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Joy Division music to be turned into symphony by schoolchildren

Schoolchildren from Maccesfield are set recreate Joy Division’s music as a symphony to mark the 30th anniversary of singer Ian Curtis’s death.

The frontman committed suicide on May 18, 1980, on the eve of the band’s first American tour after struggling with epilepsy and the breakdown of his marriage. Get this week’s issue of NME, on UK newsstands nationwide tomorrow (May 19), for a special tribute issue to Curtis

Members of the Northern Chamber Orchestra will work with school children from the band’s hometown, teaching youngsters musical techniques while exposing them to the music of Joy Division.

“The style of music is quite sparse and very simple,” the orchestra’s education co-ordinator Helen Quayle told BBC News. “The kids can understand and take elements of that and write for a string quartet using the same technique.”

The concert is taking place as part of a series of events marking the singer’s death. An exhibition curated by journalist Jon Savage will be held in the town’s 1813 Sunday School Heritage Centre from 29 July until 7 August, and will feature Joy Division memorabilia including setlists, letters and posters.

“Macclesfield has never had the opportunity to celebrate Ian Curtis’ work in a way which benefits the communities of the town and also attracts music fans from far and wide,” explained festival director Richard de Peyer of the year’s events. “This summer seemed like the right moment to do that.”