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Special Projects

Able Orchestra

The Able Orchestra was a special project that enabled two groups of young people from Fountaindale School in Mansfield and Outwood Academy, Portland in Worksop to work alongside two of our brilliant Hallé musicians, Bea Schirmer and Chris Emerson, and professional artists from County Youth Arts, Si Tew, Ronnie Sampson and Bec Smith, to compose a piece of music and digital imagery inspired by the BBC Ten Pieces. Whilst the able bodied students from Outwood Academy used acoustic instruments, the disabled young people from Fountaindale School were able to make use of a variety of adaptive and assistive technology, including iPads, to create their music.

The students gave a public performance alongside 15 Hallé musicians at the Palace Theatre in Mansfield at the start of May 2016, and everyone involved in the project was delighted to be invited to perform as part of the Ten Pieces II Prom in July 2016.

The project was produced by County Youth Arts, Orchestras Live and the Hallé, and funded through Nottinghamshire Music Hub, Orchestras Live and Arts Council England.


Robot Orchestra

The announcement that Manchester was to become the European City of Science 2016 sparked the development of all kinds of innovative projects, including the Robot Orchestra. This project is led by the University of Manchester and was developed to emphasise the links between science and music. Various schools and organisations were invited to make musical robots, the best of which were selected to play in a Robot Orchestra. As well as hosting an event for schools to come and start developing robots, the University also provided materials and equipment for many groups.

To ensure all the robots could work together in an ensemble, the Hallé’s major sponsor Siemens developed a central control robot they named Graphene. Its name provides another link to Manchester being named the European City of Science 2016, as graphene was discovered in Manchester and also happens to be a good ‘conductor’.

The Hallé became involved in the project when the Education Director, Steve Pickett, was invited to compose a piece for the robots. The Robots are Coming!, written for nine Hallé musicians and the 16 selected robots, received its premiere at the opening conference for the EuroScience Open Forum which took place in the Manchester Central Convention Complex on 24th July.

The Robot Orchestra will continue to be developed over the coming year, with compositions being produced by the Head of the University’s music department and other local artists.


The Pied Piper of Rochdale

The Pied Piper of Rochdale was a special project for four Rochdale schools, designed with the aims of introducing the students to world music and exploring the ways in which music can be used to bring different communities together through collaboration and team work.

Each participating class was joined by two Hallé musicians and together they spent three workshops composing their own version of a traditional melody from one of four countries; South Africa, Cuba, India and Indonesia.

The project culminated at the end of June with a joint performance to friends and family, led by Julian Plummer. Usually a Hallé horn-player, Julian swapped his standard concert clothes and job for an evening and transformed into Rochdale’s very own Pied Piper, complete with bright red socks, a checked tabard, striped sash and jaunty feathered hat! Julian’s fanfare began the performance, and he also linked each of the schools’ projects together with improvisations based on the projects’ themes. The performance ended with all the children following Julian in a parade around the school singing The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

A huge congratulation to all the students involved for their fantastic work!

South Africa – Moorhouse Primary School, led by Peter Liang and Dave Hext
Cuba – Marland Hill Community Primary School, led by Ken Brown and Ric Parmigiani
India – Heybrook Primary School, led by Helen Bridges and Katie Williams
Indonesia – St Andrew’s CE Primary School, led by Rosemary Attree and Gemma Ashcroft


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