National Centre for Early Music

[Skip navigation]
Navigation Menu

Young People's Twist on Recorder Playing

14 May 2018



Two groups of young people in Yorkshire have come together across boundaries to take the recorder to their hearts, in an innovative community project as part of the 31st Beverley & East Riding Early Music Festival opening next week, 24-27 May 2018.

York's Minster Minstrels, an established youth ensemble dedicated to the exploration of early music, and Castaway Musical Theatre Goole, a vibrant group of young people with learning and physical disabilities from the Goole area, have been working on a collaborative project for the last three months, as part of the BBC Ten Pieces project, which aims to make classical music and musical instruments accessible

Purcell's Twist is an informal community concert taking place on Saturday 26 May at 1pm in Toll Gavel United Church, bringing together these two youth groups, in collaboration with more experienced recorder players from the local community and professional early music world. The centrepiece of the concert Rondeau from Abdelazer, a piece by English composer, Henry Purcell, whose numerous works for theatre made him the 'film score' musician of his era. Purcell's Rondeau appears in several guises throughout this hour-long concert, including in the premiere of a brand new composition - a modern twist on his work - created by the young people involved.

Comments Cathy Dew, recorder specialist on Purcell's Twist; "Working with this piece of music has been ideal for our chosen project, which this year brings together young people from different backgrounds, different towns and with different musical abilities. And what a project it has been.

"The recorder is inexpensive to buy, and is also quick to learn, with the simplest of tunes possible after only a few sessions. It's an instrument that has been widely played across history, and en masse, it can sound incredible."

As part of the project, Cathy performed to over 300 school children in one day in the Goole area and there have been a series of sessions bringing young musicians together, with the Castaway group picking up recorders for the first time ever.
Emily Crossland, education lead for the NCEM, said "I have been so impressed by the dedication and commitment of the groups taking part. There has been such a positive embracing of the project and the creative experience of developing the twist has been fascinating. I'm sure that audiences will enjoy the performance."

The big community concert, held at Toll Gavel United Church, 1pm on Saturday 26th May, is part of the Beverley & East Riding Early Music Festival. Young people from this project will join forces with professional recorder virtuoso Piers Adams and participants from the Festival's Revolutionary Recorder workshop, which takes place in the morning. The show will close with a massed-recorder finale.

Purcell's Twist
A showcase of regional talent, bringing together young musicians from Castaway Goole Accessible Music Theatre and York-based youth early music group Minster Minstrels, students from the University of York, participants from the Revolutionary Recorder workshop and recorder virtuoso Piers Adams.

This informal event is part of BBC Ten Pieces and celebrates a blend of early music and modern creativity. Centred on one of this year's selected Ten Pieces - the Rondeau from Henry Purcell's Abdelazer - the show features new arrangements, specially-created compositions and a massed-recorder finale!
Saturday 26 May, 1.00pm - c.2.00pm, Toll Gavel United Church

Under 35s ticket offer
Under 35s and full-time students can purchase £5.00 tickets.
These can be purchased online; by ringing the Box Office on 01904 658338 or email  This is a limited offer and is on a first-come, first-served basis. See

Ticket prices range £3 - £30


Editors Notes:
The 2018 Beverley & East Riding Early Music Festival is supported by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council; Arts Council England; the Mayfield Valley Arts Trust; Creative Europe through the Eeemerging programme; and the National Centre for Early Music.
The Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017.

Purcell's Twist
is made possible thanks to the generous support of Youth Music, the East Riding of Yorkshire Music Education Hub, and the Mayfield Valley Arts Trust. The Minster Minstrels are supported by York Music Hub.

Press Contact:
Lindsey Porter, on behalf of National Centre for Early Music
m: 07568 309154 / Web: