Academy joins BBC for Get Playing Virtual Orchestra

-Posted on 24.05.2016

Calling all music lovers and musicians! Now is your chance to pick up an instrument, and be part of the BBC’s world famous Last Night of the Proms celebrations.

Today, Tuesday 24th May, BBC Music launches its online ‘virtual orchestra’ – and it needs players.

Amateur musicians, lapsed players and anyone over 16 who loves music is urged to log on, tune up and get playing for the chance to feature in a unique digital performance which will be part of the Last Night of the Proms on Saturday 10th September. To join in, they will need to upload a short video of themselves playing The Toreador Song from Bizet’s opera Carmen to the BBC Get Playing website by Saturday 27th August. A wide range of instruments are welcome. The BBC will then edit the videos into a spectacular three-minute performance which will be shown on BBC iPlayer and Big Screens at Proms in the Park around the UK.

The BBC Get Playing virtual orchestra will be led by the celebrated conductor Marin Alsop and features musicians from the Royal Academy of Music. Marin Alsop most recently conducted the Academy’s Symphony Orchestra in an acclaimed performance of Britten’s War Requiem at the Royal Festival Hall, presented in collaboration with National Youth Choir of Great Britain and Voicelab Children’s Choir.

The ambassador for BBC Get Playing is comedian David Baddiel, who is a keen piano player and who will be adding his performance to the BBC Get Playing virtual orchestra. He says:  “There is something about playing music as an amateur which is brilliant and life enriching. This is a unique opportunity to be part of something amazing on the biggest night in the classical music calendar, and I hope that everybody will feel able to have a go and join in the fun.”

Conductor Marin Alsop says: “For me it’s incredibly important to support amateur musicians because music is a way to connect, communicate, transcend barriers, transcend differences and perhaps it’s a way to promote tolerance and peace in a world that desperately needs it.”

Anyone who wants help brushing up their playing or learning a new instrument can turn to Get Playing’s partners Making Music, Music For All and ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music), who are arranging public practice events during the Summer, free instrument lessons, helpful support videos and online tips.

The virtual orchestra is part of the BBC Get Playing campaign, which aims to inspire amateur music lovers everywhere throughout the summer. 

A host of BBC presenters have pledged to support the campaign this Summer. The BBC is also providing six special online masterclasses with some of the world’s greatest musicians including Academy alumni Evelyn Glennie (percussion) and Thomas Gould (violin), along with James Rhodes (piano), Alison Balsom (trumpet), Courtney Pine (saxophone) and Nitin Sawhney (guitar).

For further information on how to upload to the BBC Get Playing virtual orchestra visit

Picture: David Baddiel will be joining the BBC Get Playing Virtual Orchestra

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