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Orchestral music for young people to come to Luton and Harlow

  • Date: 14 February 2013
  • Area: South East
A man star jumping in the air, on a street holding a trombrone

First Time Live - Youth project, City of London Sinfonia. Credit: Benjamin Ealovega

An Arts Council England Strategic touring programme project that aims to encourage young people to create an interest and become engaged with orchestral music is to come to Luton and Harlow as part of its national schedule.

First Time Live - Youth, from Orchestras Live, plan to stage two concerts in local schools in both Luton and Harlow with a series of workshops taking place prior to the event in March.

The Arts Council's Strategic touring programme was launched in 2011 and 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.

There will be two concerts performed at The UK Centre for Carnival Arts, Luton on Friday 1 March as well as two separate shows at Leisurezone, Harlow on Thursday 21 March. The concerts come courtesy of Orchestras Live who has worked closely with the City of London Sinfonia in two separate performances on each of the dates lasting 75 minutes in length.

The concerts will consist of world renowned orchestral music such as Shaking & Trembling from John Adams' Shaker Loops, the Angry Birds Main Theme by Ari Pulkkinen, and the third movement from Mozart's Horn Concerto No.4. The young participants aged 10-14 will be responsible for presenting some of the music and may even have the opportunity to perform as part of the concert.

To prepare them, the workshops, which are carried out by City of London Sinfonia and Music leader John K Miles, will help the students get to know the musicians, help choose the repertoire and for them to gain further knowledge of what orchestral music is all about and their role in the concert itself.

The music based initiative has also been able to secure a partnership with Makewaves a social media platform provider for schools which allows young people involved with the project the ability to share videos, podcasts and blogs in a safe and secure manner.

Luton and Harlow have been chosen as areas which have low engagement with the arts and are two of 10 locations in England that make up the tour. First Young Live - Youth will stage 20 concerts engaging up to 14,000 young children  and tour places such as Hull and Scunthorpe in 2013 with a further six locations planned for 2014.

Their touring model complements existing styles of touring orchestral work and addresses the financial and attitudinal barriers that prevent young people attending orchestral concerts with a first-time orchestral experience that is exciting and inspiring. It is supported by the by the Garfield Weston Foundation and public funding courtesy of National Lottery and Arts Council England's Strategic touring programme.  

Orchestras Live's Chief Executive, Henry Little, commented: "First Time Live - Youth will help inform the way that live orchestral music is programmed and presented to young people, as well as giving them an invaluable experience of hearing a world-class professional orchestra for the first time. The key to the project is making young people central to the process, from choosing repertoire to making videos and blogging as well as attending high quality concerts. Moreover, I'm thrilled that Arts Council England has recognised the importance of a new touring model to bring live orchestral experiences to young people in parts of the country where there is little or no orchestral provision."

Lisa Elmer, Relationship Manager, Libraries, Arts Council England, East, said:
'This project is a great example of how Arts Council England's Strategic Touring Programme is encouraging organisations to place people at the centre of a high quality artistic event. The First Time Live programme will offer many young people their first taste of orchestral performance, whilst ensuring they are at the heart for the process.  Through working with Music education hubs and Bridge organisations this project aims to inspire those young people to continue playing, listening and taking part in cultural activities in those places where it may not have previously been possible.'

One of the hoped out comes of the project is a lasting relationship and collaboration forged between participating orchestras, schools, animateurs, venues, relevant Music education hubs and other participant and organisations. This could lead to the development of further concerts for young people and the development of younger audiences for orchestral concerts in the future.

Find out more about First Time Live at