News - 30 January 2015

Handelsbanken Pledge Support For Orchestral Work

The Nottingham City Gate branch of international bank Handelsbanken has extended its support for the East Midlands’ professional orchestra Sinfonia Viva by sponsoring the appointment of their new Principal Conductor.

Duncan Ward (25) officially joined the Orchestra in January and recently conducted his first concert in Derby with further performance dates planned throughout the year including at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall.

Mr Ward has been based in Berlin for the past two years as Conducting Scholar of the Berliner Philharmoniker Orchester-Akademie, to which he was appointed on the recommendation of Sir Simon Rattle in 2012.

Anne Hardwick, Individual Banking Manager at Handelsbanken in Nottingham, said: “We have sponsored Sinfonia Viva performances for the past three years.

“We were keen to extend that support for the Orchestra by sponsoring Duncan Ward who is an exciting young conductor and already winning acclaim for his work nationally and internationally.

“Sinfonia Viva has a national reputation for education and community work and Duncan is particularly committed to introducing younger audiences to classical music.  This ethos closely mirrors Handelsbanken’s values of building relationships with customers and our local communities.

“As part of our relationship with Viva, we have regularly worked with local schools in and around Nottingham – providing tickets for Orchestra performances in the city to their pupils and particularly their aspiring young musicians.  This gives them the opportunity to enjoy high quality classical music and, on occasions, to meet the players.

“Most recently, this involved young musicians from Lowe’s Wong junior school in Southwell as well as Nottingham’s Trinity School who attended a performance at the Royal Concert Hall and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“We look forward to working closely with Viva in the coming year to explore other ways of engaging young people and communities.”

Sinfonia Viva Chief Executive Peter Helps concluded: “We are extremely grateful for Handelsbanken’s support of the Principal Conductor position.

“Duncan Ward is already playing a significant role in our work bringing both high quality concert performances to the region and our engagement with young people through the education and community work.”

Duncan Ward has conducted orchestras throughout the world.  He is also an accomplished composer and won the 2005 BBC Young Composer of the Year.

He is passionate about working with young people and local communities. Following a month working in India in 2006, Duncan subsequently co-founded the WAM Foundation which sends young UK musicians each year to teach Western classical music in schools across Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Kerala. The charity attracted the attention of the great late Ravi Shankar, who invited Duncan to study with him in California in 2010.  

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