CYA Able Orchestra at BBC Proms

Published 30th June 2016

Able Orchestra, an exciting and innovative music project which features disabled and non-disabled young musicians from Nottinghamshire alongside professional orchestral players, has been invited by the BBC to perform at this year's prestigious Ten Pieces II Proms on 23/24 July 2016 at the Royal Albert Hall.

The project features young people from Fountaindale School, Mansfield and Outwood Academy Portland in Worksop. The original idea was to work with the students to develop brand new pieces of music and perform on equal terms with non-disabled counterparts.

The project was originally devised for disabled students using digital devices and music technology by County Youth Arts, part of INSPIRE, the newly formed Arts, Culture and Learning organisation set up by Nottinghamshire County Council.

Councillor Liz Plant, Vice-Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Committee, at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “We are immensely proud of the Able Orchestra – they were fantastic when they performed at Showcase earlier this year, and they will once again captivate the audience when they perform as part of the Proms. It is wonderful news that they will be given a chance to perform on this prestigious national stage.”

From developing the pilot with professional digital and contemporary artists, a partnership was forged with Orchestras Live, a national music producer, to enable the students to compose and perform alongside a professional orchestra. An initial project worked with great success with members of the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Able Orchestra was then invited to work with the internationally renowned Hallé on a creative response to the BBC Ten Pieces national scheme, which aims to open up the world of classical music to a generation of young people. The integrated orchestra performed at Mansfield’s Palace Theatre in May whilst the Fountaindale musicians premiered some their work at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall earlier in the year.

In the latest project, young people from Fountaindale School used technology to create and control sounds and projected digital images, devising a new piece using Gabriel Prokofiev’s Concerto for Turntables & Orchestra as the inspiration for their work.  Building on this, young instrumentalists from Outwood Academy Portland developed additional material for the piece by reinterpreting fragments from more of the BBC Ten Pieces, including Bernstein’s Mambo and Bizet’s Habanera.  A team of artists from County Youth Arts and the Hallé supported both groups.

The Proms performances with the Able Orchestra will include the BBC Philharmonic who will perform alongside the young performers from Nottinghamshire – an amazing opportunity for these young people.

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