Local orchestra is shortlisted for music award – Reading Today Online – Reading Today
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Local orchestra is shortlisted for music award – Reading Today Online – Reading Today

The APO will be watching the awards online. Picture: Brenda Geisse via Pixabay.
The Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra (APO) has been shortlisted for an award from Making Music Awards, a UK organisation that champions music in the community.
Its assistant music director, Wokingham resident Mel Le Breuilly, has also been given special mention in the Best Music Director category, for her work leading Reading Youth Orchestra.
The winner will be announced in an online ceremony.
The Aldworth Philarmonic has been recognised for its project, Joy! with composer Derri Lewis, in 2021.
Joy! was commissioned when music making was severely restricted in late 2020.
The orchestra asked Derri to write a piece of music that would give the players something to look forward to once they could return as a full orchestra, and provide a way to keep playing despite separation during Covid restrictions.
He created a chamber version of the music with six individual parts, deliberately chosen so that the covid rule of six could be adhered to.
The parts were written across different ranges, clefs and transpositions so that all players could work on a part suitable for their instrument.
The final element of the project was three miniature solos.
Musical director of APO, Andrew Taylor says:
“We are delighted by the shortlisting, it’s lovely to be recognised.
“It was a super project, and worked really well.
“APO prides itself on its ability to innovate and its desire to commission new music.
“This was a situation where everyone really made the best of a difficult situation.
“In lockdown, when we couldn’t be together, we were still able to connect through the solos that Derri wrote for us.
“He’s lovely to work with, and very flexible – we thought the orchestra couldn’t play during covid, but he made it possible.
“We’ll all be watching online to see if we win the award, but also to celebrate all the music making going on in the UK.”
As restrictions lifted, the orchestra held a day of workshops with different combinations of players booked into slots during the day, recording and sharing their work.
The full orchestral version of Joy! was performed with the miniature solos, played in between the full orchestral programme.
Mel Le Breuilly, APO’s assistant music director, has also been especially mentioned in the ‘Best music director’ category, in recognition of her work with Reading Youth Orchestra.
“Mel is brilliant, there’s no two ways about it,” says Andrew.
“She is an inspirational leader, and is developing a lovely, relaxed community of young people who want to come together and make music, as well as having fun.
“Mel is the perfect person to be taking Reading Youth Orchestra forward.
“She’s approachable, welcoming and a highly skilled musician.
“Everything she does benefits from her positivity, her creativeness and her inspiration.
“We are delighted that she has been nominated for an award.”
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