Concert highlights and interactive content broadcasting online from 10 May

Aurora Play series trailer:

‘Join in with Jessie’ Berlioz dance trailer:

Aurora Orchestra today announces the launch of Aurora Play, a new digital series showcasing the best of Aurora’s orchestral adventures online. Broadcast online on YouTube, the series features highlights from Aurora’s performance archive alongside newly-created interactive content designed to engage audiences in fun and creative ways with orchestral music.

Featured concert footage includes Aurora’s critically-acclaimed televised appearances at the BBC Proms over recent seasons, as well as filmed performances as part of its series as Resident Orchestra at Kings Place. For the first time since their original TV and online broadcasts, these performances will be broadcast on YouTube Premiere, and subsequently made available on demand through the Aurora website and YouTube channel.

The orchestra today announces the first six concert broadcasts in the new series: an eclectic combination of programmes showcasing the virtuosity and creative presentation for which Aurora is renowned. These include Aurora’s landmark Orchestral Theatre staging of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique (2019 BBC Proms), memorised performances of Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral’ and ‘Eroica’ symphonies (2015 and 2017 BBC Proms) and contemporary works by John Adams, Anna Meredith, Brett Dean and Nico Muhly. Further broadcasts will be announced at a later date.

Sunday 10 May, 4pmBerlioz’s Symphonie fantastique Orchestral Theatre performance, from memoryFeaturing Mat Baynton (BBC Proms 2019)
Sunday 17 May, 4pmEroica Revisited Memorised performance of Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’, including a presentation on the symphony with Tom Service (BBC Proms, 2017)
Wednesday 20 May, 7pmSeeing is Believing Music by Nico Muhly and John Adams (Kings Place, 2011)
Sunday 24 May, 4pmPastoral Symphonies (1) Memorised performance of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony(BBC Proms, 2015)
Sunday 31 May, 4pmPastoral Symphonies (2) Anna Meredith Smatter Hauler; Brett Dean Pastoral Symphony  (BBC Proms, 2016)
Wednesday 3rd June, 7pmMozart with Angela Hewitt Mozart Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat with Angela Hewitt(Kings Place, 2019)

The series will be enriched with new introductions by Nicholas Collon and other special guests. Aurora has also worked with its  Workshop Leader-in-Residence Jessie Maryon Davies to create an accompanying series of interactive films which take a sideways look at the music being performed each week, and encourage the audience to create and share their own responses online.  

As part of this new interactive series, Aurora today launches a call for creative responses through dance to the final movement of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique: view an introductory video here.  

In addition to weekly Sunday afternoon YouTube premieres, Aurora Play content will feature as part of King’s Place’s online ‘KPlayer’ series, broadcasting archive footage of concerts filmed at the venue. Forthcoming KPlayer broadcasts include Nico Muhly’s Seeing is Believing (2011), and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat with Angela Hewitt (2019).

Nicholas Collon, Founder and Principal Conductor of Aurora Orchestra, says: “We’re hugely fortunate as an orchestra to have grown up in an era which coincided with the advent of high-definition broadcast footage and online streaming. Indeed we have tried to place Aurora at the forefront of digital possibilities; one of the performances to be shown as part of ‘Aurora Play’ was the first ever classical concert to be streamed on the Guardian website, in 2011. So much of what we try to achieve as an orchestra marries the potential for the visual as well as the aural, so it is particularly exciting that so many of these wonderfully vivid collaborations from our past can now be shown again on screen to a wider audience. It is my hope that the myriad wonders of the internet can give people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to be immersed in some of the most thrilling moments from Aurora’s past, and to participate in the additional online content; learning more about the music we play, the people and players behind the performances, and the background to these extraordinary pieces.”

Jessie Maryon Davies says: “My work with Aurora is all about finding new and fun ways for audiences to engage with their orchestral programme – from presenting storytelling shows for young children and families to leading workshops for schoolchildren and hosting interactive late-night concerts. Both innovation and imagination are at the heart of Aurora’s programming which makes my job a total joy. I’m very glad to be called upon now when we need music and play more than ever. I hope that people everywhere – adults, children, families, households – will see what we are doing and get involved. 

Big classical works like symphonies can sometimes feel hard to approach. This series will invite people to get inside the storytelling and drama of the music; to get moving, dancing, drawing and making as well as listening. These exercises exist as standalone interactive experiences for the whole family, and also serve as an introduction to those wanting to get acquainted with the featured pieces before they watch Aurora’s full performances.”

Aurora Play will launch on Sunday 10 May at 4pm with the orchestra’s performance of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, recorded at the 2019 BBC Proms. Its most ambitious ‘Orchestral Theatre’ project to date, Aurora’s specially-devised production interweaves live orchestral performance with theatrical design, lighting, movement, costumes and Berlioz’s own words spoken by actor Mathew Baynton (Horrible Histories, Yonderland, Ghosts).Performing without sheet music, the orchestra offer audiences a new way to experience the iconic work in a fresh and illuminating context, exploring the composer’s vivid imagination and world through theatrical elements. The result is a unique concert which illuminates Berlioz’s masterpiece in new ways for first-time listeners and lifelong devotees of the symphony alike.

Aurora has become known for its pioneering memorised performances of whole symphonies, offering audiences the opportunity to experience orchestral music in a completely new and thrillingly direct way. The orchestra has performed by heart at the BBC Proms every year since 2014 – presenting works including Mozart’s 40th and 41st symphonies, Beethoven’s Symphonies nos. 3, 5 and 6, and Shostakovich’s ninth.

Aurora’s Orchestral Theatre series aims to give the richest possible experience of orchestral music to the widest possible audience, using cross-art form collaboration, historical contextualisation, audience participation, and memorised performance to deepen the audience’s musical enjoyment and understanding. The series creates orchestral adventures spanning diverse musical genres and art forms, rethinking the concert format and offering bold new ways to engage with orchestral music. Programmes are uncompromisingly music-led, with orchestral music and musicians always centre stage.