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A date for 'classical virgins'

PUBLISHED: 15:33 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:41 29 October 2010

Stephen Pullinger

'Classical virgins' are being encouraged to give it a go as Sea Change Arts second international concert series gets underway at Yarmouth's Hippodrome with the launch of a new scheme and a visit from the Czech Symphony Orchestra.

'Classical virgins' are being encouraged to give it a go as Sea Change Arts second international concert series gets underway at Yarmouth's Hippodrome Circus.

The aim of Sea Change Arts chief executive Joe Mackintosh is to encourage attendance from both complete novices and people who enjoy a little classical music, but who have never ventured to a live performance.

He said: “Live orchestral music is extraordinarily powerful. The musicians provide a tremendous spectacle, bringing to the fore their passion, skill and collaboration, while the music can be intimate or epic, evoking great emotion from tranquility to huge excitement.”

However, he said classical music continued to suffer from a stuffy image with elitist perceptions of wealthy, intellectual audiences, stiff etiquette and fear of complex, inaccessible music.

“The image doesn't really reflect the reality,” said Mr Mackintosh. “A wide variety of people enjoy classical music and 5.5 million people listen to Classic FM each week.

“We want to turn more people on to live performance. Staging the series at the Hippodrome provides a superb, intimate and relaxed venue and we're bringing some of Europe's top musicians to perform some of the most recognisable and evocative classical music.”

The scheme offers first-time classical music attenders seats at £12, and a range of benefits to introduce them both to the music and the concert going experience.

Participants will receive a 'bluffers guide' to classical music and will be invited to a complimentary pre-show drink and introductory talk with former Radio Norfolk presenter Tony Mallion. They will also receive a free concert programme and a voucher to bring a friend for free to the next concert in the series.

The latest concert features the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Libor Pesek. As befits a Czech orchestra, Dvorak's most famous work, Symphony No 9 (New World) features - a piece everyone will recognise, if only from the Hovis advert.

Charlie Siem is the soloist for Max Bruch's Violin Concerto No 1, consistently voted the favourite piece of classical music in Classic FM's Hall of Fame. The programme begins with the Overture to the Bartered Bride by another Czech composer, Smetana.

t Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Yarmouth Hippodrome, February 4, £28-£6, 01493 844172, www.hippodromecircus.co.uk

t Anyone interested in signing up for the Classical Virgins scheme should visit www.seachangearts.org.uk or call on 01493 846550.

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