Manchester Camerata’s final concert of the 2008/09 season, on Saturday 30 May, will celebrate the 200th anniversary of two very different institutions, linked both by their chronology and by their reputation for innovation: the composer Joseph Haydn and the Manchester-based engineering solutions firm, Haden Freeman. The occasion will be shared not only by Camerata’s regular audience and Haden Freeman’s corporate guests, but by 200 invited students from Manchester schools, one for every year of the anniversary. Their presence represents an ambition to engage young people in science and technology through a non-traditional route.
Haydn, the 200th anniversary of whose death is marked this year, is known for his inventiveness and experimentation – indeed, for almost single-handedly creating the symphony. Haden Freeman, sponsors of the concert and renowned now as the UK’s pre-eminent independent engineering consultancy, owe their ongoing success to an ability to find innovative solutions. The firm has links with Manchester that go back to 1809. That was when young engineer George Haden, who had begun to make his name in the installation of steam engines in textile mills, completed his first major contract in the city, at the firm of Birley and Hornby. This proved to be the start of an illustrious career which saw him design and install complex cooling and heating systems at the Houses of Parliament, the British Museum and Windsor Castle.
Speaking about this unusual fusion of interest between an orchestra and an engineering company, Nigel Hirst, Managing Director of Haden Freeman, said:
“When we realised that the Haydn anniversary coincided with George Haden’s first success in Manchester, this concert seemed like the ideal medium through which to put across to young people the idea that creativity and imagination are just as important – and as exciting – in science and engineering as in the arts. The time when Haydn was creating and transforming the symphony coincided with probably the greatest period of technological advancement that England has ever known: the Industrial Revolution. Manchester, in particular, was known to house over half the world’s mechanised industry and was home to leaders of commerce, science and technology such as John Dalton and Samuel Arkwright. And it is that environment that saw the beginnings of the firm that was to become Haden Freeman.”