In an exciting development for music enthusiasts and aspiring artists in Nottingham, the esteemed BBC Concert Orchestra has formed a groundbreaking partnership with the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University. This collaboration aims to provide students with unparalleled performance, composition, and production experiences, while also fostering community well-being through various projects. Furthermore, the initiative seeks to bolster the music education sector in the region.

The partnership will commence with a year-long film-making and scoring project, incorporating students from both universities. The culmination of this endeavour will be a series of workshops featuring BBC Concert Orchestra musicians and the renowned composer, George Fenton, who boasts a collection of BAFTA and multi-Emmy Awards. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to participate in improvisation workshops led by acclaimed musicians and composers.

A new BBC Radio 3 Recital Series, featuring New Generation Artists, will be recorded in collaboration with students from Djanogly and University Halls. As the partnership evolves, plans are in place for further broadcast programs to be produced jointly.

The Nottingham collaboration aims to accomplish the following:

  1. Provide students with regular access to one of the United Kingdom’s most esteemed professional broadcast orchestras, enabling them to develop their skills and gain industry experience that will significantly enhance their employability prospects.
  2. Forge new pathways leading to highly skilled technical roles in the broadcast industry.
  3. Foster research and development opportunities, with a particular focus on areas such as the social impact of music, digital technologies in music practice, and audience engagement.
  4. Support music-making among young people in both curricular and extra-curricular settings.

The partnership will commence with a two-week residency by the BBC Concert Orchestra, effectively integrating the BBC’s production activities into research and training programs while further cementing the orchestra’s growing presence in the city.

While the BBC Concert Orchestra will continue to rehearse and perform in London and other locations across the UK, the new partnership with Nottingham represents a significant step toward securing a sustainable future for the ensemble. Starting in 2025, the administrative base of the BBC Concert Orchestra will be established at East Bank, as previously announced.

Simon Webb, Head of BBC Orchestras and Choirs, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, “This partnership between the BBC Concert Orchestra and the universities of Nottingham builds on the existing relationship between the orchestra and the city. What we have planned for this partnership is ambitious and incredibly exciting and demonstrates the vital role of music in education. I look forward to working with the teams in Nottingham and sharing our world-class music-making with students and local communities.”

Professor Jeremy Gregory, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nottingham, emphasised the unique opportunity to enrich Nottingham’s cultural life. He highlighted the partnership’s ability to showcase the talent, research, and cultural offerings of the region. Moreover, Gregory emphasised the invaluable benefits for students, who will have the chance to collaborate with a world-class orchestra, gain industry experience, and engage in community outreach programs that will benefit diverse groups across the city. He also expressed eagerness in exploring a wide range of research opportunities.

Amy Bere, Director of Culture at Nottingham Trent University, shared her excitement about the partnership’s wide-reaching benefits. In addition to benefiting colleagues and students, she emphasised the positive impact on the wider community. By fostering collaboration among all partners, the initiative aims to showcase the region’s talent, research, and cultural offerings, firmly placing Nottingham on the cultural map. Bere highlighted the advantages for students, including access to courses and one of the UK’s highest-rated broadcast orchestras. Moreover, research and development opportunities will be available, contributing to the enhancement of facilities. Lastly, the partnership aims to introduce music to local communities where its role may currently be limited, demonstrating how it can improve the quality of life, health, and well-being of individuals.

With the alliance between the BBC Concert Orchestra, the University of Nottingham, and Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham’s music landscape is set to flourish, with increased educational opportunities, vibrant community engagement, and enhanced cultural offerings on the horizon. This dynamic collaboration promises to shape a harmonious future for all involved.