Jo Towler explains how promoter, Music in the Round, is bringing musical and cultural fusion to Sheffield.
Music in the Round recently led a crosscultural collaboration between our Bridge Quartet, tabla virtuoso Kuljit Bhamra MBE, and 50 players from Sheffield Music Hub’s Senior Orchestra.
As a promoter, Music in the Round brings people closer to music, whether that’s in the concert environment or at our learning and participation events. We are embedded within the musical life of Sheffield and South Yorkshire, regularly collaborating with the region’s four Music Hubs and with Sheffield Music Academy. We also work with other local ensembles and choirs through Classical Sheffield, a network of 70 classical groups in the area.
Part of Sheffield’s city-wide Classical Weekend festival, our cross-cultural collaboration featured the world premiere of Dervish, Kuljit Bhamra’s piece commissioned for tabla and string quartet written especially for the occasion, alongside other works for orchestra and tabla. Music in the Round undertook a project in Sheffield schools with Kuljit a few years previously, but this was a wonderful opportunity to maximise what he could offer, working with young people as well as showcasing the tabla.
The hour-long concert was performed twice to capacity audiences at Kelham Island Museum, 18% of whom self-reported never having been to a classical concert before.
It was a unique chance for the Music Hub orchestra to play in a genre-busting event with a virtuoso instrumentalist from a non-Western music background. This event was also the perfect occasion to feature the four string players in Music in the Round’s Bridge Quartet scheme for nurturing emerging ethnic minority musicians.
Working on a brand new commission especially for the concert with Kuljit was a fabulous experience for everyone involved. The hour-long concert was performed twice to capacity audiences at Kelham Island Museum, 18% of whom self-reported never having been to a classical concert before. Professional and young musicians alike praised the amazing experience of playing together, and audiences enjoyed the presentation in an unusual performance space. We look forward to working again with Kuljit in the future.