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Lloyd Coleman's Dao commission 'Towards Harmony' is premiered by the Paraorchestra to an ovation from the audience / 6 July 2015

On Friday 3rd July at Colston Hall in Bristol the British Paraorchestra rounded off the Fast Forward music festival with an impressive concert. 

By way of introduction the Paraorchestra's founder and conductor Charles Hazlewood announced that Bristol is to be the new home of the orchestra to a roar of appreciation from the audience.

This was an exciting day for the Dao team as the final piece in the programme was the 20 minute long Towards Harmony, commissioned by Dao with funding from Arts Council England and the Britten Pears Foundation.

Extraordinary young composer Lloyd Coleman has video blogged his way throughout the process, giving insight into his methods and the challenges of writing for this eclectic ensemble.

Before the inaugural performance Charles and Lloyd explained to the audience the importance of this first ever commission to write for the Paraorchestra. The fact that the piece is written for Paraorchestra and chamber orchestra supports the ambitions for integration with mainstream  classical orchestras.

Towards Harmony was a highly professional, dynamic and textured performance that places the Paraorchestra as a seriously interesting and innovative collective of music makers. The deep understanding of the group that Lloyd has showed through in the composition as he featured solos for each instrument in a variation on a concerto grosso format.

The Southbank Sinfonia added richness and depth to the piece proving that integrated performance can create stunning results. The piece begins with loud clashing dissonant chords before moving into delicate solos that highlight the diverse instrumentation within the ensemble before building to a finale that reaches harmony both symbolically and musically. 

Towards Harmony received a standing ovation and cheers from the audience. The Big Issue gave the concert a 4 star review saying the piece “moves thrillingly from multi-soloing discord to group resolution – as the Paraorchestra’s first full commission, the symbolism couldn’t be more apt.”

Whilst there are no future performance dates yet confirmed a video about the performance will be released free online by Dao later this summer. In the meantime Lloyd's video blogs can be seen here.

Keywords: classical music,collaborative working,composition,creativity,performing arts