Celebrities Brian Blessed and Rory Bremner are participating in a Kickstarter campaign which aims to introduce children to classical music through a new version of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.
After a mooted deal with EMI last year fell through due to EMI’s takeover by Universal Music, the project’s creator, Matt Parry, has turned to crowd-funding website Kickstarter to complete the project.
The campaign lets supporters pre-order a graphic novel, buy signed copies of the CD and purchase exclusive ring tones of Brian Blessed and Rory Bremner delivering lines from the script.
An independently produced CD entitled ‘Sheherazade’, starring Brian Blessed and Rory Bremner, was picked up by EMI Classics in September 2011, says project co-ordinator Matt Parry, to be developed into a multiple album series accompanied by graphic novels and a digital app, as a flagship product to engage children with classical music. However the project was shelved in June 2012 with the expected takeover by Universal Music causing budget freezes and changes of personnel at EMI.
With the crowd-funding website Kickstarter launched in the UK in October 2012 this project is now the subject of one of its campaigns, and through helping to publicise it on Twitter and Facebook, both Blessed and Bemner hope enough funds can be raised to independently develop the project further.
This project is live on Kickstarter now and runs until 14 April 2013, with an initial target of £9,000 for the first stage of its development into a digital musical ebook. Further plans include an interactive educational website and app, children’s workshops and live orchestral concerts, all under the umbrella title of ‘The Opus Pocus’.
Project co-ordinator Matt Parry: ‘As a music teacher I’m always looking for new ways to instil a love of classical music in young people. I conceived this idea whilst a student at the Royal Academy of Music and was thrilled to get the project into development with EMI, and equally disappointed that it was shelved there as the result of a corporate takeover.
‘Kickstarter however could prove to be an exciting opportunity for this project, and could provide another example of the flourishing alternatives to the major record labels and publishers now available for creative entrepreneurs like myself to develop new ideas in this digitally interconnected age.’
Rory Bremner said: ‘I loved being involved with this project – its new creative approach to engage children with classical music was inspired, and it was a shame things fell through with EMI. But this campaign on Kickstarter will hopefully let this project pick up where it left off there and continue its development into something that could become a kind of ‘Peter and the Wolf’ for a new generation.’
Brian Blessed said: ‘The script for the original CD had me chuckling from start to finish, but I was also struck by how original the whole concept was in introducing classical music to children, and very interested in seeing it being developed further. In the spirit of all great adventures we must always move onwards, and Kickstarter appears to have opened up a new path for this creative adventure to proceed.’