Future Talent Orchestra’s debut public performance at the Southbank Centre

On Sunday 23 October, the Future Talent Orchestra performed at the Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall as part of the Southbank Centre’s WHY? Festival celebrating the rights of children and young people.

This was the third opportunity for current Future Talent musicians, as well as alumni, to come together for a day of intensive mentoring and performing.  The Musicians spent the day rehearsing Terry Riley’s minimalist composition In C directed by Robert Ames, co-principal conductor and co-founder of the London Contemporary Orchestra.

Composed in 1964, In C is a landmark piece that revolutionised contemporary music composition. It features a series of 53 short melodic fragments written for any number of musicians and configuration of instruments, with each musician moving onto the next bar as and when they choose to.  This creates a layered effect, and as performers move through the piece, the music slowly takes on a metamorphosis.  For the performers it relies on a very different set of skills to that used in more traditional classical music, as it constantly plays on independent decision making based on acute listening, and technical stamina.

A day of rehearsals were held at The Warehouse in Waterloo, London where Robert, guest saxophonist and mentor Joel Garthwaite and Future Talent Musicians explored these musical concepts in depth, concentrating on the interaction between musicians and experimenting with different arrangements, dynamics and polyrhythmic combinations.

After a sound check with the Southbank Centre technicians, the Future Talent Orchestra played a half hour live performance to an audience of over 200.  Joel Garthwaite said of the day with the Orchestra:

Rob and I enjoyed it very much and were most impressed by the standard of playing and musicianship”

“It was a wonderful concert.  I could’ve gone on listening and was quite mesmerised by the subtle rhythmic patterns…It’s amazing that you were able to make this happen given the one day rehearsal with players who hardly know each other”
– Ruth Jones, Parent.

Inspired by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the WHY? Festival provides a forum for children, young people, parents, teachers and professionals involved in caring for under-18s.

“It was great to see such a diversity of instruments forming an orchestral group, and I think you picked the perfect piece”
– Holly Hunter, Voicelab Manager, Southbank Centre

Photos: Alex Harvey-Brown