Details of our past extended schools projects. Click on the project title for more information.
Projects 2012 – 2013
Marking the celebration of Britten’s centenary, composer David Horne and musicians from professional instrumental ensemble Chamber Domaine facilitated an interactive composing project with three secondary schools in Haringey. Inspired by Britten’s Serenade for tenor, horn and strings premièred at Wigmore Hall in 1943, students from GCSE, BTEC and A-level classes participated in a series of workshops and were challenged to write new music.
During the workshops, students explored the historical context of the music through the Wigmore Hall archives, studied the text and discovered new composing techniques. A performance, involving all students, took place at Wigmore Hall on Wednesday 28 November with Chamber Domaine and singer, Nicky Spence.
Young Person's Guide to Chamber Music
Inspired by Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Wigmore Hall worked with four primary schools in Lambeth and Westminster to create a series of films exploring the nuts and bolts of chamber music. Led by workshop leader Rus Pearson, an animator and supporting musicians from the Royal Academy of Music, children from Key Stage 2 classes took part in a series of interactive workshops to explore what it is that makes chamber music special. Their creative work then contributed to the making of a series of short films that are now available to other young people to watch, providing a new animated introduction to chamber music.
Midori in Schools
International violinist Midori hosted a variety of Wigmore Hall’s Learning projects, including visits to Lambeth and Westminster schools in partnership with London Music Masters, masterclasses at Wigmore Hall, and special concerts for carers and for families at Wigmore Hall.
In an interview with BBC Music Magazine, Midori said:
'The more you see [of life], the more you understand; the more you experience, the greater the depth of your emotional reactions. These experiences have made me so much more aware of my own reactions. And so this work has affected me deeply in my life and also enriched it. My emotional life has become much more colourful – it’s beautiful!'
Yesterday was magical – thank you for looking after us so well and to the team for their skilful coaching and direction. As you know it was my first time ever on stage and thanks to the team I was able to perform with confidence and felt so at ease. A wonderful piece composed by Kerry and a privilege to have taken part.
Woodwose cast member
Woodwose was performed at Wigmore Hall on Friday 19 July 2013. It was Wigmore Hall Learning’s most ambitious project to date.
140 diverse members of the Westminster community aged from 8 to over 80 worked with an inspirational artistic team and performed alongside internationally renowned tenor Andrew Kennedy and Wigmore Hall Learning’s resident ensemble Ignite.
As part of our celebration of Benjamin Britten’s centenary year, the project was inspired by the composer’s well-known love of folk song. Woodwose composer Kerry Andrew collected traditional folk stories and songs from the community groups and skilfully wove these elements into her finished work. This created a fundamental sense of collective ownership for everyone involved.
Woodwose was a pioneering project in many ways…
- It was the first Community Chamber Opera in Westminster
- It was the first time most of the participants had performed on stage in a professional venue
- It was the first time over 50% of the audience for the performances had been to Wigmore Hall
- It was the first of Wigmore Hall Learning’s 3-year programme of Community Chamber Projects working with the Westminster Community
- It was the first time a performance at Wigmore Hall had featured moving trees and snow falling from the ceiling
- It was the first time a Wigmore Hall Learning project has been featured on Radio 3’s In Tune
- It was the first time tenor Andrew Kennedy had played a Wildman
- It was the first time a bicycle had been ridden inside the auditorium!
It’s tremendous that Wigmore Hall scheduled Woodwose as an evening performance. It’s recognising that this is a piece with real artistic and creative integrity, not just children singing a song or adults having a go. It sends a message to all the participants that you can perform alongside Andrew Kennedy with a professional band and you are just as valid a performer as any of them with talents to perform and tell a story and then they raise their game.Isabelle Adams
I loved the energy and commitment of the community cast – it was incredibly moving. As a professional you’re used to performing and you just get on and do it, but when you’re on stage with a community cast people are so involved in the story and ‘in the moment’, and it’s something very special.Andrew Kennedy
Performance video and documentary film ‘Rehearsing Woodwose’ coming soon.
Kerry Andrew Composer and Librettist
Hazel Gould Director
Isabelle Adams Musical Director
Ruth Paton Designer
Mark Burns Assistant Director
Hermione Jones Assistant Musical Director
James Barralet cello
Dan Parkin flute/alto flute
Lucy Shaw double bass
Jackie Walduck (leader) vibraphone/percussion
Vicky Wright clarinet/bass clarinet
Supported by the City Bridge Trust, Mayfield Valley Arts Trust, The Monument Trust and the Samuel Sebba Charitable Trust
Projects 2011 – 2012
We are Stardust
Led by pianist Dominic Harlan and director Karen Gillingham, four primary schools from Westminster participated in an arts and science project inspired by Sound and Light.
In partnership with The Royal Society, We are Stardust’s packed programme included performance opportunities at Wigmore Hall and a series of interactive workshops during which the children explored the theme of stars, the planets and sound and light through music and drama activities, and wrote their own songs. A celebratory concert took place at Wigmore Hall involving all the children.
The children’s enthusiasm for their lyrics and melodies was wonderful to see. It was fun to help them achieve that, and at the end of the concert I could see their satisfaction at being part of an hour-long concert in front of the other schools.Dominic Harland, Workshop Leader
In its fourth successful year, Wigmore Hall Learning’s Chamber Challenge project provided an introduction to string quartet music for Key Stage 2 students and gave them the experience of working alongside a professional ensemble.
The ‘Chamber Challenge’ was for a primary school class to write a piece of music which they performed themselves alongside a professional string quartet in a performance at the end of the project. This year, children learning musical instruments at four schools in Tower Hamlets took part in the project, alongside brilliant young string quartet, the Heath Quartet. Over four sessions, they wrote 16 brand new pieces on subjects ranging from the Olympics to World War II, which they performed and recorded live on the Wigmore Hall stage.
An Indian Summer
An Indian Summer was a collaborative project with Turtle Key Arts which engaged young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder in music and movement activities. Developed in consultation with the Head of Commissioning for SEN & Inclusion at Westminster City Council, the project was led by musician Neil Valentine, Wigmore Hall Learning ensemble Ignite, and choreographer Subathra Subramaniam.
Over a series of workshops the children created their own instrumental pieces inspired by traditional Indian Ragas, wrote their own stories that were choreographed with Indian movement, and learnt rhythmic percussion pieces that they performed alongside members of Ignite. In addition to workshop activities in school time, all the children visited Wigmore Hall for a special concert.
The project culminated in two individual performances to friends and family in school
At College Park, Jessie became fascinated firstly with the viola and then with the violin. After the experience on stage at Wigmore she was keen for more involvement, and she was given a duet with Ignite musician, Julian which she flourished in. She then was asked with Jackie to lead the bows at the end of the performance. This produced a profound change in Jessie who was beaming with pride at the responsibility and the opportunity for leading the group.Project musician
Over three months, Wigmore Hall Learning worked with over 120 young people from five schools in Camden, Westminster and Waltham Forest to create a new song cycle inspired by Wigmore Hall’s French Song series.
Led by composer John Barber, workshop leader Zoe Palmer and Wigmore Hall’s trainee animateur Neil Valentine, students worked together with soprano Sophie Daneman and pianist Eugene Asti over a series of five interactive workshops to create new compositions in response to French song. At each school, Sophie and Eugene performed a different French song, all unique in character and style, and asked the students to respond through the creation of text and melody. The project culminated in a celebratory concert in July 2012.
We are so grateful to all concerned for the amazing opportunity that this workshop has given our students, and are confident that it has enhanced their appreciation of the range of musical skills that have been used. All staff were friendly, approachable and very accommodating to the vast range of skills/abilities that the class had amongst them. Our students were evangelising on how positive the experience was for them all the way home!Teacher