Britten: Young Person's Guide App launched(July 2013)
A new iPad App featuring The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra brings Britten's vision of inspiring children to the digital generation.
Benjamin Britten’s vision of introducing children to classical music by using the mass media of the day began in 1946 with a film featuring what became his most famous work, The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. The Britten-Pears Foundation has brought that pioneering idea to the digital age with a creative and fun iPad App.
Developed in partnership with the Royal Northern College of Music and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, the Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra by Benjamin Britten App is designed to introduce a new generation to the orchestra and to the music of Benjamin Britten as part of the global celebrations of the composer’s centenary in 2013.
The Guardian selected the new App as one of its top 20 Apps of the Week and AppShopper wrote: "This app is aimed at 7–11 year olds but will be enjoyed by much younger children and grandparents alike! It is also a great resource for the classroom." BBC Music Magazine described it as "one of the best little orchestra apps for young listeners to emerge this year... a fun introduction to all the different instruments of the orchestra".
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Featuring specially-commissioned illustrations by award-winning artist Sara Fanelli, a specially-recorded complete performance of the The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra from Sir Mark Elder and the Royal Northern College of Music Symphony Orchestra, the app includes creative games, a chance to create music, aural quizzes, information about Britten’s life and the genesis of the work, archive photographs, a copy of pages from Britten’s original manuscript, an interactive score, and unprecedented insight into orchestral instruments and their players. There’s even a light-hearted personality quiz which matches users to instruments of the orchestra.
Richard Jarman, Director of the Britten-Pears Foundation, says:
"In 1946 Britten was in the vanguard of music education with the film Instruments of the Orchestra, which used the most modern technology of the day to introduce children to the orchestra. We started by asking how Britten would have done this if he were alive today and could use our modern technologies. Our answer has been to create an App that will give children and families lots of fun in exploring the orchestra and its instruments. In doing this we ourselves have had lots of fun working with the enthusiastic students of the RNCM and with the wonderful illustrator Sara Fanelli. We hope the result will draw children into Britten’s world."
Helen Lax, Regional Director, East, Arts Council England, says:
"It is fantastic to see digital technology being used so effectively to bring Benjamin Britten’s work to life for new, younger audiences. This is a strong example of how digital technology, which provides an interactive way for audiences to engage with the arts, can make this happen."
The App is a key part of the British Library exhibition Poetry in Sound: The Music of Benjamin Britten (1913–1976), which runs until 15 September in The Folio Society Gallery. The exhibition – which puts the manuscript of Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra on public display for the first time – explores the poetic and literary influences on Britten’s distinctive musical sound world, including his creative collaboration with W H Auden and his settings of texts by such authors as William Blake, Wilfred Owen, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and William Shakespeare. Alongside the App, the exhibition features manuscripts of some of Britten’s most celebrated compositions, photographs, concert programmes, and hitherto unpublished recordings of his music.
A fully-interactive version will become available on the Britten 100 website, www.britten100.org, ensuring that children, families, schools and music-lovers have easy access to it from September 2013.
> Download the full press release from the Britten-Pears Foundation
> Further information on Work: The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
Photo: Sara Fanelli
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