BBC calls for amateur virtual orchestra

Comedian David Baddiel and the BBC have launched a campaign to create a digital orchestra that will appear on Last Night of the Proms. Amateur musicians aged 16 and up are encouraged to take part by uploading a video of themselves playing The Toreador Song from Bizet’s Carmen.

‘There is something about playing music as an amateur which is brilliant and life-enriching,’ said Baddiel, who is himself a keen piano player. ‘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.’

Once the videos are uploaded the BBC will edit them together into a three-minute montage that will be shown on BBC iPlayer and on big screens at Proms in the Park sites around the UK. Marin Alsop, who visits the UK this summer with São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, will lead the virtual group.

‘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,’ said the conductor.

The virtual orchestra is part of the BBC Get Playing campaign, which aims to inspire amateur music lovers everywhere throughout the summer. Online masterclasses are part of the programme, with James Rhodes (piano), Alison Balsom (trumpet) Evelyn Glennie (percussion) Thomas Gould (violin), Courtney Pine (saxophone) and Nitin Sawhney (guitar) signed up.

Videos must be uploaded by 27 August, and more information is on the BBC Get Playing website.