When I met up with the conductor of Sinfonia Cymru to talk about the orchestra's forthcoming tour of Wales for this week's Arts Show he was fixing players who'd be available for the different dates. Once off the mobile though, Gareth Jones smiled at my concern that he seemed to be lacking a few string players. It'll be fine, he said. Just a couple more calls to make.
Now some conductors would be having hissy fits at this as a concert tour of Wales is on next week, but Gareth Jones founded Sinfonia Cymru not as a permanent collection of players, but an orchestra that has a large squad to call on. Yes, a bit like the national rugby or football idea but Gareth is proud to say that he can count on strength in depth!
The reason for this is that the Sinfonia Cymru players come from all corners. Many of them are experienced students at music colleges and conservatoires across Britain, others are full time professionals already. What they all have in common is a really high standard of orchestral playing and a dedication to performing an interesting repertoire.
Gareth formed the orchestra, then called the Cardiff Bay Chamber Orchestra, in 1996 and since then it's gone from strength to strength having performed regularly at Bryn Terfel's Faenol Festival among other high points. A special relationship's developed between the orchestra and Bryn and also with other internationally acclaimed soloists like Rebecca Evans, Dennis O'Neill and the pianist Llyr Williams.
Next week will be Sinfonia Cymru's fourth national tour of Wales, taking in Llandrindod Wells, Criccieth, Y Stiwt in Rhos, Newport and the Wyastone Concert Hall in Monmouth. By this time, Gareth's got all his players in place and is looking forward to seeing full houses - well worth getting to if you're a fan of chamber orchestras.