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Classical Music Rocks concert at St Nicholas’ Chapel in King’s Lynn with the Flauguissimo Duo

When was the last time you saw someone under the age of 60 attend a classical music concert? If your answer was never, then your experience is, sadly, not uncommon.

In his recent collection of essays, The Future of Classical Music, ‘Arts innovator’, David Taylor cites that adding value to the classical concert experience would encourage younger audiences, more so than cheaper ticket schemes. If the stereotype that classical music is ‘boring’ and only for ‘old people’ holds with the next generation, then Taylor could be on to something.

This is something that the musicians of local children’s charity, Classical Music Rocks, face every day in their mission to deliver accessible school sessions and community concerts to the people of West Norfolk.

Flauguisimo Duo. Picture: Aiga Ozolina
Flauguisimo Duo. Picture: Aiga Ozolina

In anticipation of Classical Music Rocks’ next concert at the beautiful St Nicholas’ Chapel in Lynn, I caught up with the dynamic Flauguissimo Duo: couple Johan Lofving (Theorbo) and Yu-Wei Hu (Baroque Flute), who will take to the stage with acclaimed soprano, Emily Atkinson, on Friday, September 8. The concert will feature music from their new album, To the Northern Star.

Both Johan and Yu-Wei are fantastic personalities, who never fail to enthuse and entertain their young audiences. CMR chair Peter Barker often chuckles over a scenario where Johan performed a theorbo demonstration for the pub manager at the King’s Arms, Shouldham, following a school visit to the village primary.

So, if Flauguissimo are bringing the full experience to their concerts, as David Taylor suggests, then why does attracting a younger audience feel like an impossible task?

“Classical music used to be popular music too, just in a different era,” explains Johan and Yu-Wei. “Baroque music in particular contains many similarities with modern pop and folk music.” Despite these parallels, there is still perceived ‘barriers’ to classical music, where it is wrongly perceived to be for the ‘educated’ and the ‘elite’. As such, so many are missing out on giving a concert a try.

Both musicians say: “This concert would be a great taster for someone who has never listened to classical music before”.

Not only is this concert vital for introducing new audiences to classical music, but the work of Johan Helmich Roman -the composer whom To the Northern Star celebrates- holds a special significance for the couple.

“I had never heard of Roman and his music until our wedding day,” says Yu-Wei, “when the organist in the Swedish Church London played the overture from his Drottningholmsmusiken.”

Johan, who is from Sweden, continues: “Roman was the first native Swedish composer to excel in a variety of musical styles and he really did make a huge difference to the musical development of Sweden in the early 18th century.”

To the Northern Star will be held at St Nicholas’ Chapel on Friday, 8. The concert begins at 7.30pm and includes a musician Q&A. Adults £10, under 21s go free (half price for parents and teachers).

Tickets available on the door or pre-book via the Alive Lynn Corn Exchange website.

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