Music student plays his own tune

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MUSIC student Ross Gunning is going his own way, having formed the Glasgow Philharmonia youth orchestra at just 18 years old.

The former Williamwood high pupil — now studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland — took to the stage on June 30 for the first official concert.

The 70-strong orchestra began out of charity — but Ross is keen to make his mark on the classical music scene.

The percussionist told The Extra: “It started with a fundraiser last year, to help build classrooms in Malawi. We raised over £1,600, and everyone said that we should do more.

“By October, I decided to make it official — a proper orchestra offering young people a chance to play to an audience without charging lots for membership.”

The student is on his way, with an audience of over 400 attending the first performance — a Russian-themed evening featuring Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances held at the arts school.

Rehearsals took place at Williamwood parish church, with free-of-charge help from four professional musicians backing the latest orchestral group.

Ross continued: “I applied for funding and was turned down because the orchestra was in early stages, but hopefully we’ll have more success next time — and we’re on the lookout for sponsorship.

“We’ve already planned the next events; a Songs of Praise-themed Christmas fundraiser and another June show. We’re hoping to work with schools too, to let kids hear classical music and maybe take it up themselves.

“I just want to reach as much of an audience as possible, and for Glasgow Philharmonia to get bigger with every year.”

To watch excerpts from the concert, visit the Glasgow Philharmonia website.