CBSO & Ninestiles Academy Trust

This season the CBSO began an exciting new partnership with the Ninestiles Academy Trust.

As part of CBSO’s Learning and Participation programme, 250 children from the four primary and three secondary schools of the Ninestiles Academy Trust have been working with CBSO musicians, creative writer Mandy Ross and composer Richard Barnard to develop their own original piece of music inspired by Gustav Holst’s Planet Suite.

Pupils from each participating school focussed on a different planet, and used Holst’s music as the starting point for their own creative response to their chosen planet: Primary School pupils created songs, while the secondary school instrumentalists focussed more on composition and improvisation activities which could be performed by an orchestral ensemble of pupils and CBSO musicians.

The musical ideas generated by each school were recorded and passed to professional composer Richard Barnard, who developed the children’s ideas into a fully formed piece of music while retaining their words and musical ideas.

Mia (Year 7) said: “I love the CBSO! I have been to loads of their concerts with my parents since I was really young. It was like meeting my heroes and it was amazing that I actually got to work with them!”

Macey (Year 10) said: “It was a great experience for us to work with a professional orchestra. They have really inspired me to stick at playing the double bass. It was good fun meeting other students across the Trust and working with them to create this performance. I have loved every minute of it.”

Ninestiles Le 2.

Bryony Morrison, CBSO violinist, who has been leading the primary school element of this project, said:

“Through this project, I’ve not only seen these young people progress as singers and instrumentalists, but I’ve also seen them make learning their own by creating something that is entirely theirs. I know that they will take the confidence they have gained and the lessons they have learnt back into their classrooms."

“For every sound you hear this evening, there will be a child on this stage who is able to say, ‘that was my idea’, ‘this was my choice’, ‘here is my tune’, ‘those are my words’. This is their city, their world class concert hall, and this is their music and their voices deserve to be heard!”

Ninestiles Le 1.

Martyn Collin, Deputy CEO of Ninestiles Academy Trust said:

“To perform at Symphony Hall with a world-famous orchestra is a once in a lifetime opportunity which the children are very excited about – and one we are honoured to be part of."

"To work with elite performers has given so many of the children confidence and aspirations, in addition to increased social skills from mixing with pupils older than themselves.  It has been a privilege to work with the CBSO and to see the inspiration the students have taken from working with classical music and with other students within the trust."

Throughout the summer term CBSO vocal leaders and musicians have been working with pupils to learn the new piece, providing vocal workshops, instrumental sectional rehearsals and full orchestral rehearsals in readiness for the world premiere of their new work, which took place at Symphony Hall on Thursday.

Conducted by David Lawrence, CBSO Chorus Associate Conductor, the concert provided a unique opportunity for pupils from the seven participating schools to perform alongside a seven piece CBSO ensemble, and their peers to an audience of friends, family and staff, governors and trustees from the Ninestiles Academy Trust.

This project has provided the children involved with a broad range of opportunities and experiences, and the activities have clearly had quite an impact on the participants.

We hope that this will be the first of many such projects with the Ninestiles Academy Trust, and if you know a school who would be interested in working with the CBSO’s Learning & Participation team please contact for more information.