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The Bickershaw Programme: Neophonic Orchestra.

 By Denae Brook. 
   Neophonic means revived or modernized classical sound. Free translation: new classical music . This is a new orchestra, composed mainly of under twenty five year old graduates from the Royal Academy Of Music . the Royal College and Guildhall, whose extraordinarily young age range is 16 to 28. 
   Formed only two months ago, it is the brainchild  of American businessman Michael Jaffe. Jaffe's father was opera critic for the Journal American, the leading New York arts magazine , so he has been fed classical music since the age of six. Recent involvement with Londonís now extinct Rainbow Theatre brought him in contact with young audiences . His aim is to bring classical music to the public without inundating them with endlessly played front parlour classics. . 
ě The concept is that we play live symphony orchestra music to places that never normally get to hear symphony orchestrasî 
Several months ago he met Royal College graduate Guy Martin , who also wanted to form his own orchestra. Together they have have collected a pool of well over 250 people from whom they draw for different performances. 
   The two conductors are in their early thirties , the oldest members of the group. Each has had experience with long established orchestras before joining the Neophonic . Both have  conducted with the BBC Symphony Orchestra : Roger Norrington has worked with the Royal Scottish, the Irish National and the French National Symphony orchestras, Michael Hamm , once Professor of Conducting at the Guildhall, has twice conducted Requiem Mass at the Albert Hall for the Queen . 
   Within the orchestra is a Bach quartet , a trumpet  quartet and a chamber orchestra. Eighty is the required number of musicians required for a concert  and for the last two months they have been rehearsing with a light show.
  • Front cover
  • Back cover
  • America
  • Brinsley Schwarz
  • Brotherhood of Breath
  • Captain Beefheart
  • Captain Beyond
  • Cheech and Chong
  • Country Joe.
  • Donovan
  • Dr John 
  • Family
  • Flaming Groovies
  • Grateful Dead.
  • Hawkwind
  • Jonathon Kelly
  • Linda Lewis.
  • Incredible String Band
  • Neophonic Orchestra
  • New Riders.
  • Pacific Gas and Electric 
  • Sam Apple Pie
  • Stackridge
  • Al Stewart
  • The Kinks.
  • Joes Lights 

  • Mike Westbrook

       They plan to tour English provincial towns , playing at small halls, churches and out of doors with Joe's Lights , ex -resident  light show of the Fillmore East and Rainbow Theatre , thus adding a visual dimension new to classical music.The programme for Bickershaw will include pieces by Dvorak, Hindfermyuth and Kussivinsky . A Bach trio for cello, viola and violin has been re-orchestrated for a quartet , by cellist Babette Lichtenstein.
       Choice of material is prompted by the desire to promote lesser known composers to  a wider audience of young people who might otherwise never hear such music. It is a brave experiment as there is not much money to be made from symphony orchestras , most of which are subsidized. The Neophonic is financed entirely by Martin and Jaffe , who had to put up 2000 pounds before it could start. Salaries for individual performances run to around ten pounds per musician . Hiring music for rehearsals and performacnes costs about 35 pounds for two months , so they have to build their own library. Bickershaw will probabaly just cover expenses , so next on the schedule after the proposed tour of urban England, is the score for a horror movie.

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    Updated May 2023

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