On Monday evening, we were once again live on Radio 3. The concert saw us reunited with conductor Martyn Brabbins - he who undertook the gargantuan, superhuman task of corralling us, our colleagues in the BBC Concert Orchestra, several brass bands and pretty much every singer in the United Kingdom, not to mention a few soloists, through the Gothic Symphony during this summer's Proms season.

This was, in my opinion, a really nice programme, full of music you could just play! When you play as much contemporary music as we do, it's sometimes nice to play a programme full of tunes.

We started off with Brahms' Variations on a Theme of Haydn, or as I like to call it, Variations on a Theme That Might Have Been Written By Haydn, But Then Again Might Not. This work has a very good viola part and it has been a while since I played it, so it was nice to familiarise myself with the variations again. I'm quite fond of this work. Also, I was given two of the variations for sight reading during the audition for my job here!

Also on the programme was Alexander Zemlinsky's early Symphony in D minor. A few of my friends have already had me boring them all week about how great I think Zemlinsky's music is; I will not make you, dear blog reader, suffer in the same manner. Suffice to say, I am a closet Zemlinsky fan and, thanks to a recommendation by our orchestra librarian Chris, I have now discovered the string quartets too, so things can only get geekier.

Our soloist, in Mozart's Violin Concerto No 3, was BBC New Generation Artist Alexandra Soumm. The BBC New Generation Artist scheme aims to nurture and develop solo and chamber musicians at the start of their careers. When you consider the calibre of alumni who have graduated from the scheme - Lisa Batiashvili, Ilya Gringolts, Janine Jansen, Lawrence Power and Christine Rice, to name but a few - you can see that this is no classical music scheme for an X Factor generation.

In the New Year (can you believe January is just around the corner?!), we will be working with a number of New Generation Artists. I thoroughly recommend you keep an eye out and catch these young soloists if you can. The first of these concerts will be with clarinettist Shabaka Hutchings on 11 January 2012 in an afternoon concert from Hoddinott Hall which is also a part of the Cardiff Sacher Series, a collaboration with Cardiff University exploring works by the Swiss Impresario, Paul Sacher.

It is a beautiful morning here in Cardiff Bay. We are just about to head into the studio to start rehearsing our Christmas celebration music. First up is L'Enfance du Christ by Hector Berlioz, a musical re-telling of the nativity tale. We will be performing it on Friday evening at St David's Hall under the baton of our principal conductor, Thierry Fischer. Hope to see you there!

The Orchestra perform Berlioz's L'enfance du Christ this Friday at St David's Hall, Cardiff. For tickets and information, call 0800 052 1812.


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