The London Philharmonic Orchestra is a an internationally renowned collective of top class musician who play a repertoire that would outstretch the length of the entire REM back catalogue. Yet for its members the present success is lacking an important ingredient; the young.
Jonathan Ayling (pictured), one of the orchestra’s cellists, sees it a cause for concern. ‘The average age of an audience is older than we would like. To put it bluntly, we have to improve our image with young people or we wont have an audience in thirty or forty years time’. On Saturday, the London Philharmonic began its annual season of shows in Brighton. ‘Brighton’s an important cultural centre’, Jonathan explains, ‘and the Orchestra attempts to bring world class music to places that it wouldn’t necessarily get.In conjunction with the performance, the Orchestra’s youth group, NOISE, arranged cheap tickets and a free beer for students in the interval. By making such student-friendly gestures Jonathan and his colleagues hope that the image of classical music can be rejuvenated.
Ayling himself cannot overstate the value of Orchestral music. ‘I may be biased’, he admits, ‘but classical music is the most powerful of all arts. It has the power to give an immediate reaction, whether it be happiness, anger, sorrow or fear.’ There is clearly a unique feeling to be had from listening to a full orchestra and it is obviously a feeling shared by the members of the ensemble. ‘For any young person who hasn’t seen a live performance. There’s something very exciting there and classical music can be the most powerful, giving the strongest emotions to the audience.’ For a man who has been playing Cello since the age of eight, his continuing enthusiasm shows the power of a medium that is so often over-looked.
There are due to be a further two performances by the LPO this academic year; to find out about them and student offers search for the NOISE facebook group or check the website. Then come along and enjoy…