Music Nation

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If you have listened to Radio 3 at any point over the last week, you will undoubtedly have heard many of the presenters mention Music Nation. Indeed, Twitter has this week seen the hashtag #musicnation grow steadily as a trending topic. But, what is this enigmatic Music Nation? Is it a revolution in the offing? Is it some arty-farty nonsense by a group of hipsters?

Music Nation, and most relevantly for us, Music Nation Cymru, is a celebration of the nation's musical life and part of the London 2012 Festival. In Wales, more than 1,000 performers will be involved, professional and amateur alike, and not just in Cardiff.

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales' contribution to the event will culminate in a Sunday afternoon performance at St David's Hall at 3pm (be there or be square, as it were).

There are a number of exciting aspects to the concert. Firstly, we will be showcasing the amazing work of Andy Pidcock. Some of your children may have already been at one of our roadshows with Andy. As part of our education programme, we have over the last year and a half played to thousands of primary school children right across Wales, from both mainstream education and special schools. It has been an honour for the Orchestra and a humbling experience, and it is fitting that Andy's music should feature in our Music Nation celebration.

In addition to this, we will be performing extracts from a work by a young Welshman, Lloyd Coleman, entitled Breaking The Wall. Lloyd has been making quite a splash in the compositional world winning awards for three consecutive years in the BBC Proms Young Composers' Competition amongst others. And he's still a student.

Commissioned by the BBC as part of Music Nation, we will also be premiering Songs Of The Earth by Karl Jenkins.

The most exciting, and to me, the most gratifying element of the concert however, is the sheer breadth of young people involved. The orchestra already has extensive links with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and will build upon those links on Sunday as students from the College perform alongside our own musicians. In addition to this, we will be joined by students from Tŷ Gwyn Special School and also over 250 young singers from Welsh county choirs.

Twitter enthusiasts: search for #musicnation and be excited by the huge breadth and variety of events celebrating the musical culture that we all fight so hard to protect and nurture.

Music is, or should be, inclusive. You don't need a degree in music, drama, literature or fine arts to get something out of the myriad performances that happen every week in the UK. Music Nation is a celebration of that fact. Find an event near you, get involved, be entertained and be inspired. The United Kingdom has a fabulous tradition of the arts and Wales in particular plays a very strong role in that. We should be proud of it, and I believe it is something worth celebrating.

To find out what Music Nation events are happening in your area, visit To book tickets for the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales concert on Sunday 4 March at 3pm, call 02920 878444.

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