Contemporary music masterclass

DJ Switch (aka Anthony Culverwell) performing with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Selkirk
DJ Switch (aka Anthony Culverwell) performing with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Selkirk

High school pupils in the region have been introduced to the world of contemporary music that blends DJ turntable skills with a classical orchestra.

The Masterworks initiative involved Scottish Chamber Orchestra musicians working with pupils from Eyemouth, Kelso, Jedburgh, Galashiels and Hawick high schools to develop their composition skills and create original works. The project has support from the Youth Music Initiative, funded by Creative Scotland and managed by SBC and Live Borders.

The school visits were topped off by a concert performance of Gabriel Prokofiev’s Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra for over 150 pupils in Victoria Halls, Selkirk.

Gabriel Prokofiev is a London-based composer, producer, DJ and founder of the record label and club night, NONCLASSICAL. The grandson of Sergei Prokofiev, his compositions are a fusion of electronic and classical music.

During the concert, DJ Switch (aka Anthony Culverwell, an award winning British DJ and turntablist) played turntables alongside a traditional orchestra, scratching, sampling and manipulating the orchestral sounds.

The performance also included an introduction and guided visual presentation by one of the UK’s leading composers and animateurs, Rachel Leach.

For the past 15 years, Rachel has been a central part of the London Symphony Orchestra’s education team, devising and delivering creative music projects to a huge range of people both nationally and internationally.

SCO Connect director, Kirsteen Davidson Kelly, said: “SCO musicians had a fantastic time working with the students in the Borders. The students’ creative responses to this year’s Masterwork were original, fresh and inspiring and we were thrilled to work with expert presenter Rachel Leach to bring Gabriel Prokofiev’s music to life.”

SBC councillor Vicky Davidson added: “It has been a real pleasure having the Scottish Chamber Orchestra visit the Borders again to work with our young people.

“The Masterworks project has provided the opportunity for pupils to work alongside professional musicians, to see an orchestra live, to carry out creative group composition and engage with orchestral repertoire.”