“Three weeks ago, musicians from the Ulster Orchestra performed a programme of 50 pop-up concerts in and around Belfast to mark the 50th anniversary of the orchestra’s first concert,” writes Alf McCreary in Thursday’s (10/13) Belfast Telegraph (Northern Ireland). “The novel idea was conceived by Richard Wigley, the man appointed managing director of the orchestra in March this year, and represented the fresh outlook and outward approach that he has brought in to turn around the fortunes of the ensemble, which has had a severe financial threat hanging over it for the past two years. Wigley, however, claims no credit for the remarkable success of the pop-up concerts, in which members of the orchestra played in venues ranging from schools to hospitals and in the Belfast Telegraph’s office,” instead crediting musicians and administrators. “As well as this, the full orchestra, under its music director Rafael Payare, played in the Victoria Square Shopping Centre, and also in St Anne’s Cathedral.” Says Wigley, “I spend a lot of time just asking myself, ‘How can the Ulster Orchestra reflect its base in Northern Ireland, in addition to providing the standard classical repertoire, which we already do?’ ”

Posted October 17, 2016