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Mozart comes to Stratford as shoppers given symphony surprise

PUBLISHED: 13:07 02 August 2016 | UPDATED: 13:08 02 August 2016

The Aurora Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas Collon, in Westfield Stratford City            Picture: Mark Allan/BBC

The Aurora Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas Collon, in Westfield Stratford City Picture: Mark Allan/BBC

Archant

The sweet sounds of Mozart came to a shopping centre as an orchestra performed a surprise “flash prom”.

Shoppers look on as the orchestra plays Mozart     Picture: BBC/Mark AllanShoppers look on as the orchestra plays Mozart Picture: BBC/Mark Allan

Westfield Stratford City was host to the Aurora Orchestra as they thrilled unsuspecting shoppers with classical music played from memory.

Conductor Nicholas Collon said part of the reason for the visit on Saturday was to show a “huge potential audience” what they are about.

“I love the idea that lots of these people walking past might never have seen an orchestra up-close before, or indeed in any form,” he said.

“It’s such a brilliant thing to be able to take the music we love for people to experience firsthand.”

Shops turned down the music so the orchestra could be heard    Picture: BBC/Mark AllanShops turned down the music so the orchestra could be heard Picture: BBC/Mark Allan

Playing music from Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 – also known as “Jupiter” – the orchestra attracted plenty of attention from their top-floor perch outside Marks & Spencer.

“Crowds gathered before we’d even started and I’ve never seen so many camera phones pointing at us,” principal violist Max Baillie said, adding the reception was “amazing”.

“There was a lot of background noise as you’d expect in a shopping centre, so we had to tank out a bit more than we would normally – but that’s good practice for being heard in the Albert Hall.”

The orchestra was rehearsing for a performance at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday afternoon, and Aurora chief executive John Harte said Stratford was the perfect spot to do it.

“The acoustic in Westfield was surprisingly good and the shops kindly turned down their usual background music for us,” he said.

“One of the best things about the event was seeing so many shoppers come up to our musicians afterwards, feeling able to ask them lots of questions about their instruments and the music they heard.”

He added: “Most of them said they had never set foot in a concert hall, but they loved the Mozart.”


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