The LBO's way to Kerkrade

Source: UNICEF

The last few years for the LBO were already guided by the motto “Our way to Kerkrade“. These years were marked with personal and musical highlights such as the WASBE conference in San José California in 2015 and the European Championship for Wind Orchestras last year in Utrecht. This year in Kerkrade the WMC (the World Championship for Wind Orchestras) will take place, in which, every four years, the world’s best wind orchestras compete with one another.

Musically speaking, preparing for the WMC (where the LBO successfully took part in 2005 and 2009 with their Conductor-in-Chief at the time, Isabelle Ruf-Weber and will now compete for the first time with their current Conductor-in Chief Björn Bus) has always been a challenge. Participation demands special (preferably recently-composed) works for the genre, prepared to the highest level and with a pinch of that “extra something“. The special instruments required need to be found, solo parts organised and the orchestral line-up finalised. Logistical and financial aspects also need to be organised and, of course, the programme practised and rehearsed.

The WMC’s search for the X-Factor

This year an additional challenge awaits the orchestras invited to participate in the concert division of the WMC: the X-Factor! In order to accommodate society’s shift in focus towards an entertainment experience, new ways are to be found in order to make sophisticated music accessible for an audience. That is why a sizeable change in the rules of the concert division was undertaken. There is no longer a set piece, allowing for more room for creativity. Communication with the audience has become a more important factor in the evaluation, without neglecting the importance of musical interpretation. Some changes have also been made to the line-up of the panel of judges in order to reflect this change of focus: the panel now comprises of a jury president, a renowned wind orchestra conductor, a symphonic conductor, a composer, a wind soloist and a director or producer of the theatre, musical or opera world, each of whom should judge according to his or her particular field of expertise.

Naturally the music, its implementation and related categories, such as choice of programme, interpretation, emotional substance, innovation and the coherence of the overall performance remain of utmost importance. Although the production should aim to serve the musical performance, introducing and evaluating extra-musical elements such as text, pictures, dance, theatre, props and stage technology provide a whole new dimension to the overall planning.

Source: UNICEF

Hence, early on, a planning committee was founded in which interested volunteers put their heads together to come up with a concept for the WMC. It soon became clear that the competition programme should form a themed concert structured around the main work, „The Gardens of the Hesperides“ by José Suñer Oriola, a work based on one of the ancient Greek Herakles narratives, telling a tale of treason, violence and flight.

All that remained was to make a reference to our current times. Alongside Oriola’s Gardens of the Hesperides, Carl Nielsen’s work “Pan and Syrinx” tell the tales of children in need, who experience terrible things all over the world, live with violence and poverty, lose their homes, suffer war, distress, expulsion and flight but who also, with the help of music, manage to wage the leap into a new life. This is a project that lies close to the LBOs heart and the LBO is delighted to be able to work together with and profit from the co-operation with the children’s charity UNICEF.

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