Paul McCreesh On Gabrieli Roar

The idea is a very simple one: to get young teenagers to sing and to engage with choral masterpieces.

I am a great believer in the talents of young people. My firm belief that the higher one sets the bar, the higher young people jump has been entirely substantiated by the incredible achievements made by the young singers participating in our projects. They have demonstrated that the barrier between young and old, professional and amateur is indeed a largely artificial one.

I believe that we have a great obligation to ensure that we don’t neglect the talent of the next generation. The development of Gabrieli Roar is not simply geared towards training the next generation of professional musicians; I am equally concerned with developing and inspiring tomorrow’s audiences. Where I can, I want to give these young people an appreciation of this wonderful art and to add in some small part to their experience of all that life has to offer. I hope we will be able to offer some young people life-changing experiences which will inculcate a real, life-long passion for choral repertoire, and music in general.

It is not just young people that learn and benefit from Gabrieli Roar’s collaborative projects. The professional musicians that sing alongside them really embrace these projects, for which I’m truly grateful. They give of themselves 100% both musically and personally, entirely immersing themselves in a spirit of teamwork and mutual discovery. I know that many of the professional musicians involved in Gabrieli Roar projects find them to be truly moving experiences, projects that they will never forget: that is the most wonderful accolade.

I think we have to address our approach to core culture. In a fast-moving world, with its emphasis on instant entertainment, the importance of the fine arts becomes threatened: cultural languages, be it art or music, take time to assimilate; this is a world apart from the general pace of modern life. I fear that too many young people have no exposure to this culture. Obviously, I remain pragmatic: not everyone in the world wants to sing a major oratorio – that’s fine, but it breaks my heart that there are people out there who do want to experience something like this and are not given the opportunity.