“All I insist on, and nothing else, is that you should show the whole world that you are not afraid. Be silent, if you choose; but when it is necessary, speak and speak in such a way that people will remember it.” — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Since Covid-19, schools have been working overtime to help their children catch up on the core academic subjects, with many having to put access to Arts subjects lower down on their agendas. As a result, there are significant numbers of children who are not accessing any Arts activities at school or being exposed to them through afterschool activities or through their families. This risks a generation of children who have no ‘Cultural Capital’.
JLC’s Cultural Capital Fund was formed as part of its Home-School-Community initiative to seek to ensure children and young people can access the Arts. One Arts organisation which secured a Cultural Capital Fund grant is the The Mozartists.
The Mozartists is a leading musical organisation comprised of professional performers and practitioners who specialise in the works of Mozart. The Mozartists have a worldwide reputation for their fresh and dynamic performances of 18th-century repertoire. Performing on period instruments, or modern replicas, and working with an in-depth knowledge of 18th-century performance practice, these masterful musicians bring the music of Mozart and his contemporaries to vivid and dramatic life. In 2015 the Mozartists established MOZART 250 – a 27 year chronological project looking back 250 years to follow Mozart’s life, works and musical influences.
With support from John Lyon’s Charity, this inspiring classical organisation wanted to bring live classical music to children who might not otherwise have the chance to experience it – and the Mozart 250 Discovery Project was born. School children learn about the childhood Mozart and his music, as well as what life was like in the eighteenth century, and working with The Mozartists’ animateurs and players, devise and perform their own music. Guided by this experienced team of workshop leaders, singers and instrumentalists, children explore the young composer’s world and music and follow in his footsteps to create their own operas, which are showcased in a final performance to their peers, families and communities.
Starting with two class groups in 2015, this project has expanded over the years, and off the back of its grant from the Cultural Capital Fund, The Mozartists worked with over 1200 children across Ealing last year. The project was expanded to incorporate primary and secondary schools, with the MOZART 250 Discovery Project at the core, with additional ‘drop-in’ singing workshops for primary schools, ‘Introduction to Opera’ workshops for secondary schools, and a new range of workshops devised specifically for special needs settings, all inspiring children through Mozart’s composed music.
Yogesh Dattani, Head of Ealing Music Partnership, said: “The opera project delivered by The Mozartists and funded by the Cultural Capital Fund has been a catalyst to accessing pupils with SEND in four mainstream primaries. Opera is out of reach for many of our families, but with John Lyon’s Charity’s support, we have taken opera to our pupils – another significant milestone in our journey of inclusion!”
Joe Cummings, a workshop leader at The Mozartists, said: “The projects allows children the chance to engage, communicate and express themselves through multi art forms (music, dance, theatre, co-creativity). This medium often enables children to engage on a much deeper emotional level than with words/speech.”
For many of the children, these workshops are their first encounter with live classical music and a unique opportunity to experience singers and instruments up close. Throughout the intensive weekly workshops, the children grow in confidence and develop important creative and team-working skills that will help them thrive on and off stage. Here is what a few of the students from Stanhope Primary School had to say:
“It was pretty amazing and the Mozart people are astonishing and very helpful”
“I am really grateful for everything they did. When I performed my solo, I felt a bit nervous at first, but it was such a confidence boost.”
“It’s really inspiring and I hope that other kids will be inspired by Mozart too.”
The Mozartists are committed to continuing to deliver a range of projects to cater for a wide range of school children in Ealing. John Lyon’s Charity is keen to encourage other arts organisations who operate within North and West London to come forward and utilise the Charity’s Cultural Capital Fund offering. JLC hopes to see more inspiring organisation’s such as The Mozartists in schools so that children and young people can experience a wide range of arts opportunities.