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Project information

Cheltenham Music Festival and Education Programme

A major new orchestral work for the 70th Cheltenham Music Festival that is inspired by and created using recordings of the natural world. A dynamic education programme and a stunning multimedia performance will inspire audiences of all ages to engage with classical music and the world around them.

January 2014 - July 2014

Charity information: Cheltenham Festivals

Cheltenham Festivals logo
  • Need


    Many people feel that classical music is not 'for them' and find concerts of traditional classical music difficult to engage in, while schools often struggle to provide musical opportunities for their students. Given the many benefits associated with engaging in musical activities there is a clear need to create musical experiences that engage people of all ages and give them the opportunity to discover the thrill of a live concert and to create and perform their own music.


    By creating an innovative piece of music inspired by the natural world and its relevance to everyone's lives, Cheltenham Festivals will engage new audiences of all ages in classical music. Events exploring the environmental issues and technology behind the piece will engage people who would not normally come to a concert. An education programme will enable young people who would not otherwise experience live music to explore the sounds of their environment and create and perform their own music.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To commission and perform a major new orchestral work inspired by the natural world


    » Use environmentalist Bernie Krause's book, recordings and visual representations of sound (spectograms) to analyse the sounds of the natural world
    » Commission renowned composer Richard Blackford to Bernie Krause's work to create a major new orchestral work - The Great Animal Orchestra
    » Commission a visual artist to develop a striking digital visual piece that works with the music to create a stunning multimedia performance
    » Programme a concert at the 70th Cheltenham Music Festival where the new work will be performed by a renowned orchestra with stunning visual projection

    What success will look like

    Success will be the creation and performance of a new multimedia work for orchestra which will be premiered at the 70th Cheltenham Music Festival in July 2014.

    Aim 2

    To engage new audiences of all ages in classical music


    » Develop an innovative education programme to engage schools and inspire them to create music and interact with their natural environment.
    » Run events at our Festivals to engage audiences in the piece in different ways eg conservation, technology, literature and spoken word events
    » Create a strong marketing plan that will build awareness and interest in the project in the months before the final performance.
    » Use Bernie Krause's book, 'The Great Animal Orchestra' to engage a wide audience in the project.

    What success will look like

    Success will be new audiences attending the final performance and the delivery of a successful education programme.

    Aim 3

    To increase awareness of environmental issues


    » Run events at our Science Festival which are tied to the project, and emphasize the environmental message of the piece at the Music Festival
    » Ensure the environmental issues raised by the project sit at the heart of the project's education programme.
    » Market the performance in a way that emphasizes its environmental message

    What success will look like

    Success will be audiences engaging in environmental events at the Festivals and recognising the messages in the piece.

  • Impact


    A major new orchestral work will be created which will continue to be performed and enjoyed by audiences in the future. The performance, education programme and associated events will engage audiences of all ages in classical music, encouraging them to explore classical music, attend future concerts and to take an interest in music making themselves. The project will raise awareness of environmental issues and encourage people to consider how their lifestyle impacts on the enviornment


    There is a risk that fundraising income could fall below target. However, we have a strong track record of raising funds for new commissions and our inspiring education projects. Schools can be reluctant to get involved with new projects, but our existing education programme has given us a strong reputation and has built links with the local community and schools, over 25,000 children and young people were inspired by our programme of events last year.


    Donors will be kept up to date on the progress of the project and will receive e-news/letters and invitations to events which are part of the project. They will also receive a report after the final performance.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £92,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £12,000 Creation of new piece of music To include composers' fee and video artist
      £26,000 Orchestra Fee for an orchestra to perform the piece
      £12,000 Venue and production Venue, staging, lighting etc for the final performance
      £10,000 Education programme For musicians and educational practitioners to lead workshops and rehearsals
      £17,000 Festival events and marketing To develop audiences by creating events across all Festivals and developing online content and print
      £10,000 Full cost recovery Staff time for running project, education workshops and marketing
      £5,000 Contingency For unexpected production costs associated with creating a multimedia performance

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Target ticket sales for final concert £40,000 Conditional
    Trust funding £2,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Cheltenham Festivals, a registered charity, attracts audiences from across the world to four annual Festivals of Jazz, Science, classical Music and Literature. Events will take place in and around Cheltenham, with workshops taking place in schools across Gloucestershire.


    Audiences of all ages who might not normally engage in classical music will benefit from events, workshops and the opportunity to attend the premiere performance of a new work of music - up to 1,000 people will be able to experience the first performance, with many more at future performances. Young people who do not get many musical opportunities will get the chance to work with talented musicians to create and perform their own music inspired by the sounds of the natural world.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Cheltenham Festivals has been creating and delivering inspiring events since our first Music Festival in 1945. We now run four internationally renowned annual Festivals of Jazz, Science, classical Music and Literature, and specialise in programming unique events combining the arts and sciences. We are experience at running dynamic education projects that engage young people in science and the arts - last year over 25,000 children and young people took part in events and activities.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Richard Blackford

    Critically acclaimed film and concert-music composer who will create a new orchestral work inspired by and encorporating sounds of the natural world.

    Bernie Krause

    Author, environmentalist and sound recordist who has spent 45 years recording and creating digital images of the sounds of habitats around the world.

    Philippa Claridge

    Cheltenham Festivals' Education Manager who has excellent relationships with schools and is experienced at developing innovative education programmes.

    Meurig Bowen

    Music Festival Director who is commissioning and overseeing the project.

Cheltenham Festivals Music and Education