Skip to main content Skip to site map (in footer)

i-Orchestra – a catalyst for new classical music audiences in the South West

  • Date: 23 January 2014
  • Area: South West
Two young boys composing at Philharmonia Orchestra's digital installation

Philharmonia Orchestra's RE-RITE digital installation. Credit: ©Hubert Auer, ©Oliver Schaper and ©Philharmonia Orchestra

A two year programme of digital music activity led by the Philharmonia Orchestra will launch in the South West this Spring.

The i-Orchestra project was awarded a grant of £676,670 through Arts Council England's Strategic Touring Programme and combines the latest digital technology with live music performance in a ground-breaking approach to engage with new audiences for classical music.

A consortium of arts and education providers in Devon and Cornwall will work alongside the Philharmonia Orchestra to take the pioneering programme of music to sites in Torbay, Plymouth and Cornwall between April and July.

At the heart of the project are the Philharmonia Orchestra's digital "virtual orchestra" installations which allow the participant a chance to step inside an orchestra, experience the sensation of being amidst more than 100 expert musicians and even enjoy the excitement of playing amongst them. This year the project will tour the installation RE-RITE (based on Stravinsky's Rite of Spring).

Alongside the installations, Music Lab, a specially designed touring truck, housed in a 40 foot trailer, will bring digital interactive music activities directly to local communities around the three regions. This pop-up musical experience will offer participants - schools and community groups as well as local residents - a hands-on opportunity to create their own musical work and take part as performer, composer and conductor.

To further complement the project free, live, open-air orchestral concerts by the Philharmonia Orchestra will be staged in each of the regions.  

i-Orchestra has been developed by the Philharmonia Orchestra in close collaboration with the consortium of local partners to ensure that the project reaches the communities for whom it has been specifically intended and to generate positive cultural change. Consortium members include: Plymouth City Council, Truro City Council, Torbay Council, Plymouth Youth Music, Torbay Music Education Hub, Cornwall Music Education Hub and Hall for Cornwall.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: 'This is a unique project that looks to ignite interest for orchestral music in communities of low cultural engagement, those that rely on touring for much of their arts provision. Through a deeply interactive and ambitious programme of activity the project aims to leave a legacy of engagement of new audiences that will create a step change in the profile and perception of orchestral music in the South West.'

RE-RITE will be sited in Plymouth (29 April to 11 May), Torbay (26 May to 9 June) and Truro (30 June to 14 July).