Orchestras Live commission shortlisted for RPS Music Award

15th October 2020

More Up, a piece for orchestra and electronics composed by Oliver Vibrans, has today been shortlisted for the RPS (Royal Philharmonic Society) Music Award for Large-Scale Composition. The annual RPS Music Awards, presented in association with BBC Radio 3, are the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK. The Large-Scale Composition category recognises outstandingly imaginative and engaging large-scale work receiving its first UK performance.

Commissioned by Orchestras Live in partnership with Inspire Youth Arts and Inspire Music, More Up was written for the Able Orchestra, an inclusive ensemble comprising young musicians, some of whom are profoundly disabled, and adult musicians and digital artists from different genres including players from the Hallé and BBC Philharmonic. In the piece, Oliver Vibrans brings together and gives voice to multiple approaches to creating music, including using technology to empower a wider range of people to shape and perform music, in a performance that transcends its individual components and expands our understanding of what music-making can and should be.

The premiere performance, on 29th January 2020 at the BBC Philharmonic Studio, Salford, transported the capacity audience of 250 people into an immersive blend of digital and acoustic orchestral sound, incorporating live digital imagery, engaging the audience and performers in a vision of the orchestra of the future.

This was the latest project in the evolution of Able Orchestra in Nottinghamshire over the last five years, which has seen a range of collaborations and performances including appearing as the first inclusive ensemble to perform at the BBC Ten Pieces Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in 2016. The commission from Oliver Vibrans was the first time an external composer had written for the ensemble which, on this occasion, involved 50 performers using a range of orchestral instruments and assistive music technology to manipulate the acoustic sounds.

Oliver Vibrans, composer, said “I am thrilled that this work has been shortlisted and I hope this shows what can be achieved when we are creatively ambitious with what orchestras can be, and the rewards of making music a more enriching and inclusive space.”

Sarah Derbyshire, Chief Executive, Orchestras Live said “I’m delighted that Oliver Vibrans’ new work More Up has been recognised by the panel. None of us in the audience for its premiere in January 2020 will forget the compelling sound world that Oliver created from the digital and acoustic instruments of the Able Orchestra and the vision that performance propelled of how an orchestra can look and sound in the 21st century.”

Simon Webb, Director, BBC Philharmonic said “Championing new and diverse talent sits at the core of the BBC Philharmonic’s ethos. This performance was a central moment in the shared hosting of the ABO conference by the Hallé and BBC Philharmonic and demonstrates our culture of collaboration in Manchester and the impact this has for composers, partners, musicians and audiences.

Steve Pickett, Education Director, The Hallé said “I am absolutely delighted that More Up has been shortlisted for an RPS award. The Hallé’s long term relationship with the Able Orchestra, produced with Orchestras Live and Nottinghamshire Inspire, has been a great thing to be part of with some really fantastic outcomes.”

Andy Dawson, Manager, Inspire Youth Arts said “Inspire Youth Arts is delighted to have worked with Oliver and Orchestras Live in the creation of this brand new piece which has given a welcome addition to the repertoire of the Able Orchestra and demonstrates how inclusive work can deliver excellence.”

The RPS Music Awards shortlist announcement will take place on Wednesday 14 October live on BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’ and on Twitter. #RPSMusicAwards The RPS Music Award winners will be announced in a special online presentation at 7.00pm on Wednesday 18 November.