Sunday 23 June 2013, 09:38
BBC Symphony Orchestra sub-principal viola Phil Hall had a new desk partner for Saturday's Side-By-Side concert in Kirkwall ...
Orkney Schools Orchestra rehearsing One aspect of the BBC Symphony Orchestra 's touring which is sometimes left unreported is the education work that runs alongside the concerts we do in most of the countries we visit. This time, in Orkney, we have 60 players from the Orkney Schools Orchestra sitting alongside us - my new desk partner was Chloe Peace. These are young players from all across the islands who usually meet during October for a week to rehearse and give concerts. But for this project they have been rehearsing with young British conductor Ben Gernon (a protege of Martyn Brabbins’ conducting Masterclass in Orkney) who was such a hit that by the end of the first day of rehearsals (on February 14th) he had received a Valentine's Day card!
The Side-By-Side Orchestra Ben had an easy rapport with the young players, as he also had with both us (the BBCSO) and the Orkney Festival Chorus: quite a feat of psychology to cope with all those different ages - amateurs and professionals - without anyone feeling insulted! Within two hours he had rehearsed ten popular classical pieces and still had boundless energy for the concert (something I could have done with having cycled 30 miles mostly against an Orcadian head-wind before the rehearsal...)
But come the concert there was a real air of occasion with the hall stuffed full of proud mums and dads watching their wee ones perform alongside seasoned professionals. Most of the solos were taken by the youth orchestra players; indeed it was a little odd to see our leader Stephen Bryant sitting next to the Schools Orchestra leader Iona Spence, on the second chair - likewise the other string principals: a fitting gesture of support I think and (I hope) encouragement for Orkney's aspiring future professionals.
Full house at the Pickaquoy Centre Multiplatform producer Graeme Kay adds: '69 members of the BBC SO joined the 60 Orkney young musicians on the stage; the St Magnus Festival Chorus comprised 111 voices, making a total complement of 240 performers. Add to this a full audience in the Pickaquoy Centre, and the concert was charged with goodwill and yielded vociferous applause, not least for Matthew Anderson, the young soloist in Haydn's Trumpet Concerto; Radio 3 will broadcast extracts from the concert - music by Orff, Ravel, Handel, Haydn, Verdi, Fritz Spiegl, Mussorgsky and Marquez, at a later date - at a later date.'
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Saturday 22 June 2013, 11:19
Monday 24 June 2013, 09:38