An inspiring new music initiative that will help young people in Greenwich and Lewisham develop their music skills has been awarded funding as part of a major scheme launched by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
The Animate Orchestra is borne out of a creative partnership between Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (Trinity Laban) and Greenwich and Lewisham Music Services, who will work in partnership with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), Southbank Centre and The O2 to inspire young musicians. The project aims to motivate young musicians from Years 6-9 in Greenwich and Lewisham schools to progress in the fields of ensemble and creative music making and to continue music tuition during the transition to secondary school, when many can 'drop out' of instrumental learning.
Young people will be invited to create their own ensemble that represents an 'orchestra for the 21st Century'. They will make music alongside members of the LPO, staff and students from Trinity Laban and teachers from Greenwich and Lewisham Music Services, as well as perform and attend performances by other artists, at venues to include Southbank Centre and The O2. The Animate Orchestra launches next spring with a series of interactive performances taking place at secondary schools across the two boroughs, reaching over 1200 children between the ages of 10 and 14. Young people will be invited to attend a series of holiday courses to create the new ensemble, working alongside orchestral musicians, music tutors and a creative director. The Animate Orchestra will perform during 2012 as part of Cultural Olympiad programming.
This is one of six new partnerships funded by the Mayor's Music Education Fund. Over the next two years, these partnerships will give in total over 5,000 young people from diverse social backgrounds and at different levels of learning the chance to develop their skills on a musical instrument, play in a group with other students, and work and perform with some of the UK's finest professional musicians in some of London's most inspirational venues.
Currently music is a compulsory subject up to the age of 14, but fewer than one in 10 students takes the subject at GCSE level. It is hoped that with the Music Education Fund and through the work of the Music Education Strategy, more and more young people will be encouraged, not only to take up a musical instrument, but to continue their instrumental learning with opportunities to take part in orchestral, band and inspirational projects with professional musicians.
Councillor Jackie Smith, Greenwich Cabinet Member for Children and Young People says:
'Greenwich has a proud record of nurturing the musical talents of our children and young people. The Animate Orchestra provides an excellent way to further develop our existing partnerships so that more local children can experience the unique sense of pride and achievement associated with creating and performing live music.'
Andrea Spain, Head of Professional Skills at Trinity Laban says: 'Performing in an orchestra can be one of the most exciting aspects of being a musician. By bringing together a professional orchestra, the musicians of Trinity Laban, the expertise of music services and the creativity of young people, we look forward to capturing the power and impact of orchestral musicianship, in an ensemble that represents the ideas and culture of a new generation.'
Timothy Walker AM, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra says: 'Thanks to the Mayor's Music Education Fund, the LPO has been able to forge a new partnership with Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Greenwich and Lewisham Music Services, Southbank Centre and The O2 to create Animate Orchestra, a new ensemble and a new musical pathway for talented young people in the London Boroughs of Greenwich and Lewisham. We hope to support children who have participated in wider opportunities, Saturday centres and other instrumental learning schemes and nurture them as young musicians through transition into secondary education.'
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'There can be no greater joy than being able to pick up an instrument and bewitch others with music, but many youngsters in the capital don't get the chance to develop their musical skills. As one of the world's great cultural powerhouses, it is our responsibility to ensure that youngsters growing up in this city today can benefit from the world-class facilities and institutions we have based here. I'm delighted that Trinity Laban are on board.'