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An innovative, player-led approach to audience development in Derry~Londonderry.


EO Lab II is a new initiative for the Ulster Orchestra, one of seven orchestras involved in this pan-Europe project, which is led by Ulster Orchestra Managing Director Richard Wigley and supported by the Creative Europe Fund. Project partners include the Czech Philharmonic and the project aims to encourage musicians to develop new audiences for orchestras through community ambassadors. Ulster Orchestra viola players Jonathan Simmance and Philip Walton worked with a number of groups in the Derry~Londonderry area and the project marked the start an exciting new chapter in the relationship between the Orchestra and the city. EO Lab II has spanned all genres of music across the city, ensuring a wide range of new audiences were reached through the project. Activities included
  • Sounds Like A Boy's Life. Local author Tony Doherty worked with Philip Walton to create a soundtrack to accompany readings from his memoirs – Sounds Like a Boy’s Life is full of the sunshine of 60s pop music and was performed first at the Nerve Centre, Derry in November 2017. It subsequently received further performances across 2018 at two gala nights celebrating the EO Lab II project, Derry Cultúrlann, the Greater New Lodge Festival and at the Belfast Feile.
  • Beyond the Walls – Reflections on Civil Rights. Philip Walton worked with singer-songwriters Susie Blue, Reevah, Rebecca Mulhern and Roe to create tracks based on the lives of four women who played key roles in the events of 1968 and the Civil Rights Movement. A recording was made of the songs (to listen on Spotify click here) and performances took place at the Nerve Centre in May 2018, two gala nights celebrating the EO Lab II project and Stendhal Festival, Limavady in August 2018.
  • The Britannia Concert Band celebrated their 150th birthday in 2018 and a specially-composed overture was written by Philip Walton to mark the occasion. This was performed at a gala night celebrating the EO Lab II project.
  • The Celtronic Festival and Studios have long been at the cutting edge of dance music in the North West and Jonathan Simmance worked on a project in collaboration with Celtronic, legendary dance producer Phil Kieran and three fantastic up-and-coming talents in electronic music, Eoin O’Callaghan (Best Boy Grip), Neil Burns (Comrade Hat) and Leon Crockett (Voven). Extracts from the project were performed at two gala nights celebrating the EO Lab II project, a full set with the Ulster Orchestra was performed at the Celtronic Festival in June 2018 and at the Stendhal Festival in August 2018.  
EO Lab II has been a fantastic new experience for the Ulster Orchestra and all its partners in Derry. It’s wonderful to see the projects taking on a life of their own and receive showcases in the 2018 festival season across Northern Ireland, and we look forward to developing these partnerships further in the future.

“It has long been my ambition to connect orchestral musicians directly into society to share inspirational experiences.” Richard Wigley, UO Managing Director


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