At the beginning of May, the RPS Music Awards ceremony brought the 2016 prize in the Learning and Participation category to the South-West Open Youth Orchestra, the UK’s only disabled-led regional youth orchestra, brought to life by Open Up Music and sustained by its committed partners. CE’s Liz Lane is the orchestra’s Composer in Association.
It’s been more than a two weeks since the prize ceremony, what are your thoughts on the achievement now?
It was wonderful to share the celebrations with SWOYO clarion player George and some of the OpenUp Music team – what a fantastic evening and huge achievement; so well deserved after all their hard work!
You are the orchestra’s Composer in Association: what does the collaboration entail?
I was able to help facilitate SWOYO’s first concert in April 2016, when they played a new version of my ‘Silver Rose’ for brass band, choir and organ at Bristol Cathedral with Lydbrook Band, University of the West of England Singers and Alison Howell (organ), narrated by Barry Farrimond and conducted by Ian Holmes. From this, I wrote ‘Silver Song’, which was performed live on BBC Radio 3 in June during BBC Music Day and has been broadcast again a couple of times this last week following SWOYO’s win.
This year my role has been quite varied, supporting in a number of roles including an advisory board working towards the launch of the National Open Youth Orchestra in 2018.
My huge thanks go to the University of the West of England who have awarded me research time for this work.
Can you reveal any of your future plans with the orchestra?
I am currently writing a new work which puts the orchestra in the role of accompanists to a choir – another new venture! The theme is cities – specifically the 70th anniversary twinning of Bristol, Bordeaux and Hannover, with specially written words by Jennifer Henderson. The orchestra’s numbers are expanding and the instrument Bradley and George play with their eyes (the clarion) is becoming more sophisticated, so the landscape is constantly evolving – it’s an exciting time! There is a planned first performance later this year but meanwhile one song will be performed at Bristol Zoo at the end of June with the Bristol Youth Choir, conductor David Ogden, accompanied by Ashleigh Turley, one of the SWOYO young musicians.