Pupils' music shoots for the Moon
A Derby clock-maker will be celebrated in a new stage show co-written by school pupils, reports Ella Rhodes.
WHAT do a 300-year-old clock maker, a giant moon and a group of schoolchildren have in common? The answer is coming to a stage in Derby.
Sinfonia Viva's new concert piece Moon is a celebration of clock-maker John Whitehurst, who was born 300 years ago this year.
To help celebrate his life and work, students from Becket Primary School, Griffe Field Primary School, Creswell Junior School, Littleover Community School, John Flamsteed Community School and Derby College have been exploring creative links between science, space and time for the show.
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Along with workshop leaders James Redwood and Jack Ross, composer Anna Meredith and her video artist sister, Eleanor, they have been composing their own musical responses to the central theme, which they will perform at the concert.
Composer Anna says she was excited about working with Viva again for this year's education project – relishing the opportunity to show young people how their ideas can be translated into music which they will perform on stage alongside Sinfonia Viva orchestral players.
She says the inspiration for Moon started with John Whitehurst, the renowned clock-maker upon whose work the Smiths clock factory in Derby was founded.
Whitehurst was also the father of modern geology and a founder member of the Lunar Society along with artist Joseph Wright and other famous thinkers and industrialists who were instrumental in the birth of the industrial revolution in the 18th century.
Anna said: "From the original inspiration of the link between music and time, Eleanor and I came across the Algonquian Native American names for the 12 full moons of the year and this has set the tone for what we're sure will be an atmospheric performance."
Anna has composed five of the 12 pieces of music which seamlessly combine electronics with a classical music score performed by Viva.
The remaining pieces have been composed and will be performed on stage by the pupils following a series of workshops with Anna and the Viva education team.
Anna says: "The great thing about working with Viva is that I am not constrained and this makes for a really creative process.
"We have a fantastically wide age range of young people involved in the project and there is no hierarchy in this work so their ideas really do count and our job is to translate their thoughts into performance pieces."
For the concert, the audience will be seated in the balcony, looking down on the stage, in the centre of which will be a giant moon, on which Eleanor will draw images live throughout the concert to illustrate the different moon themes and moods.
WHAT: Moon with Sinfonia Viva
WHERE: Derby Assembly Rooms
WHEN: Thursday, March 21
ADMISSION: Cost £10
TICKETS: Phone Derby 255800 or visit www.derbylive.co.uk to book