Louth Brothers set up Leeds Orchestra Project

Hallam brothers, Richard Frank and Nick...Leeds Town Hall concert story Chris bond
Hallam brothers, Richard Frank and Nick...Leeds Town Hall concert story Chris bond

Three brothers from Louth are hoping to strike a chord by setting up a symphony orchestra.

Richard, Frank and Nick Hallam are setting up the orchestra using the great young talent coming out of music academies.

Now living in Yorkshire, the trio were brought up in Louth and educated at Cordeaux and King Edward schools.

Their Leeds Orchestra Project will include about 80 musicians.

The first concert is set to be held at Leeds Town Hall on February 5.

Richard’s son is a talented cello player and one of the 1,500 or so instrumentalists who graduate each year and then have to do battle for the handful of vacancies in Britain’s orchestras.

Richard said: “They pour their childhood into this one aim of joining the youth orchestra, they then go on to college, but then these fantastic musicians come out and there aren’t any jobs.

“So we thought we’ve got all these talented musicians, if we took the best one or two per cent of this year’s outtake we could form a fantastic orchestra.”

The aim is to give eager, young musicians fresh out of college the opportunity to hone their skills as part of a full-time orchestra based in Leeds.

It will feature about 80 players who will have a contract of up to five years to ensure that the orchestra keeps renewing itself.

Nick said: “The acid test of whether it’s been successful or not will be 10 or 15 years down the road when our musicians are out there in orchestras around the country and across the world.”

“We want this to be a place where musicians develop, so rather than just filling a gap here and there they can actually be in an orchestra and continue their development.”

The Hallam brothers are keen to make classical concerts accessible to a wider audience. “If you pick up a classical season brochure the vast majority will have an overture, concerto and a symphony, and if you go to a concert you will stop talking the moment the leader appears on stage and apart from the music there will be silence until the piece is finished. But we’re not going to do that,” says Nick.

“At times, even for seasoned concert goers, it can be dull if you don’t understand every single piece in the concert. We will be doing a standard classical repertoire, but we were talking with the conductor Garry the other day about working with jazz musicians and folk musicians. So the series of concerts we do will look like nothing else any other orchestra is doing.”

They have spent the past 18 months working on the project and have visited most of the major UK orchestras to canvas their opinion.

Mum Shirley Hallam told the Leader she was very proud of what her sons were doing.