Harriet Clifford

Gaspard the Fox joins RSNO for schools concert programme

12:38, 11th February 2021

Primary schools across Scotland are invited to sign up and receive the film as well as the accompanying education source, which includes an online workshop with presenter Lucy Drever and teacher CPD in March ahead of the release. 

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) will bring to life the latest tale of Gaspard the Fox on 10 May as part of its brand-new digital schools concert programme for 2021. 

Zeb Soanes’ popular children’s book series sees the addition of Gaspard’s Foxtrot on World Book Day (4 March), a new adventure that has been set to music by composer Jonathan Dove. 

As part of its digital National Schools Concert Programme 2021, the RSNO will perform the world premiere of the piece alongside a specially produced concert film and learning resource. 

In partnership with Visible Fictions, the accompanying film and animation footage will combine classical music, the adventures of urban fox Gaspard, and the classic illustrations of James Mayhew. 

Gaspard’s Foxtrot written by Zeb Soanes, illustrated by James Mayhew and published by Graffeg, 4 March 2021

The concert will include British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation and inclusive resource materials to ensure it reaches as many young people across Scotland as possible. 

Author Zeb Soanes said: ‘The whole Gaspard journey, from the very beginning, has been a labour of love springing from the enchanting real fox that inspired the books. The exciting thing about Gaspard’s Foxtrot was that it was conceived to be both a book and a concert, so the challenge for me was to write a story that inspired both James Mayhew’s illustrations and Jonathan Dove’s music. 

‘Rather than the score being an afterthought to an existing story, this is very much a musical adventure through the city and Jonathan has created a remarkable tapestry of sound from the buzzing of bees and the throng of city traffic to scurrying tube mice and polka-dancing pigeons — and through it all Gaspard’s gentle curiosity at the fascinating sights he encounters. 

‘We are hugely proud to be sharing this world premiere with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra who have pulled out all the stops (at a time when it isn’t easy to attend live events) to magically animate the concert-hall experience and bring this picture book to life.’ 

RSNO director of concerts and engagement Bill Chandler said: ‘Our National Schools Concert Programme is always a highlight of the calendar year and while we are unable to perform in venues across the country, we have focused all of our efforts and energy into producing an exciting and engaging digital concert film which can be beamed straight into classrooms across Scotland. 

‘Music and storytelling are excellent ways for children to learn and we are fortunate to have some great partners working with us on the film and educational materials.’ 

Deputy first minister John Swinney added: ‘Music and storytelling have the power to inspire young children and enrich their learning experience, and I’d like to encourage schools across Scotland to register their interest for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s National Schools Concert Programme this year.’

The programme is free of charge for participating schools and is only available to schools based in Scotland. For more information or to sign up to take part, schools should visit: www.rsno.org.uk/gaspard 

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