RPO Resound – composing lullabies with young refugee and migrant mothers

In June and July 2017, RPO Resound (the Orchestra’s Community and Education Department) and partners Irene Taylor Trust (ITT) are bringing The Lullaby Project – part of Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections programme – to the UK for the very first time. Based on a model that has achieved success across the United States with a range of partners including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, this UK pilot will work with young refugee and migrant mothers in East London to compose and record personal lullabies for their children.

Over four weeks, a team of RPO and ITT musicians and leaders will visit Praxis Community Projects to work with eight women to devise lyrics, melodies, harmonies and the ‘feel’ they want for their lullaby. The women will be supported to identify and articulate their feelings for their children and express these in a musical way. This creative process aims to strengthen the bond between mother and baby, while also offering a cathartic and non-judgmental avenue to explore their own emotions.

Once ideas have been generated, the women’s instructions will be sent to a professional composer and orchestrated for a small ensemble of RPO players. The RPO sextet will join the women during the final sessions to rehearse, refine and record their resulting lullabies, enabling the women to keep these personal songs forever. Each lullaby will also be performed live in celebratory sharings for the women’s children, family, friends and invited guests on 20 June from 1.30–2pm, and 4 July, 2–2.30pm.

Following completion of this first UK pilot, the partners will next visit a London prison to work with incarcerated fathers whose convictions are causing them to miss out on the formative years of their young children’s lives.

This project is funded by Arts Council England, Swan Mountain Trust and The Lucille Graham Foundation.

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