Music is for everyone.
I am lucky to have the opportunity to work with several organisations around the world who are changing lives through making music, and whose participants are a constant source of inspiration.
National Youth Orchestra Inspire
As a teenager entering the NYO changed my life. Coming from a state school and non-musical family background it was a window into a level of orchestral music-making I had previously only dreamed of. The NYO Inspire Orchestra which I direct each summer gives the chance for talented young musicians from less-privileged backgrounds across the UK to come together for an intensive orchestral residency and embark on tour giving performances and peer-to-peer workshops in schools, music hubs or youth centres in some of the poorest areas of the country to young audiences who may have never previously have encountered a live orchestra. The effect is extraordinary.
MIAGI - Music is a Great Investment
My first trip to South Africa was to conduct the MIAGI Youth Orchestra in Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique. These live-wire young musicians of every colour and background brought an infectious energy to the score, and our post-rehearsal jam & dance sessions went on late into the night. I later discovered the amazing work MIAGI do at their Cape Gate Centre in Soweto, providing music tuition to the children of the townships from the age of 2 upwards. I am now working with the young professional musicians who have emerged out of the MIAGI umbrella in a major new composition for orchestra, vocal ensemble and jazz band that will tour Africa and Europe in 2017/8.
Cuban-European Youth Academy
This amazing project bringing together an orchestra of 50% young Cuban players and 50% young musicians from across Europe was founded in 2015 by Thomas Hengelbrock and the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble. I can’t wait to direct the 2017 instalment with some exciting 20th century repertoire and a Cuban premiere at the Rheingau Festival alongside a healthy amount of salsa and mambo dancing.
The first time in Olympic history the homeless have had a voice, at the Royal Opera House for the London Olympics 2012 I had the thrill to lead a 300-strong choir of people who have experienced homelessness in opera classics as well as a newly composed finale by Gavin Bryars. Over two years of workshops in homeless shelters, rehearsing, recording and filming with participants across the UK later our new production together ‘The Answer to Everything’ opened at the BFI, London Southbank Centre to critical acclaim.
Awards for Young Musicians
As a young aspiring horn player I was very lucky to have the help of the AYM when I needed to find myself a better instrument, so I didn’t hesitate when they asked me to become a Patron and help support, nurture, inspire and encourage the next generation of young musicians. In December 2016 I look forward to conducting a 100 of these young players from across the UK in a mass orchestra combined with the BBC Symphony at London's Maida Vale Studios for a day rehearsing Shostakovich Symphony No. 10.
Aged 17 I spent my summer holiday in Kerala, Southern India, teaching piano to children in four different music schools across the state. I quickly fell in love with the country and ended up founding a charity to organise and provide for other young musicians from Europe to go and teach in schools across the whole of India each summer. Alongside thrilling projects with the slum kids of Mumbai and many other musical, culinary and social adventures, I also had the privilege of a personal invitation to study the ragas and rhythm of Indian classical music with the late great Pt. Ravi Shankar.