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Heralding Music Nation's Big Noise ...

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Susannah Simons Susannah Simons | 10:20 UK Time, Thursday, 16 June 2011


Photo of Nicola Benedetti with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Music Nation - In Glasgow, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra will be joined by artists including Nicola Benedetti for a celebration of sporting and musical heroes

Susannah Simons,  the BBC's Project Executive for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, introduces Music Nation

Music Nation began as a small gleam of an idea - could we in midst of all the actiivity in 2012 create a moment where the nations' orchestras came together to create a noise?! 

Could we use this moment to blow away once and for all the outdated image of orchestras being out of date, old-fashioned and composed of white, middle-aged people in evening dress playing music by dead composers?

Amazingly, too many people who don't routinely come into contact with the UK's great orchestras still tend to cling to this old-fashioned idea of who they are and what they do - day in, day out across the country  - while those of us who are fans know that this is simply not true: so how to win over the sceptics?
I began this crusade by recruiting the BBC's six performing groups and then set out to convince as many people as I could to join the party. At the beginning I had no idea what the response would be but in the event it has surpassed my wildest dreams - 45 exciting projects across the UK  - some of them creating history, like when the RTE Concert Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra meet that weekend to play together: never mind the rugby at Croke Park, home of the Gaelic games - this is musicians doing for themselves!

And in London, children in Beijing will be linking up with children in London to play together as part of the LSO on Track programme - conducted by the great Valery Gergiev.
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra will journey to Shetland for a wonderful weekend of music-making across the islands, while at the other end of the country the BBC Concert Orchestra will be traversing Devon and Cornwall with up to 60 local musical groups. There will be choirs both amateur and professional joining forces across the country, new compositions in Rutland and Derby, African drummers, folk musicians, jazz musicians, and entire cities and towns like Southampton and Paisley immersing themselves in music.
It will be a wonderful celebration of the richness of our musical life  - my only problem is whether to stay at home and listen to Radio 3 or join in one of the many musical moments  - do I go to Shetland or Saffron Walden. One thing I do know - wherever it is, it will be great!


  • Comment number 1.

    The Orchestra is the most beautiful gathering of musicians the world could ever witness. With its' name alone, it brings with it an emotion that embraces both culture and genre while promoting simple elegance and a style that appears as limitless as it is timeless. The Orchestra will never be outdated; it's only concern would be that it remains exclusive to those with an innate ability of connection to it. We need to push The Orchestra beyond the 21st Century so that it appears to sit in our future in order for simple society to appreciate it on the scale it commands. The Orchestra is elite but it should never be elitest. Gaben Eliot


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