Aurora announces three regional residencies

12th March 2014

Aurora Orchestra strengthens its UK regional touring programme by announcing residency agreements with three leading venues – St George’s Bristol, The Apex Bury St Edmunds and St Mary’s Ashford – in partnership with Orchestras Live.

Since its launch in 2005, Aurora Orchestra has rapidly established itself as the most significant new British chamber orchestra in a generation. Under the artistic direction of Principal Conductor Nicholas Collon, Aurora has developed flourishing London series at LSO St Luke’s and Kings Place, and also enjoys an increasingly busy touring calendar both in the UK and internationally. Aurora has long been committed to taking its London activity to audiences further afield and continues to build a loyal and enthused regional following. By announcing residencies in Bristol, Bury St Edmunds and Ashford – relationships that started in 2011 – the orchestra consolidates this commitment by taking a minimum of two performances annually to each venue.

Aurora’s first performance at St Mary’s Ashford was in October 2011 with an appearance as part of the Revealing Ashford series. From the very start, the hallmark of Aurora’s Ashford performances has been concert collaborations with local schools and community music groups. Aurora returned to Ashford in March 2012 and May 2013 – the latter as part of its Battle tour – which included Aurora musicians performing alongside local school students premiering a new piece specially composed by pupils for the concert. Community interaction and engagement with classical music will continue to be a strong focus of Aurora’s residency at St Mary’s and will form an integral part of its programming. Aurora returns to Ashford on Sunday 16 November with a programme featuring Björk’s percussionist, Manu Delago.

Aurora’s first visit to St George’s Bristol in October 2011 saw it take its Thriller programme to the venue, followed by a subsequent appearance in March 2012 as part of the BBC’s Music Nation weekend linked to the Cultural Olympiad. St George’s Bristol shares Aurora’s passion to offer high quality, creative and exhilarating performances to a diverse audience; bringing a new experience to audiences in the South West will be a major focus for the residency at this leading concert hall. Aurora formally launches its residency at St George’s on Friday 14 March with KlezMahler – the orchestra’s New Moves programme pairing Mahler’s First Symphony, performed here in a new chamber orchestra arrangement by Iain Farrington, with eastern European folk music performed and arranged by the leading klezmer band, She’Koyokh, alongside members of Aurora.

The Apex Bury St Edmunds also hosted Aurora’s Thriller tour in 2011, and since then the orchestra has returned twice in 2013 with further cross-arts programmes. Similar to Ashford, a highlight of the ensemble’s Battle concert in May 2013 was the participation of local primary and secondary school students performing a song developed out of a series of sessions with Aurora Workshop Leader, John Barber, alongside Aurora musicians. Working with The Apex, West Suffolk Councils and local schools in this way enables the orchestra to develop a broader appreciation of classical music amongst audiences in the region and will be further enhanced by a regular annual presence in this state-of-the-art venue. Aurora’s next performance at The Apex will be on Friday 23 May featuring Iain Farrington’s chamber orchestra arrangement of Mahler’s First Symphony.

National music charity Orchestras Live works across the orchestral sector, and last year delivered 700 orchestral events across England working with 25 professional British Orchestras. Orchestras Live is currently leading First Time Live – Youth, delivering inspirational orchestral experiences to young people in underserved parts of England, and its Beyond the Premiere initiative enables new orchestral music to reach the widest possible audience. Orchestras Live has worked with Aurora Orchestra since 2008 and has championed the ensemble’s unique artistic approach to innovative concert programming and creative learning across its national network of promoter partners.

John Harte, Aurora’s Chief Executive, says “One of Aurora’s founding principles has been the conviction that orchestral music should be accessible, alive and relevant to the broadest possible audience. From the early stages of its development, the orchestra has been committed to taking its London season to regional venues across the UK as well as finding ways to engage new audiences with its work. We are thrilled to be announcing three regional residencies which through regular visits will enable Aurora to continue to bring great music to communities across the UK, to work with each venue to develop new audiences for classical music, and to deepen our dialogue and collaboration with local communities. We are particularly grateful to Orchestras Live whose support will underpin these new partnerships.”

Henry Little, Orchestras Live’s Chief Executive, added “We are delighted that Aurora has formed these regular relationships in Bristol, Ashford and Bury St Edmunds. We look forward to working with them to bring outstanding orchestral experiences to these audiences.”

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