Dramatic drone footage helps high-flying orchestra celebrate major milestone

Dramatic drone footage shot high above Llangollen will be projected on three giant screens during the world premiere of a new piece of music to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a flagship orchestra.

Wrexham and St Asaph-based NEW Sinfonia was established in 2011 by two talented brothers, Robert and Jonathan Guy, who will be marking the orchestra’s birthday with a series of 10 performances, Ten4Ten on the weekend of November 26-28.

Events are planned at St Giles’ Parish Church in Wrexham and at the town’s award winning community arts hub Tŷ Pawb.

Among the highlights will be the first of the orchestra’s new Great Sound Exhibition performances at St Giles’ Church, funded by the Arts Council of Wales and in partnership with Disability Arts Cymru.

The drone images will be projected onto the massive transparent screens – the largest of which will be the central screen standing eight metres high and six metres wide. It will be flanked by two slightly smaller screens.

Jonathan Guy has written new music for the concert called Where Light Meets Dark while the footage was filmed by Llangollen-based visual artist Ant Dickinson who spent much of lockdown flying the drone above the Dee Valley.

“Audiences will be able to see through the screen as the orchestra is playing but at times we will be able to transmit associated digital images and films on it which will intrinsically link up with the music being played. We want to immerse people’s senses in the music,” said Jonathon.

The 10-year milestone follows hot on the heels of momentous developments for the orchestra which recently became a registered charity with a board of trustees appointed

It has also launched a re-designed and updated website, on which it has put out a call for patrons and supporters to help it achieve a three-year strategy to take the orchestra successfully into the mid-2020s.

NEW Sinfonia is also the resident orchestra of the North Wales International Music Festival which has been able to return to St Asaph Cathedral this year with a hybrid event featuring online concerts as well.

The brothers, who have both also forged successful individual careers, say they are enormously proud of what the 40-strong orchestra has accomplished over the past decade, and it has far exceeded the original expectations.

Robert is now based in Manchester where he is Director of the University of Manchester’s elite undergraduate conducting programme, Head of Choral Programmes and Director of Ensembles.

He said: “It’s incredible really when we reflect on how NEW Sinfonia has developed. I sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure I’ve not dreamed it all.

“We’re so proud of all our fellow musicians and hugely thankful to everyone who has supported us over the last ten years.

“We started as a relatively young orchestra simply with the aim of providing an outlet for talented young musicians from around North Wales to get together and perform great music together. But it’s phenomenal how we’ve grown beyond that as individuals and as an orchestra.

“Many of our members are now much in demand for their instrumental skills and they play with renowned orchestras worldwide. But amazingly they still come back home to NEW Sinfonia when we have a concert on. They make strenuous efforts to get here and play together no matter what.

“We’re a close-knit musical family and now we all want to nurture and help develop the next generation of young North Wales classical musicians. We want to offer them a chance to perform with a full orchestra, just like we had that chance.”

Jonathan added: “As an orchestra we’ve had outstanding opportunities and we now want to enable other young musicians to have similar opportunities in their up-and-coming careers. A big goal is to engage more with the communities in which we work, to inspire people to listen to and enjoy more classical music in all its many forms.

“We are also keen to introduce family friendly events into our repertoire, concerts where parents can come along with their young children.

Among the new trustees is Ruth Evans is Head of Artistic Planning and Participation at the National Youth Choirs Great Britain.

She said: “What NEW Sinfonia has achieved is remarkable especially when you consider that they were such a young orchestra when starting out.

“But in a way I am not surprised, Rob and Jon are both brilliant musicians with so much natural musical talent. They’re passionate about what they do.

“They are both committed to making the orchestra a vital part of the community where it has its roots.

“They reach out and bring classical music to some people who may never have heard it before, and they are fervent believers in the power music has to improve people’s well-being.

“More than ever, I think, they have proven this during recent lockdowns when they have worked so hard to keep music alive and relevant, despite the constraints of social distancing and so many closed venues.

“There are great plans ahead and we’re all truly excited to see how much more NEW Sinfonia develops over the next 10 years.”

For full details about the 10th anniversary concerts programme visit the NEW Sinfonia website at: www.newsinfonia.org.uk

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