The Orchestral Decathlon


We caught up with composer and Southampton University alumni Craig Lawton ahead of the Orchestral Decathlon this weekend, so he could explain a bit more about his and Paul Ingram’s great project for Comic Relief….

“Why are we doing this!” Paul and I ask each other this on a daily basis. I always have the opening line from Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius in my mind; ‘We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams’ – this rings very true for me. Paul and I love coming up with musical projects; to make music; and to make a difference for people – whether that comes in the form of bringing new music to an audience, allowing an ‘upcoming’ soloist to perform or, in the case of the third marathon project for Comic Relief, fundraising for a charity that changes lives.

We are both thrilled to be returning to Turner Sims for the third musical marathon supporting Comic Relief. Turner Sims has been and continues to be an important part of our musical past, present and hopefully after this event – future!

The Haydathon was a ridiculous idea to be honest, 104 symphonies in three days – right! That made people laugh literally out loud when we told them. We did it. Beethovathon – less works, more difficult and some intense playing. People laughed again though less so as they knew we could do it – and we did. Orchestral Decathlon – well, I think people laughed because we they couldn’t believe we were at it again! I guess that it’s really, the music is not funny, far from it, the idea of a concert is not funny, but telling people about what we’re doing makes people smile and want to be a part of it because they know it will be fun and is for a good cause.

We decided to break from another ‘composer’ marathon and go for a set of works that are very popular and well known. We felt another day of just one composer would be too exclusive. We want to make a good amount for Comic Relied and for that we need bigger audiences, we tried to choose 10 works by 10 great composers; works that are suitable for all ages and tastes, are fun and engaging to listen and watch. There are some fab works throughout the day including two piano concertos – we were keen to include something for the piano knowing supporters of Turner Sims will love to hear it played.

For more details, including how to book your ticket please click here


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