MAKING NEW MUSIC
Mark Withers leads groups across all areas of the community in small and large scale creations. These pieces are not written by Mark, rather he brings together the ideas of all of those taking part to put together pieces that take both experienced musicians and newcomers into a new, exciting and shared musical form.
Boras with the Aix Festival brought together immigrant communities from Marseille with members of the LSO and was based on traditional lullabies from the Comoros Islands. Also for Aix, Ouvertures, with saxophonist Raphaël Imbert, combined brass bands, orchestras, choirs and a team of young professional musicians in an outdoor spectacular at the opening of the 2016 Festival.
With members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and school pupils from London and Oxford, Mark has built small and large scale pieces in Creation and Sleeping Sense, working alongside scientists from Oxford University.
Running annually from 2016 to 2019, Comp'ose saw Mark and the musicians of the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris have music created for them by participants from all walks of life in the Paris area.
In January 2020, the Orchestra de Chambre de Lausanne commissioned Mark to create film soundtracks with local school pupils to celebrate the Youth Winter Olympic Games.
Below are 3 short documentary films made about recent projects in France that give a flavour not just of the outcome of these projects, but also of the team work that goes in to making them happen.
"I have learnt so much from Mark, not least that music and science in parallel can inspire, excite and empower young minds in ways that can't be done if they are considered separately. His enthusiasm, creativity and humour inspire those around him." - Professor Russell Foster, CBE, FRSB, FMedSci, FRS.
FESTIVAL D'AIX. THE JUNIOR ORCHESTRA
The Junior Orchestra with members of the London Symphony Orchestra at the Festival d'Aix. This programme formed a part of the LSO's residence at the Aix Festival and was designed to bring creativity and the skills of some of the worlds finest orchestral musicians to young players at all levels, from beginners to advanced students.
The orchestra rehearsed and performed specially commissioned arrangements of orchestral music from the Festival repertoire as well as creating its own new works, notably a series of scores for silent movies by the likes of Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton.
Large scale community creations include Frankenstein with singers from Accentus and members of Insula Orchestra. This piece, made with librestist Violaine Fournier, brought together nearly 200 participants. They devised work together over a period of 9 months, leading to a performance of Frankenstein, an hour long oratorio for soloists, choir and orchestra in the magnificent auditorium of the Seine Musicale in May 2018.
Exciting new pieces are always in the making and Mark is currently developing new collaborations with the London Symphony Orchestra and Insula Orchestra, bringing together artists from these ensembles in a dynamic partnership with the communities that they serve.
For more information, get in touch with Mark by email at