123 Hubs funded by the Arts Council nationally. More information about the work of the hub can be found at www.cornwallmusiceducationhub.org