A magnet for music

Deborah Chadbourn Executive Director of Music In The Round
Deborah Chadbourn Executive Director of Music In The Round

Sheffield could become a ‘magnet city’ for the music industry if ambitious plans recently unveiled go ahead.

Music in the Round executive director Deborah Chadbourn has been working to drive forward exciting ideas unveiled at the recent launch of a report into Sheffield’s classical music sector.

They include a vision for a medium-sized performance space and a large-scale recording studio for orchestral and other music that could be the biggest of its kind outside London.

That might help to tempt a professional orchestra to be based in Sheffield.

Deborah has already been bringing people together to look at how to make Sheffield a ‘magnet city’ for music.

She said: “I have been inspired by John Ruskin, who said, ‘Thoughts and words are all very well but they do not mean anything without actions’. We need to act on the report’s recommendations.

“The first job is to get people to think about a facility study which can really, truly look at what options are to create something innovative and different from the old models of concert hall and can minimise what they require in terms of public funding.

“We know there is no money out there. How can we come up with something sustainable?”

Deborah said that a composer who moved to Sheffield last year said that there is no big recording studio in the North. The right sort of facility could meet a whole range of needs both in the daytime and evening, she believes.

Sadly, Deborah will not be around to spearhead long-term progress as she has just accepted a job as executive director of London arts organisation Artsadmin.

She has been excited to see how classical musicians have been reaching outside their usual audiences.

Music in the Round have their own big set piece events like next month’s Sheffield Chamber Music Festival, with concerts held mainly in their main base at the Crucible Studio, but they are always looking to branch out.

Deborah said that holding different types of events at venues not linked to music can attract a new audience who might be nervous about going to classical concerts.

“Even if people are going I love that kind of concert, at a concert they’re thinking ‘I don’t fit in there’.The experience can make people feel it’s not quite for them,” she said.

The Showroom will be the venue for a concert during the festival on May 18, with double bass player Laurène Durantel improvising an accompaniment to the film, Man With a Movie Camera.

Dziga Vertov’s 1929 film follows city life in the Soviet Union on a single day.

It’s described as “a celebration of modern life with thriving industries, crowded streets, and intimate, disarming moments of great humour and pathos”.

That links up with Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.

Deborah said: “The majority of the audience will be coming because they’ve seen it in The Showroom brochure and think it sounds interesting.

“We’re creating different ways for people to enjoy the music that is still at the heart of it but it’s a different opportunity that’s really exciting.”

Other events at the festival include music for babies and children, an all-day event in the Winter Garden on Saturday, May 12 and a Sunday Big Sing in Tudor Square with a mass children’s choir.

Programme at www.musicintheround.co.uk