At the Making Music Council meeting in October 2015 a member asked Making Music to facilitate connections abroad. So where can you start?
One starting point is to find a group from whatever city or town your locality in the UK is twinned with. This may bring benefits if your local authority supports exchange initiatives. However, your twin city may be too far away, making exchanges and get-togethers - surely the point of such links - too expensive or difficult to organise.
So if you’re a choir, you could search by country or location on, for instance, www.choirplace.com/choirs, British Choirs on the Net, or American site Choralnet.
For amateur orchestras, there are associations in Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Latvia, Estonia, or the Czech Republic. You may find more national associations through the European Federation of Amateur Orchestras. In some countries amateur, semi-professional and professional orchestras come under one association. My guess is that whoever you contact will be able to find someone to reply in English. Making Music is also happy to help.
There are other ways to broaden your group’s horizons: International Music day (called ‘Music Day UK’ in the UK) takes place every year on 21 June. Originating in France, it is now celebrated in 109 cities across the world with free, accessible and participative music events. You could host one, as Making Music is intending to do again this year, or attend one.
Last, but not least, you could organise a concert tour abroad for your choir or instrumental group. There are plenty of companies out there to help you with that, not least Making Music corporate members Rayburn Tours and One Stage Concert Tours.
Could Making Music help more with this? Should we start keeping a register and contact our foreign equivalents to invite matches for adventure hungry British groups? Tell us what you think.