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New Project Combines Folk and Classical Music

  • Date: 29/09/2011
  • Category: General

A pioneering collaboration between a local folk group and the East Midlands’ only professional orchestra as part of Derby Folk Festival will pave the way for a long term project involving more than 180 young people.

Musicians from Derby-based sinfonia ViVA and composer Jack Ross are currently working with Mills and Chimneys folk ensemble which was formed last year to write songs about Derbyshire’s heritage as part of a project that won critical acclaim.

They are bringing together the two different genres of music to incorporate classical music elements into existing Mills and Chimneys songs and to write new work which will be performed during Derby Folk Festival at the Assembly Rooms in Derby on October 8.

With this professional collaboration embedded, musicians from both groups will then start work next spring with more than 180 young people from schools in the city and county. 

They will help them write their own songs, inspired by folk tales and songs from Derbyshire which they will then perform at a public concert in June 2012.

ViVA’s Jack Ross, who has won national acclaim for his composing work with the Orchestra, explained: “This is a very exciting and unusual project as folk and classical musicians never usually get the chance to work together.

“Although both genres of music are very different, folk music has been the inspiration for many classical composers over the centuries and it is the similarities and synergies that we will be exploring through this project.

“We are extremely excited to be working with Mills & Chimneys in the first phase of this collaboration and to be appearing for the first time at Derby Folk Festival.

“Having worked so closely together, we are then looking forward to harnessing the creativity, imagination and raw talent of local school pupils who will be composing and performing their own pieces.”

Fleet Arts have been involved with the Mills and Chimneys project since its emergence as part of the Derbyshire Literature Festival and the collective includes some  musicians who have worked for or used the Fleet Arts facilities for many years. 

Julian Butt, who is part of the six-strong  Mills and Chimneys ensemble, continued: ” It’s really exciting that this project has lead to the collaboration and with such a long established organisation such as sinfonia Viva. 

“I have worked with ViVA through Fleet Arts before and it was a fantastic experience so we are very excited about this collaboration.

“Mills and Chimneys brings together musicians from all sorts of backgrounds and we are looking forward to developing the scope of our work alongside the ViVA players and taking out the work first started during the Derbyshire Literature Festival to involve and inspire more young people with songs and stories from the county.”


Media enquires: Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102/07951 945 665;

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