The BSO’s Cornwall Residency 2015 was by the far the biggest community outreach programme undertaken by the Orchestra in recent years, running from 21 – 25 April. As the Participation team, BSO Young Conductor in Association Frank Zielhorst and tens of musicians headed down to sunny Cornwall, there was a slight sense of trepidation. With over 35 separate projects and events scheduled for 5 days, we had packed as much as possible into the week so we could cover as much of Cornwall as we could. By Monday afternoon, the vehicles were all packed and we set off for an epic week of music making.
The BSO Resonate Strings, Wind Quintet, Brass Quintet and BSO Bash percussion ensembles were in schools and colleges delivering fun, high quality coaching and performances to inspire the next generation of musicians. Our BSO Associates for Cornwall, Patrick Bailey and Matt Harrison led creative music and composition sessions for users of Scope and MENCAP centres. It was a really rewarding experience, giving those who would not normally get the opportunity to express themselves through musical group performances a chance to compose their own music. Our guest artist in residence, composer Stephen Montague, along with Frank Zielhorst undertook CPD and masterclass sessions captivating and informing school children and local music leaders alike. Stephen also led a stimulating composers networking event discussing the state of composition in Cornwall with local composers.
The culmination of the week was the performance at RNAS Culdrose of Stephen’s Dark Sun, an orchestral work in memoriam of the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear attacks of WWII. Over 150 local musicians and 50 BSO Musicians sat side-by-side with the end performance being a very strong, moving performance. The Navy base’s HMS Seahawk Volunteer Band and Truro Sinfonia also performed, adding a variety of music for the invited audience.
And so the curtain came down on our residency. Over 2,500+ miles were driven by the Participate team, 40+ Cornish pasties consumed (including the musicians!), upwards of 14,000 people were engaged by us and a great sense of achievement was felt by all.
– Ben Jennings
Ben Jennings works as an Intern in the Participation department, a position generously funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.