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Interview with Robin Osterley – Chief Executive of Making Music

Reverb Festival 2012 – Voices Now
Sun 4 March at Roundhouse, Camden
voicesnow.org.uk #voicesnow

My name is Robin Osterley, I am Chief Executive of an organisation called Making Music. Making Music looks after amateur groups around the country, so if you’re a member of a choir, a samba band, a gospel group or something there’s a good chance that your group will be a member of Making Music.

We’ve been very heavily involved in the Voices Now part of the Reverb festival which takes place on the last day, on the Sunday and it’s been very exciting for us because it’s an opportunity to showcase all the various different types of singing that our members can get up to and we’re very proud and pleased to have been involved in it.

One of the greatest things about Reverb is its ability to make classical cool. I happen to think classical music is cool anyway but there’s a lot of people out there that don’t and I think Reverb’s job is to show them how mistaken they are. That’s actually plenty of ways you can present classical music which aren’t in the least bit stuffy, there are plenty of types of classical music which aren’t in the least bit stuffy which really do have a tremendous amount of appeal, including to young people. So what I think is so exciting about Reverb is its conscious attempt and ability to break those barriers down and to make sure that, especially for young people, classical can be shown off in all its glory rather than presented as a kind of stuffy, elitist thing.

Voices Now is not just a night, it’s a whole day activity, and that’s what’s really exciting about it, that you can drop in and drop out, it’s completely free to come, you don’t even have to acquire a ticket, you can just literally walk in and that means that you can pick and choose, if there’s an event on that doesn’t take your fancy you can go to another one instead, or you can move on and go somewhere else and come back a bit later, it really is a kind of pick and mix type of activity and there will be literally every conceivable type of choir performing. We have Georgian choirs, we have classical music choirs, we have youth choirs, we have amateur choirs, we have professional choirs like BBC Singers, I mean I know this is an overused phrase but there really is something for everyone. And it’s just a question of being able to go in and drop and drop out and I don’t think that something that has ever been done before for choral music and it’s something that we’re really excited about.