Last year, the youth-friendly Discovery Ensemble chamber orchestraâ€™s introductory workshops to classical music and free concerts in Dorchester were so enthusiastically received that the group will be welcomed back for new programming here next week.
Â â€œWe are passionate about helping kids connect with and love classical music,â€ exclaims Belfast, Northern Ireland-born Courtney Lewis, founder and music director of the ensemble that consists of 40 young professional musicians.
Â In recent seasons the 24-year-old Â Lewis has conducted the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Tulsa Symphony, Liverpool Mozart Orchestra, andÂ St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
Â â€œFour times a yearÂ we give interactive workshops in schools, followed by a childrenâ€™s concert in the local community and then a public concert for a broader audience in Boston,â€ Lewis said. â€œTheÂ workshops dispel the myth that classical music is boring and only for old people. The kids at the workshops then come to the concert feeling invested in what is happening, which opens the door to a life enriched by music.â€
On Tuesday and Wednesday (April 21-22)Â workshops were held at the Columbia Campus of the John Paul II Catholic Academy. On Thursday, April 30, there will be a free one-hour concert open to all ages at the Strand Theatre starting at 10 a.m. On Monday evening, May 4, the chamber orchestra will play at Sanders Theatre at Harvard University.
Lewis knows just how to pick and present classical works with exciting rhythms and catchy melodies. Thursdayâ€™s lively concert will feature Â music from Ligetiâ€™s electrifying â€œRomanian Concerto,â€ Stravinskyâ€™s â€œPulcinella,â€ Â and Beethovenâ€™s effervescent â€œSymphony No. 8.â€ Â
â€œEveryone in the audience will be involved in understanding this incredible music,â€ Lewis promises.
In January of this year, Matthew Guerrieri of the Boston Globe praisedÂ Discovery Ensembleâ€™s â€œwarm, generous soundâ€ and Lewisâ€™ own Â â€œbig, busy conducting style, with large-scale gestures and a steady stream of physicalized detail.â€Â Younger audiences seem to Â love the Q & A sessions with instrumentalists after the concert.
To sample the groupâ€™sÂ music and learn more, log on to discoveryensemble.org.Â