New Horizons

The London Philharmonic Orchestra's New Horizons composition project works with GCSE music students in South London. Workshops take place in school, with performance opportunities at the Southbank Centre.

New horizons

The GCSE New Horizons project was launched in 2011/12. GCSE music students from four schools in Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Royal Greenwich work with LPO workshop leaders and LPO musicians to create their own group compositions based on a piece of LPO repertoire. They then perform this new music in a formal setting at the Southbank Centre, and receive opportunities to see the LPO perform.

"The project has had a very positive knock-on impact in helping the class to understand the context of the set work and has encouraged them to take a more open approach and interest in exploring other styles and genres."

Teacher, Trinity School, Lewisham

Students look at specific composers and their social and cultural impact, specific compositional techniques, notation and musical forms. The project aims to complement the GCSE exam board syllabuses and support the music teachers in the classroom, whilst also giving live musical experiences and performance opportunities.

In 2014/15 the project used the work of Rachmaninoff as inspiration for creative group composition, and worked with workshop leaders and composers Rachel Leach and Fraser Trainer.  Last year students created compositions inspired by Beethoven's 7th Symphony and Sibelius' The Tempest, working with workshop leaders and composers Fraser Trainer, Rachel Leach and John Webb, with players from the Orchestra.  The autumn term project culmination performance featured The Norwood School and Walworth Academy.  In the Spring Trinity School (Lewisham) and St Ursula's Convent School (Royal Greenwich) performed their interpretations of Sibelius' The Tempest.

In 2017 we worked with Notre Dame RC Secondary Girls' School in Southwark, and St Martin-in-the-Fields High School in Lambeth. Notre Dame were inspired by R Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra and St Martin's used Ligeti's Atmospheres as their stimulus.  Both schools performed their original pieces in a free pre-concert performance on stage at the Royal Festival Hall in February 2017.

New Horizons is generously supported by The Sampimon Trust and The John Thaw Foundation