Preparations ramp up for ‘Pictures at Our Exhibition’ as part of the Reading 2016 Year of Culture’s ‘Get Fit for Culture’ January

The Reading 2016 Year of Culture is here! One of the first events will see us present our own ‘pictures’ of classical music, on Saturday 23rd January, 7.30pm, at The Concert Hall, Reading Town Hall. Tickets are available here.

For over ten years, through our famous ‘Concert Virgin’ scheme, we’ve offered anyone who has never heard a live orchestra a free ticket to one of our concerts. This fits wonderfully with the aspiration of Reading 2016’s ‘Get Fit for Culture’ theme for January, which encourages people to broaden their cultural horizons and try something new. And we’ve been hard at work on a special project which will make the concert even more accessible.

“The visual spectacle of over 80 musicians playing amazing music in front of your eyes surprises and delights ‘concert virgins'”, explains APO music director, Andrew Taylor. “So, we’ve added an extra visual element through the ‘Pictures at Our Exhibition’ project, which will take the concert experience to another level.”

DSC_0023 (1)

Reading’s foremost creative arts organisations, jelly. Five young composers aged 12-21 from Reading and the surrounding area were given a guided tour of the jelly studios by its director, Suzanne Stallard, exploring how each artist works to create pieces in different mediums.

Each of the young composers has, with the help of Reading-based professional composer, Roger May, composed a musical response to a work of their choice by jelly artists Julie Simmonds, Mark O’Neill, Mark Andrew Webber and Jim Attewell. These pieces have been compiled into a new work, ‘Pictures at APO’s Exhibition’, which will be given its world premiere at the concert on the 23rd.

Thanks to a grant from Reading Borough Council, the performance will be recorded and hosted online with an accompanying audio/visual guide, so that the art works can be exhibited as part of jelly’s ‘Open for Art’ exhibition, later in the year, as well as being taken around schools and community organisations.

And, of course, the jelly art works will be exhibited at the concert itself, so that the audience can see what they’re about to hear represented in music. The #APOpictures work was inspired by Mussorgsky’s famous piano piece, ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’, which APO will also be performing in Ravel’s dazzling orchestration. Sibelius’s haunting and dramatic violin concerto is also on the programme, with soloist Geoffrey Silver.