In addition to its concert series Turner Sims is an innovator and provider of education and outreach work.
With support from funders including Creative Partnerships, the Golsoncott Foundation, Find Your Talent-PUSH and Youth Music, Turner Sims has created, driven and facilitated numerous projects. These have both taken music and artists to schools and community settings across Southampton and beyond. They have also enabled Turner Sims to introduce initiatives which bring young people to the venue to perform alongside leading names, including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and London Mozart Players, recorder player Piers Adams and saxophonists Courtney Pine and Soweto Kinch. Turner Sims was one of the first key venue partners for the Prince of Wales Foundation for Children and the Arts, reaching 4,000 children in each year of a two-year project from 2005-2007. In addition to its artistic programme and outreach activity Turner Sims is regularly used by a variety of community groups and schools for rehearsals, concerts and presentations.
Outreach work is integral to our Jazz@TurnerSims concert strand, particularly with Southampton Youth Jazz Orchestra (SYJO). Every year SYJO is given the opportunity to work alongside a leading jazz artist on a specially created programme. In recent years the group has worked with Julian Joseph, Denys Baptiste, Guy Barker and Andy Sheppard on a range of new repertoire and jazz standards. In 2009, SYJO performed with Portico Quartet in Turner Sims-commissioned big band versions of the group’s Mercury Music Prize-nominated album. 2009-10 saw significant investment in jazz promotion thanks to ACE funding via its Rendezvous scheme.
The outreach aspect of the Turner Sims audience development programme complements the promoted events by giving audiences the opportunity to learn more about the artists, music and styles that Turner Sims presents. It includes these strands:
• Discovery sessions are our pre-concert talks, post-concert ‘meet the artist’ sessions, and discovery days that provide a more in-depth understanding of the music in the concert programme. These involve leading experts in the particular subject areas as well as interviews with key performers. Pre-concert and Discovery session topics have include the music of Mark Antony Turnage (2000), an American Music Exploration Day (2002); the music of Tippett and the music of Dvorak (both 2005), and The State of British Music (2009), Discovering Beethoven and Discovering Britten (both 2013) and . Contributors have included composers David Matthews, John Woolrich, Tansy Davies and Paul Patterson as well as performers Mark Padmore, Pekka Kuusisto, Paul Lewis and the Maggini Quartet. Away from the classical series we have introduced occasional pre-concert talks for our world music and jazz strands with speakers including guitarist Eduardo Niebla, tabla player Sanju Sahai, pianist Alexander Hawkins and saxophonist John Surman.
• Creative performance projects give participants the opportunity to work with professional musicians by providing them with experiences that they would not otherwise have access to, culminating in a performance. Over the past 15 years we have brought together young recorder players from schools across Southampton to work alongside leading musicians in a Recorder Extravaganza. These events have been inspirational occasions both for the young people and their teachers, offering positive and very different experiences to the regular school music activities. Professional performers who have worked with young people as part of the initiative include early music group Joglaresa, folk group the New Scorpion Band, orchestra the London Mozart Players, and recorder specialists Piers Adams, Jill Kemp, I Flautisti and Fontanella.
• Creative workshop projects – Tailored events in schools and community facilities which take music out of Turner Sims either for one-off visits or a series of events. In 2009 Turner Sims worked with Find Your Talent-PUSH and jazz collective Tomorrow’s Warriors to deliver a series of workshops in a local Sure Start centre for under 5’s and their parents/carers whilst the Youth Music supported project
• Major one-off projects that celebrate a particular anniversary or theme. The Sea (2003) and Mozart in Millbrook (2006) were both co-ordinated with the London Mozart Players. Each involved a composer and the orchestra working with local schools to create a piece of music inspired by a local theme.
Southampton’s Musical Alphabet
(SMA) was Southampton’s contribution to the UK-wide Music Nation weekend, one of a select group of “countdown” events for the London 2012 Festival. It took place on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 March 2012. Devised and produced by Turner Sims (TS) SMA had one overriding aim: to celebrate through music the international dimension of the Games in a hugely diverse city. Some 70 languages are spoken in Southampton schools and through its maritime, cruise ship and other transport links the city has welcomed visitors to the UK for centuries but is also one of the country’s key gateways to the world. The 26-hour extravaganza ran from 10am-10pm on each day, launching a new letter of the alphabet in each hour (A for African drumming, B for bellringing etc) and featured concerts, workshops, drop-in sessions and participatory activity. 52 events took place over the weekend in 23 venues and unusual locations across the city. More than 500 performers were involved ranging from internationally renowned soloists (including violinist Chloë Hanslip, who performed with Southampton Youth Orchestra, pianist Julian Joseph, and the Brodsky Quartet) to semi-professionals, amateurs and local children. The wide range of music, chamber to orchestral, jazz, world and folk, included three world premieres: a fanfare for marching band to open the weekend; a song for children’s choir composed by a student from Solent University in response to a specially devised competition; and a work for massed saxophones and percussion composed by saxophonist Rob Buckland from the Equivox Trio. In 2013 the project was shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the Audiences and Engagement Category.
The Britten Stream
The Britten Stream (TBS) was born out of a desire to mark the Benjamin Britten centenary in 2013 with a participatory project which not only contributed to a national initiative – Aldeburgh Music’s Friday Afternoons – but had a relevance and resonance for local people, particularly children. Working with Music Education Hubs in Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton (the first time the Hubs had ever collaborated on a creative project) Turner Sims (TS) devised a project which engaged thousands of children across the region and told the story of three links between Britten and the South coast. A final mass participation event took place at TS on Britten’s birthday (22 November 2013). Hosted by pianist and broadcaster David Owen Norris and streamed live to a global audience the event brought together young people from across the region: 300 children from 13 schools sang in TS and an estimated 9,000 children joined the performance online, singing the songs they had learnt. The three commissioned films were also premiered.
Brookfield Soundscape Project
As part of Turner Sims’ 40th anniversary celebrations in 2014-15 we are working with a range of partners to deliver The Brookfield Soundscape. Inspired by the famed acoustic properties of the venue TS, jazz collective Tomorrow’s Warriors (a TS Associate Artist) and Brookfield School have devised a series of events and activities which explore sound in its widest context: from introductions to instruments, musical forms and pieces through workshops and concerts to understanding how sound works through science, accessing ‘invisible’ music via satellites, and celebrating language through creative writing and performance poetry.