Young students join orchestra for concert

More than 80 young people from Firs and Becket primary schools, The Bemrose School and Derby College have performed alongside Derby-based regional orchestra and Grammy-nominated Sinfonia Viva at two special concerts at Derby Theatre.

The concert was the culmination of Viva’s annual education residency ‘AlgoRhythms’, in partnership with Rolls-Royce plc and Derbyshire Music Education Hub.  It took a creative approach to STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and used the power of music to bring coding to life.

Throughout the project, the students worked with Viva composers and musicians to compose their own music, write songs and learn new pieces inspired by coding which have been commissioned by the Orchestra.

As well as playing alongside the young people, the 14-piece orchestra performed feature pieces by famous and influential classical composers across the ages from Bach to Terry Riley to show how integral coding has been in musical creation.

A special commission, ‘By Red’ which is an anagram of Derby, by award-winning composer Josephine Stephenson was also premiered at a concert – inspired by the work of Ada Lovelace who was the daughter of Lord Byron and acclaimed as the first computer programmer during her career in the mid 19th century.

Viva composer and workshop leader Raph Clarkson explained: “There are many links between coding and music with software developers and musicians alike working with a specific ‘language’, whether that is a type of computer code (e.g. Java or HTML), or musical notes on a score.

“This project has therefore been a fascinating way of de-mystifying the STEM subject – exploring the background, theory and applications of coding through songs and music to bring the subject to life for participants and the audiences alike.”

Paul Broadhead, Head of Community Investment and Education Outreach continued: “We are always looking for more creative and engaging ways to inspire young people to learn explore and enjoy STEM subjects.

“’AlgoRhythms’ has been a fantastic way of bringing the creativity and performance of arts together with the science and technology of coding and flight and has been another great success in our long-term partnership with Viva.”

Sinfonia Viva Education Manager Marianne Barraclough concluded: “As an Orchestra with a national reputation for education work, we pride ourselves on taking truly collaborative approach to our work.

“Education projects such as these not only provide a wonderful creative and learning experience for the young participants – they also enable teachers to further develop their own artistic and leadership skills and to take these beyond the life of the project.”

A review of the concert by Mike Wheeler will appear in the April issue of artsbeat which is out this week.