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Bob Chilcott's choral work, The Voyage, shortlisted for RPS Award

Released on April 5, 2017

Bob Chilcott's choral work, The Voyage , commissioned by Age UK Oxfordshire, has been shortlisted in the Learning and Participation Category of the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Music Awards. The RPS Music Awards - presented in association with BBC Radio 3, are the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK.

The work, a collaboration between Bob Chilcott and author Charles Bennett, was commissioned by Paul Cann, CEO of Age UK Oxfordshire as part of a project to highlight and combat loneliness.

Bob Chilcott said: 'The Voyage was a wonderful collaborative project that brought together young and old, amateur and professional, in a genuine spirit of musical community and I am so thrilled that it has been recognised in this way.'

The project had two première performances in March 2016: at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford and at the Reading Concert Hall. Each concert included three choirs of mixed ages and experience, and young musicians brought together by Age UK Oxfordshire as part of its work with the Campaign to End Loneliness. Supported by the Arts Council England and charitable trusts the piece offers evocative music about a journey through life which all can access and enjoy, at whatever age or stage of singing ability. A further performance took place in Minneapolis, with VocalEssence under Philip Brunelle, in October 2016.

Charles Bennett said: 'It's naturally very pleasing indeed to see Age UK's imaginative commission being recognised in this way: and beyond my personal delight at the news is the knowledge that pairing young singers with elder ones can result in a powerful and affecting union. It was a deeply meaningful project to write, and a joy to hear. Bob's music brought a special, added significance - and I am genuinely uplifted by this nomination.'

Alongside the rehearsals and performances, Age UK Oxfordshire are leading outreach work to combat loneliness in the community. Projects include a befriending scheme linking students with older people, new singing groups across the county, including some for people who have had a stroke or who have dementia, and an intergenerational creative writing publication which charts people's experiences of finding a way through tough times.

Paul Cann said: 'We set up the Campaign to End Loneliness because we know that feeling lonely is a universal heartache felt at any age or stage, but often most intensely in young adulthood and older age. We need to make loneliness everyone's business. The Voyage affirms our shared impulse, young and old, for contact and love as we navigate the journey of life. With Bob Chilcott's sublime music and Charles Bennett's evocative text we are telling this old story in a new way'.

Listen to The Voyage

Find out more about Bob Chilcott

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