Sound Around – ‘more like a research project’

Sound Around, a large-scale inclusive touring programme promoted and produced by Orchestras Live aimed at engaging young people with orchestral music, sees its first year brought to a culmination over the coming weeks with performances for schools in Doncaster, Sunderland and Northampton, as well as relaxed family concerts, all shaped and delivered by inclusive groups of young producers in each area.

Music Leader Tim Steiner and a team of RPO players have been working with each group of young producers through a series of workshops exploring the many facets of programming, producing and presenting events with a large orchestra and venue.  The young producers, including some with additional needs, have been encouraged to think freely in their design of performances for young and family audiences whilst understanding and working within the practical realities of achieving a professional event.

Ahead of these performances, Music Leader Tim Steiner shares his thoughts and reflections on his experience of Sound Around so far…

We’re into the sharp end of Sound Around 2017 and each session so far has revealed something new about the business of producing orchestral concerts. Its become increasingly clear that Sound Around is not just about young people producing concerts for other young people. It feels far more like a practical research project into the actual process of producing, programming and delivering concerts.

From the outset, I have been insistent that we create concerts that would not have been possible without the involvement of young people. We are learning that the way to do this is for them to work alongside us with an inspiring and influential voice so that together, we create something new, and something unique. And we know this process is working well when we begin having new ideas and perspectives as a result of the partnership. As professionals, it is a luxury to have such a context to explore the nature of our practice. And it is incredible to be able discuss, explore and be challenged about our practice by young people.

It now seems obvious that the context for our performances in Sunderland, is very different to that in Northampton. Sound Around grants us the opportunity to engage fully with the culture and context of those performances, and it allows to make work that properly responds to it in meaningful ways. There’s a stark contrast between this kind of approach to concert production, and the traditional process of touring a pre-set programme with little or no regard to venue or context.

At its best, the discussions and explorations with the young people have inspired myself and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra team to think differently about the kind of things we might do, and about the way me might work. Together we are producing concerts which are clear reflections of our partnership and the unique potential of each context. So whether its a thousand bees being released into the audience, or a conductor parachuting onto the podium, we know that something new, exciting and inspiring will happen.

Tim Steiner, Music Leader

Tim Steiner (c) Tsvetomir Tsvetanov

Tim Steiner (c) Tsvetomir Tsvetanov

Keep up to date with future Sound Around events by following the Orchestras Live Sound Around Facebook page or via Twitter with the hashtag #OLSoundAround.

Saturday 11 March 2017 10.30am – Relaxed Family Concert, Doncaster book online

Sunday 26 March 2017 3pm – Relaxed Family Concert, Sunderland book online

Sunday 9 April 2017 2.30pm – Relaxed Family Concert, Northampton book online

Sound Around