Young maestro

A HUSBAND and wife composer duo celebrated by Nancy Sinatra and Tony Bennett have become the latest stars to sing the praises of Glasgow's first student orchestra.

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Dan and Laura Curtis, whose recent projects include a BBC Children in Need album featuring Broadway's biggest stars and a charity single with Aled Jones, have become patrons of Glasgow Philharmonia - and a London concert could be on the cards.

The orchestra, set up by teenager Ross Gunning as a one-off fundraiser in 2012, consists entirely of 16 to 25-year-olds.

Ross, 19, from Clarkston, said he was delighted to have Dan and Laura's support. They were both really excited about the work we have been doing and it's fantastic to have them on board as patrons," he said.

"We have had such a great response here in Glasgow, people have really taken us to their hearts. But we're hoping to reach other parts of the UK too and Dan and Laura can really help us do that. Their support is much appreciated."

Dan, who is from Wales, said: "We heard the orchestra online and we were just blown away by the standard of these young musicians - they are world class. Ross bowled us over with his enthusiasm and his passion for giving these kinds of opportunities to young people.

"That's something Laura and I are particularly passionate about so we were delighted to become patrons and help spread the word."

Dan is also hoping to help Glasgow Philharmonia stage its first concert in London.

Dan adds: "It's early days but I'd like to bring them down here for a big concert next year - we're just in the process of finding a venue."

Dan and Laura, who have appeared on the BBC's One Show, Songs of Praise and Radio 2, are best known for their album Love on 42nd Street, which was released in aid of the BBC Children in Need appeal.

Actress and singer Nancy Sinatra, daughter of Frank, has paid tribute to the Curtises' work while legendary crooner Tony Bennett praised their "sincerity and emotion" and "great talent".

They are currently working on a musical based on the life of Richard Burton, due to open in London in 2016, and hope to travel north of the border soon.

"We love Glasgow and can't wait to come up and hear the orchestra in concert," adds Dan. "They have the potential to do great things."

For percussion and conducting student Ross, juggling his second year exams at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, it has been a busy six months.

As well as the Remembrance Day Stars on Parade concert at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and gala performances with River City stars Tom Urie and Gary Almont, the orchestra was invited to play at Kelvingrove Museum for the high-profile unveiling of the Commonwealth Games medals.

"It was an amazing experience," adds Ross. "We have done such a diverse mix of things, from Scottish music and West End hits to classical music and movie tunes.

"Now we are concentrating on attracting sponsors and funding, with our Kickstarter Project Summer.

"It is really hard but we're hoping people will come on board and pledge some money to help us cover things like venue costs, hiring music, instruments and professional tutors.

"We want to keep growing the orchestra but we need support to do it."

Next up for Glasgow Philharmonia is the summer concert at RCS on June 29 (tickets available from the box office on 0141 332 5057 or boxoffice.rcs.ac.uk) and an appearance at the BBC at the Quay Commonwealth Games Festival on July 20.

n For more information on the concerts and how you can support the orchestra, visit www.glasgowphilharmonia.com

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