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“Young Sinfonia Changed My Life"

Posted on 14 February 2019


A composer who began her career with The Glasshouse International Centre for Music’s Young Sinfonia is encouraging other young musicians to join Make Music: Young People, reflecting on how it helped to give her the step onto the ladder she needed. The Glasshouse’s programme for young musicians is for aspiring young musicians aged 4-19 who are passionate about music and enrolment for the 2019 / 20 Young Musicians Programme opens on the 15th February 2019.

Since starting her music training with Young Sinfonia, Newcastle-born composer Anna Appleby, 25, has written for a range of musicians including opera singers and Royal Northern Sinfonia.

“Young Sinfonia changed my life – I’d never been in a professional musical context before, except for going to concerts and playing in school ensembles, and I suddenly realised just how much there was to learn about classical music and that it was all accessible to me. I also made lots of friends who made me feel accepted and confident and like I belonged there.”

Anna was 15 when she joined The Glasshouse’s youth orchestra and after only a year on the programme, Anna became principal oboist, travelling to Sweden and Milan to perform with Young Sinfonia.

“I will never forget how emotional I was when I realised I would be performing on stage at The Glasshouse, let alone on stages abroad and as a principal oboist! Those first concerts made me start taking music more seriously and gave me confidence as a performer.”

Anna went on to study for a Masters in Composition at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester after completing a music degree. Since then, Anna has racked up multiple awards, most recently, she is the recipient of the GDST Trailblazer Award 2018; awarded for her career as a composer so far.

“I don’t think I would have become a composer if it hadn’t been for Young Sinfonia – I remember deciding on my way home from the residential course in Sweden that I had to do music for the rest of my life. I wrote my very first classical compositions for musicians I met through Young Sinfonia.”

The Glasshouse supports families, children and young people from all backgrounds and a large number of bursaries and grants are available for those wishing to join the programme who may not otherwise have the financial means. Many students don’t pay any fees at all, ensuring that all children and young people are able to study music here.

Student Hannah Johnson, aged 15 and from Newcastle, is a pupil on our Centre for Advanced Training (also part of the Make Music: Young People Programme) and attends with the support of a bursary. Hannah’s Dad, Barry, credits the bursary scheme with allowing Hannah’s musical aspiration to flourish, saying: “Without the bursary nothing would have happened. We wouldn’t have been able to afford it.”

Hannah would also like to take a career path within the music industry: “I am now working towards my grade 5 exam and my aim is to reach grade 8 by the time I’m 18.”