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Mustard video and photo gallery: Beethoven replaces One Direction as number one for Norwich youngsters

11:02 26 February 2013

Elias Quartet working with Sistema in Norwich youngsters during the workshop at Hewett School. Photo: Steve Adams

Elias Quartet working with Sistema in Norwich youngsters during the workshop at Hewett School. Photo: Steve Adams

Beethoven has replaced One Direction on the playlist for Norwich youngsters who were introduced to the classics at a music workshop in the city.

Music students from Larkham and Catton Grove primary schools took part in a workshop with the nationally famous Elias string quartet at the Hewett School yesterday.

The children are part of the Sistema in Norwich project, formerly known as In Harmony, which gives hundreds of four to 11-year-olds the chance to get into music with free lessons and access to instruments in both curriculum time and after school.

As well as performing for the children and answering questions, the quartet looked at part of Beethoven’s G major quartet, one of the pieces it will be playing in its April concert for Norfolk and Norwich Chamber Music, and working towards playing alongside the children.

Donald Grant, a violinist with the Elias quartet, said: “The children have been absolutely brilliant and it’s amazing what they can do. Most importantly they have ben able to see what live music played on a stage looks like. Hopefully, it will inspire them to continue playing music. The Beethoven music they have been learning will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

The young violinists and cellists from the two schools really enjoyed the day, with many stating that Beethoven’s music was now their favourite.

Jade Symmons, 10, from Catton Grove school, said: “It’s the favourite thing I’ve done. I think it’s really fun.”

And Marcine Mbuyu, nine, from Larkman school, said she had become a fan of Beethoven’s work.

“I play the cello and my favourite piece by Beethoven is Ode To Joy. That’s really fun to play. I would like to play it at a party. I also like playing the flute, but I like the cello more,” she said.

Sistema in Norwich programme director Marcus Patteson said: “We thought this was a great opportunity for the children to focus on quartet music, and get a masterless from such inspiring musicians.”

The Sistema project in Norwich currently involves around 120 children across two orchestras.

As reported in yesterday’s Evening News, Joseph Cole, eight, from the Larkman School, is another member of the project. He has already played with the UEA Symphony Orchestra at St Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, and won a music scholarship to the independent Taverham Hall, outside the city, where he starts in April.

In Harmony was launched in Norwich in March 2009, as well as in Liverpool and London.

Each city was given a share of £3m from the Department for Education to set up projects to help children in less well-off communities.

The inspiration for the scheme came from the educational music programme El Sistema, founded in Venezuela 35 years ago.

The publicly-funded South American project was launched to help street children rise out of poverty while producing a fine crop of talented musicians. The project in Norwich is run by Norfolk and Norwich Community Arts, and is supported by famous cellist Julian Lloyd Webber.

Are you taking part in a music project in Norwich? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email

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