The London Philharmonic Orchestra has expanded its LPO Junior Artists programme, adding a new strand for younger students from communities under-represented in professional UK orchestras.
Supported by a grant of £30,000 over three years from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, LPO Junior Artists: Overture aims to inspire younger musicians and their families, helping them access musical training and opportunities and signpost next steps. The initiative will offer students aged 11-14 years the opportunity to meet the Orchestra, develop their skills and build their understanding of progression routes available to them. Planned activities for this new strand include three Overture Weekend Days in Brighton and London.
The new strand will allow the LPO Junior Artists scheme to reach more musicians from under-represented communities; these include under-represented racial, ethnic or socio-economic backgrounds, as well as players with disabilities.
The pilot phase of the LPO Junior Artists programme, which ran between January and June 2017, saw eight young people aged between 15 and 19 offered four individual lessons with their LPO mentors, a mock audition with feedback from LPO musicians, and rehearsal and concert visits. The Junior Artists also 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. Three skills development sessions focused on communication and confidence, practice and motivation, and working in primary schools.
To continue the programme, the LPO has asked music services, junior conservatoires and teachers across London to nominate talented young musicians to audition. Eight Junior Artists have now been recruited for the 2017/18 programme.
Timothy Walker, chief executive and artistic director of the LPO, described the first year of the programme as ‘a tremendous success’, adding: ‘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.’