London under the musical microscope

Organisers get set for next month’s Music Around festival

London has had its fair share in the spotlight this year. First came the Olympics, then the Paralympics and now the city’s music will be in focus at Music Around in October.

It is the sixth time that Denmark and Sweden have joined forces to bring classical, orchestral and chamber music to the Øresund region. And since its beginnings, the biennial Music Around has become Scandinavia’s biggest classical music festival.

Martin Martinsson, the managing director of Musik i Syd, said he expected a total of 25,000 people to attend concerts during the 12-day festival. While some guests will attend as many of the 50-scheduled shows as possible, others will pick and choose their favourite events.

Some of the festival’s highlights, according to Martinsson, include London Sinfonietta, Academy of Ancient Music and the BBC Singers, as well as performances from acclaimed ensembles in the region. Martinsson said the line-up gave music-lovers an opportunity to see some of England’s best classical outfits.

“Audiences can expect to see some world-class ensembles playing high quality music that is not often performed,” he said. “It’s rare that they perform in our region so it’s very special. And they’re not only doing one performance, they are doing three.”

The festival will tour three cities in the region – Malmö, Copenhagen and Helsingborg – bringing cultural and economic benefits to each of stops. With a focus on London, the programme also aims to highlight locally-sourced talent, as well as emphasising the strong cultural link between the Oresund region and England.

“It’s important that by showcasing the music here, people living in the Oresund region will become aware of the rich variety of classical music, musicians, ensembles and performance halls on offer in this area,” Martinsson said.

The performers themselves have also made a contribution to the programme, with many of them selecting what London-inspired music they would play. Some of the pieces were composed in London, while others were performed in London or simply depict the famous city. “Most of the orchestras have each brought something different to the festival. Something that says, ‘this is the music we believe in’,” said Martinsson.

Celebrating music from the Renaissance and the Baroque, to classics from the turn of the century and contemporary music, the programme aims to appeal to a wide range of age groups and musical tastes.

And by adopting London – a city that is commonly featured in television shows, films and popular culture – as the central theme, the event could convert another generation to classical music.

Music Around, is a collaborative effort between Musik i Syd, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, the Copenhagen Phil and the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra.

Music Around
October 3-14
Various locations in the Øresund region
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