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28 May 2009
British orchestras are reaching towns and villages all over the country including every English county, are playing in hundreds of non-traditional venues - and are striving to do more, according to a new briefing produced by the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) launched today.
Beyond the Concert Hall draws on evidence from all 65 ABO members; from small chamber ensembles through to large symphony orchestras, and explores the extent of the work that orchestras are doing outside traditional concert settings in reaching isolated areas.
It includes examples of the Orchestra of the Swan's innovative approach to bringing contemporary music to rural areas, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group's Rural Tours, London Mozart Players, Manchester Camarata and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's thriving rural residencies, Ensemble Cymru's classical music circuit across all six counties of North Wales and successful education projects such as BBC Concert Orchestra's Making Tracks project , Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra's Rusty Musicians and LMP's award-winning work in Swavesy.
It also highlights how orchestras are helping local services meet government targets on culture and cohesion and are using new technology to bring classical music to an even wider audience.
Mark Pemberton, Director of the ABO said:
"There's a lot of work going on outside major cities and orchestras are touching the lives of thousands of people up and down the country - both through concerts and tailored workshops and education work.
"But there are real challenges ahead; especially in the current economic climate. Taking orchestras and ensembles out of urban areas can be costly and there's a danger that this touring will fall victim to resource constraints. That's why the continued support of local and national government, sponsors and funders - and of course the enthusiasm of local promoters is so crucial."
Beyond the Concert Hall is the first of a series produced by the ABO to showcase the work of the orchestras, highlights their ambitions to do more - and offers best practice guidance for other arts organisations wanting to develop their work in hard to reach areas.
Future briefings will cover areas such as innovation, international reach and the environment.
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