Young musicians from around the world come together for Aldeburgh World Orchestra

18 July 2011


Image credit: Malcolm Watson

The Aldeburgh World Orchestra (AWO) is an ambitious international project to bring the world’s leading young musicians together as an orchestra for the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad.

Made up entirely of the 124 best emerging professional musicians from across the globe, in about equal numbers from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, Oceania and Europe, AWO will be conducted by one the UK’s leading musical figures, Sir Mark Elder.

The orchestra’s Aldeburgh Residency from 6–29 July 2012 will culminate in high-profile performances at Snape Maltings Concert Hall; Ingolstadt Audi Festival; Amsterdam Concertgebouw; and the London BBC Proms in 2012.

Mentored by principal players from the world’s great orchestras, the young musicians will prepare an ambitious repertoire, consisting of Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, the Fifth Symphony by Shostakovich, the Adagio from Mahler’s Symphony No.10, and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. They will also work together on the world premiere of a BBC commission by young composer and Aldeburgh Alumna, Charlotte Bray.

The Aldeburgh World Orchestra has been made possible with generous funding from Arts Council England Lottery-funded Grants for the arts awards. There will be a multi-dimensional programme to connect the AWO to Suffolk and the region (through an online platform, an installation, and the creation of an elite performance ensemble of Under 18s), Exchanging Worlds, which has attracted substantial funding from Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to create a lasting cultural legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games across the UK.

The orchestra’s international reach and its age range of 18–29 years provide a unique set of artistic possibilities, with exceptional musicians from differing cultural backgrounds working together, comparing notes, and leaving a legacy of contacts and networks.

Dame Liz Forgan, Chair of Arts Council England, said: ‘Aldeburgh World Orchestra is a groundbreaking project that truly embodies the spirit of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is a unique opportunity for some of the world’s most gifted young orchestral players to come together as part of the London 2012 Festival, showcasing Aldeburgh as one of the UK’s foremost hubs for the development of talented professional musicians.

Ruth Mackenzie, Director, Cultural Olympiad, said: ‘It will be a highlight of the London 2012 Festival when these exceptional young international young musicians perform on a world stage for the culmination of this project. Aldeburgh Music’s 30 years’ experience of supporting and inspiring each generation of exceptional young international musicians makes them a perfect partner to lead this project for the festival.'