Orchestras Live

Orchestras Live is a national organisation that brings world class orchestral music to parts of the country that don’t regularly have access to orchestral music. It is also a partner in The Mix, and has run three programmes of work over three years with schools in Luton.


Our first partnership project was First Time Live Youth, an Arts Council England-funded national initiative which involved young people from schools in Luton in choosing repertoire, getting involved backstage, being publicists and ambassadors, as well as performing with the City of London Sinfonia at UKCCA in Luton.


The project the following year – First Time Live II – was with groups from 19 Luton schools who already were already receiving whole class instrumental lessons from Luton Music Service. The children worked with composer John K Miles to create a Carnival Suite, and performed it alongside City of London Sinfonia at UKCCA. See further information below.


The 2015 project, Aiming Higher, saw young people who are part of Luton Music Service’s out of school music groups – Luton Youth Jazz Orchestra, Luton Youth Cantores – a steel pan band and young music technologists at a local special school, working once again with John K Miles and the City of London Sinfonia, to create music which culminated in a performance at UKCCA.

Aiming Higher project film


In a recent project, Side by Side, Orchestras Live, City of London Sinfonia and Luton Music Service worked with young musicians from Luton Music Service’s Saturday Music Centre and Icknield Primary School’s Hearing-Impaired Provision. This project culminated in a performance at UKCCA on 15 July 2016 in which the young musicians performed alongside professional musicians from City of London Sinfonia. Please read the Side by Side Evaluation Report and watch the project film to learn more:


Side by Side project film


Contact us if you’d like your school to be part of future initiatives:
Luton Music Service, lutonmusicservice@luton.gov.uk, 01582 538224


First Time Live II – In more detail


First Time Live II was designed to be an inclusive project that could provide a pathway to active involvement in the orchestral music genre by young people in Luton, particularly through Whole Class Ensemble Teaching with schools in BME communities. This was achieved through collaboration with a professional composer, John K Miles, and one of the country’s foremost chamber orchestras, City of London Sinfonia. During the project the young instrumentalists generated musical ideas to form a new orchestral piece based on the theme of Carnival. Supported by their tutors and orchestral musicians, the groups rehearsed parts created for them which they performed together with City of London Sinfonia in two large-scale concerts held at the UK Centre for Carnival Arts. A separate group of young people presented the concerts and helped with event management, adding to the youth-led ethos of the project. The response by those involved was extremely positive, and the partners plan to further develop the project.


Outputs from the eight-month process were as follows:

  • 310 children from 19 schools took part in 30 workshops, 3 rehearsals and 2 concerts
  • Approximately 2,000 children from at least 41 schools watched the live streaming of the concerts
  • 20 instrumental tutors and 40 Primary teachers were involved in the project delivery
  • 12 young people acted as young producers of the final events
  • Most participating schools were from diverse communities, and the final performances involved approximately 200 BME young people
  • 101 participants achieved Arts Award, and 1 Primary School achieved Artsmark Gold status
  • Charanga created an online Carnival resource featuring recorded tracks of the new orchestral score and song.

Read the Aiming Higher public report to learn even more about the project.