AYM goes to the BBC Proms

Earlier this year we launched an exciting mentoring partnership project with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Ten AYM supported musicians have been receiving one to one mentoring from a BBC Symphony Orchestra musician. This summer they had the opportunity to travel to London to meet up again with their mentor and to watch them perform in a BBC Prom.  

This project began in February 2022 with a day of music making at BBC Maida Vale Studios. You can read about this here. 

The mentees and mentors have been meeting regularly online since. Each relationship has developed organically. The sessions have focused on a wide range of topics, from preparing for auditions, to composing, to overcoming performance anxiety. 

But nothing beats making music together! So, this summer AYM and the BBC arranged for the mentees to meet with their mentors in London during the busy BBC Proms season.  

10 year old violinist Reuben from Leicestershire came to London for The First Night of the Proms in July. His Mum reflects: 

“It was such a fantastic experience. We met up with Reuben’s mentor Peter on Friday at BBC Maida Vale Studios. They played a duet and Peter also taught Reuben a small section of Verdi’s Requiem that he would be playing in the Prom that evening. Reuben listened out for it in the performance. The Prom was spectacular and being in the Royal Albert Hall for the first time was – wow just amazing! We managed to spot Peter within the orchestra which was great.”  

16 year old double bassist Al from Sheffield attended Prom 33: Holst’s The Planets. Their Mum said: 

The concert was brilliant! Al received a wave from the entire bass section from the stage! The next day we spent three hours at BBC Maida Vale Studio with Al’s mentor Beverley. She worked with Al on excerpts of ‘The Planets’, which Al saw at the Prom and is also going to be playing in Hallé Youth Orchestra this year. Bev then arranged for Al to go into one of the recording studios to see a session with a band and be introduced to the mixing and recording equipment. This fed into Al’s interest in music technology and was an amazing opportunity.’ 

Alongside the 10 mentees, AYM and the BBCSO also welcomed a further 120 AYM supported young people and family members to attend a BBC Prom. For many this was their first Prom and for others their first time seeing a professional orchestra perform.  

14 year old rock and blues guitarist Rhys from Surrey went to Prom 47: The Aretha Franklin Prom.  

‘We didn’t really know what to expect but the whole show was so special. The music was familiar and played in an exciting way. All the musicians were amazing! It was so great to see everyone enjoying it, the whole audience was interacting and joining in. When they played “Think” it was one of my favourite moments. That was the first Aretha Franklin song I ever heard and the energy was amazing.’ 

15 year old violinist Trip from Brighton got to go to Prom 23: The Aurora Orchestra’s relaxed performance of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. They reflected: 

‘I have played Beethoven’s 5th symphony in my orchestra, so I was excited to see it live. The orchestra was exciting, and I loved that they performed the whole work from memory. It was a great performance, and it was really great to see the Proms being inclusive with people with learning disabilities.’  

The AYM BBCSO Exchange Programme will continue for the remainder of the year, culminating at AYM’s 2022 Awards Day in December. The mentees and many other AYM young musicians will spend the day with the entire BBCSO at BBC Maida Vale Studios.  

We’ll be making further announcements about this Awards Day soon so please make sure to sign up to mailing list to keep up to date. 

This work is part of the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s ongoing mission to broaden access to classical music, encourage musical excellence and create opportunities for people from all backgrounds. 

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