From Scrap to Sound

Thursday 15 September 2011

Two of West Dean College's tutors, Benjamin Hebbert (Making Stringed Musical Instruments) and Jon Privett (Conservation and Making of Metals) were commissioned by the BBC to make five stringed musical instruments from scrap metal, wood and string which were played at the Proms on 23 July, as part of a 'scrapheap orchestra'.

The entire project tracing the progress from scrapyard to symphony is being filmed by Love Productions for a 90 minute documentary, Scrapheap Orchestra, to be broadcast on BBC Four in the autumn. The pair made two double basses and three cellos for the full chamber orchestra.

Ben and Jon's visit to G&R Harris car salvage near Chichester resulted in a good haul of car parts and scrap, including the bonnet of the jaguar. So intrigued were the team there, that they donated all the metal to the project. Broken masts were made available by Hayling Island Sailing Club.

Inspirational conductor Charles Hazlewood led the challenge, watching as a group of the UK's top instrument makers transformed abandoned furniture and rubbish into playable instruments.

He then conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra, playing only scrap instruments, in a specially arranged version of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.

West Dean College offers full-time diplomas, graduate and postgraduate programmes in Making, Conservation, Design, Visual Arts and Creative Writing. It also offers year-round short courses; amongst the most popular are those that show you how to use found objects in the creation of new works.


Contact: West Dean College

Tel: 01243 811 301


Images, from top to bottom

1. Visiting G&R Harris car salvage near Chichester

2. The pair made two double basses and three cellos for the full chamber orchestra