Press release: Simon Rattle announces new deal for young musical talent

On the eve of the opening of the London Symphony Orchestra’s 2018/19 season, Sir Simon Rattle today announced the creation of the LSO East London Academy, developed by the London Symphony Orchestra in partnership with ten East London boroughs: the first step on a path to making the orchestra truly representative of its community in London.

The LSO East London Academy will open at LSO St Luke’s in Spring 2019. It aims to identify and develop the potential of young East Londoners between the ages of 11 and 18 who show exceptional musical talent, irrespective of their background or financial circumstance.

The entire programme will be free, acting as a bridge between secondary school – where so many young people drop out of music education – and conservatoires, the vital next step into professional musicianship. Currently the costs of this type of training elsewhere can be as much as £3,000 a year.

Announcing the plans, Sir Simon Rattle, Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra, said today: “The LSO’s education work is world famous and rightly admired and copied. But we want to go much further. We know there is so much talent on our doorstep. We see these young people through our work every day in schools and the wider community. But they face some of the biggest social and financial barriers to realising their ambitions, and we want our programmes to constantly evolve to meet the challenge of being truly London’s Symphony Orchestra.”

The Academy team, working with the Music Education Hubs in each of the ten boroughs, will reach out across East London to actively seek out the very best talent. Selected participants will benefit from the full resources of the London Symphony Orchestra including masterclasses with LSO players. The first year’s programme will focus on working with 20 string players. In year two
approximately 20 woodwind, brass and percussion players will be added, thus alternating the recruitment each year, building towards the creation of a chamber orchestra. At the conclusion of each cycle of the programme the young musicians will perform in a public concert at LSO St Luke’s, which will include invited industry professionals across the music and education sectors.

James Thomas, Head of Hackney Music Service, speaking on behalf of the East London Music Education Hubs, said today: “The East London Music Hubs are delighted to be working in
partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra on the LSO East London Academy, which will provide a significant and unique opportunity for East London’s young musicians. This aspirational programme is particularly important because it will enable access to free, high-level musical training for 11-18 year-olds from diverse cultural backgrounds, and from lower-income families. The programme fills a much-needed gap in provision for gifted and talented students for whom a similar option would be financially prohibitive.”

Press Enquiries:
Kenny Morrison, Hatcham Communications
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Tel: +44 7834 061295
Jane Quinn, Bolton & Quinn
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+44 20 7221 5000

Notes to Editors:

LSO East London Academy
The LSO East London Academy is a new two-year programme for young musicians showing exceptional potential in East London, created by the London Symphony Orchestra and the local Music Services in ten East London Boroughs: Bexley, Barking & Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. Through the provision of free, inspirational coaching delivered by the LSO’s world-class musicians, the Academy will ofer high-level training and mentoring to 40 young musicians annually from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds who show exceptional promise. Its aim is to accelerate the instrumental learning, confidence and aspirations of talented East London musicians – increasing the pool of young people from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to achieve entry to a conservatoire and pursue a career in music.

The LSO’s existing work in East London has been significant, engaging over 18,000 young people; training 400 primary school teachers in the delivery of classroom music activities; delivering over 1,800 creative music workshops; reaching 440 schools; and providing 165 performance opportunities for young people from across East London. However, the focus of the programme has been to engage and inspire, rather than providing ongoing training focused on high-level instrumental skills.

Many young East Londoners and their parents are not aware of their musical potential, and lack the money, support networks and understanding required to pursue their talent further. Through this new programme, the LSO’s ambition is to ensure that all the young people in East London who have the potential to pursue a career in music should be given the opportunity to do so, regardless of their circumstances or background and without financial or other barriers.

> Find out more about the LSO East London Academy