Student's piece of music to be premiered at DMU orchestra's summer concert

A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student has hit all the right notes with his piece of music being chosen to be performed by DMU’s own orchestra.

Ashley Simons’ compositional skills will be showcased to an eager crowd this weekend at the DMU Music Summer Concert.

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Ashely says he is ‘incredibly proud’ that his original score has been chosen as part of the concert’s musical programme on Sunday (June 10).

The piece titled ‘A Mother’s Prayer’ was developed to portray the emotional bond between a mother and daughter. The score has a rich sense of harmony and fluidity to create a dream-like effect.

The concert in the Grand Hall of St Martins House will feature the phenomenal talent of both the DMU Orchestra and the DMU Chorus. It will have a celebratory feel to it as it takes place at the end of the academic year and in the lead up to DMU’s graduation ceremonies.

Ashley, a final-year Creative Music Technology student, said: “I really tried to create a big orchestral piece that pushed the boundaries.

“I tried to create a dream-like sound effect to tell the story of a child growing up with her mother. I think the audience will be able to relate to the piece.

“It’s one thing writing music with the aid of a computer, but writing a score for real people in a full orchestra was overwhelming and exciting at the same time.”

Ashley, 21, who is from Nottingham, originally wrote ‘A Mother’s Prayer’ – which is just under six minutes long - for the Composing With Dance module as part of his course. He worked alongside third-year Dance student Courtney Ray.

He said being asked to re-work the piece as a traditional orchestra score ‘really pushed me into unknown territory’ but he ‘loved the opportunity.’

Ashley, who plays the guitar, will be at the concert with his family and friends – he said he’ll be ‘nervous but excited’ to hear his piece being performed.

Internationally-renown violinist and conductor Adrian Varela, who is also a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra, will lead the DMU Orchestra.

The Chorus will feature the DMU Chamber Choir, as well as DMU students, staff and singers from the Leicester community.

Other pieces of work to be performed will include DMU’s Graduation Anthem Zadok the Priest (Handel), I Was Glad (Parry), and Symphony No.7 (Beethoven).

Adrian said: “I’m looking forward to this fantastic concert where we celebrate the achievements of DMU students playing side by side with professionals from the renowned Philharmonia Orchestra.

“I am also really looking forward to being able to perform the new work of DMU student Ashley Simons and also classical favourites by Beethoven and Handel.”

Chris Heighton, DMU’s Head of Music, added: “The DMU Orchestra annual summer concert was launched in 2017 with our performance of Beethoven's grand 9th Symphony in collaboration with the DMU Chamber Choir.

“The concert programme has a very celebratory feel and this year's concert will include the first ever performance of DMU's graduation anthem 'Zadok the Priest' and the world premiere of a new work for Orchestra by final year DMU undergraduate student, Ashley Simons.

“The summer concert is an open invitation to all students, members of staff and indeed city audiences to join us as we celebrate success and achievement across the academic year and look forward to graduations.”

The DMU Music Summer Concert is open to the public. It starts at 3pm at the Grand Hall of St. Martins House, 7 Peacock Lane, Leicester.

Tickets are just £5 and can be reserved by emailing music@dmu.ac.uk or purchased on the door on the day, using cash only.

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