‘LPO Junior Artists’ continues into second year and expands with a new strand for younger students, helped by major funding boost from Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.
After a hugely successful pilot year, in which eight 15-19 year olds from communities currently under-represented in professional UK orchestras took part in an exceptional orchestral experience programme, the London Philharmonic Orchestra today announces that its LPO Junior Artists scheme will not only continue, but be expanded to include a new strand for younger students.
Last week the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation announced that it has allocated £30,000 over three years, to help the Orchestra continue and expand its vital work promoting diversity and inclusion among UK professional orchestral musicians and within their administrations. LPO Junior Artists offers an unrivalled programme of activities to under-represented students of grade seven or above standard who are considering studying music at a conservatoire or university. Experiences range from lessons and mentoring from LPO musicians; Insight sessions about the profession and further training opportunities; performances and sharing sessions in front of peers and professionals; skills development sessions on communication, practice, motivation and audition technique; several days of office work experience with the LPO administration team; sessions in primary schools to inspire younger children, and the chance to observe key LPO rehearsals and performances at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall and Glyndebourne.
Applicants are drawn from backgrounds traditionally under-represented in UK orchestras, which could include, but are not limited to, under-represented racial, ethnic or socio-economic backgrounds, as well as players with disabilities. Applicants are asked to self-identify as to why they feel they fulfil these criteria in their application form.
For the pilot phase of the programme, the 2016/17 Junior Artists were offered four individual lessons with their LPO mentors, a mock audition with feedback from LPO musicians and rehearsal and concert visits. Alongside this, the Junior Artists took part in three Insight sessions: one on the orchestral profession (led by LPO musicians), one on conservatoires and other higher training routes, and one on solo performance, including a discussion with soprano Angel Blue, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and conductor Rebecca Miller. Three skills development sessions focused on communication and confidence (led by actor/writer Lolita Chakrabarti), practice and motivation (led by Dr Liliana Araújo from the Royal College of Music) and working in primary schools led by animateur Rachel Leach.
Pasha Orleans-Foli, one of the 2016-17 Junior Artists said: “I have loved everything about the LPO Junior Artist scheme. I've learnt so much, right from the audition experience itself to one-on-one sessions with my LPO mentor - one of the best orchestral musicians in the country. We’ve experienced rehearsals and concerts, watching the LPO in awe - but we have also been finding out what goes on behind the scenes. The year has been busy, but it has given me a unique insight into the life of an orchestral musician from all sides – it’s been a fabulous opportunity.”
To continue the programme the London Philharmonic Orchestra has teamed up with music services, junior conservatoires and teachers across London to nominate talented young musicians to audition. Eight Junior Artists have now been recruited for 2017/18, with full activities running from September to June 2017: lpo.org.uk/juniorartists.
In a further development, the LPO now plans to work with younger students in a new element of the programme scheme called LPO Junior Artists: Overture. Sessions will give students aged 11-14 the opportunity to meet the Orchestra, develop their skills and build their understanding of progression routes available to them. The strand aims to inspire younger musicians and their families, and, in conjunction with a range of music education partners, help them access musical training and opportunities and signpost next steps – building up a network of potential LPO Junior Artists of the future. Among the planned activities for this new strand are three Overture Weekend Days in Brighton and London.
Timothy Walker, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the LPO commented: “The LPO Junior Artists programme has been a tremendous success in its first year and it has been wonderful to witness the enthusiasm and passion of the young musicians involved. It is vital that the London Philharmonic Orchestra provides pathways into the profession for talented young players from all backgrounds. Everyone at the LPO looks forward to welcoming the next eight young players and watching the progress of those moving on. We are also delighted to announce the extension of the scheme to even younger age groups and to see grantmakers like the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation recognising the importance of this work through long-term financial commitments."