Musicians Going Wild with Some New Ideas; Sinfonia Cymru Are Hoping to Reach out to New Audiences for Orchestral Music - by Giving Its Young Musicians the Chance to Run the Show. ABBIE WIGHTWICK Finds out about the Ambitious Plans

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Byline: ABBIE WIGHTWICK

WHILE high-profile classical musicians such as Vanessa Mae and Nicola Benedetti have helped introduce the art form to a new generation, orchestral music is still often regarded as out of reach.

But Cardiff-based Sinfonia Cymru is hoping to change all that - by letting its young musicians have their say.

"It's a very unique experience for musicians to decide what they get to play," admits 20-year-old bassoon player Jonathan Davies. "We are also involved in organising events and promoting the orchestra and we represent the players' feelings on the board.

"Sometimes our ideas are pretty wild and out there so it's nice Sinfonia Cymru listens to what the players and young musicians today want to perform and what they want to provide for audiences."

The chamber orchestra was founded in 1996 and provides early employment opportunities to young musicians, all of whom are under 30.

Now they are being given the chance to choose performance pieces and to run an entire event later this year, which will include overseeing the marketing and design.

They will be joining experts and promoters to develop new ventures and programmes under the name Sinfonia Cymru; Curate. There will also be a relaunched website and new logo.

Orchestra general manager Sophie Lewis promises the core work of the orchestra will remain the same, but says it is vital to tap into new audiences too.

Sophie, who has been with the orchestra for seven years, says it is vital to encourage fresh ideas and woo younger audiences.

"This orchestra can now talk to its peers," she adds. "It is really exciting. When you have revenue money it's all too easy to sit back and carry on but if you open your eyes you have to look to the future."

Five musicians from the 38-strong freelance orchestra will work with the orchestra's marketing team, designers and web designers to come up with fresh ideas, designs, publicity and programmes.

The first of these will be Classic Conversations, a series of concerts opening at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff next week.

Opening the new project, the programme features international maestro conductor Carlo Rizzi and acclaimed British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor who join Sinfonia Cymru to share masterpieces by Mendelssohn, Schuman, Scribian and Beethoven.

The music was all selected by the orchestra's young musicians who say it is exciting to be allowed to choose what to play for the first time.

Orchestra musical director Gareth Jones says: "We want to open up a dialogue with our musicians and guest artists about what they want to perform and what it means to them inviting them to work with us on building a programme around it. …