At BBC National Orchestra of Wales Headquarters, the 2012/2013 season is almost upon us. Brochures have been prepared, schedules are being checked and cross checked, and many of our regular audience have already booked their advance season tickets.
Musically, this is such an exciting time to be in Cardiff and September sees many venues begin their new season...
The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama have a fabulous recital series, and will also play host to the Gould Piano Trio's Images of Schubert chamber music weekend which will feature a number of our own players - Principal 2nd Violin Naomi Thomas, Principal Viola Goran Frost, and Principal Clarinet Rob Plane.
Cardiff University's music department also recommences its very fine series featuring the Carducci Quartet and the Fidelio Trio, amongst others. In addition to this, they host a public lecture series of eminent speakers.
Our Wales Millennium Centre neighbours, Welsh National Opera, have an impressive season which will include Handel's Jephtha (featuring the lovely Robin Blaze who was an amazing David in our performance of Handel's Saul a few years back), Janácek's genuinely charming Cunning Little Vixen, and a new production of Berg's Lulu.
St David's Hall, in the heart of the city will play host, not only to visiting ensembles involved in its International Concert Series, but also to an eclectic range of lunchtime recitals (and us!).
At the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the 2012/2013 season is shaping up to be a very exciting one. As our new Principal Conductor, Thomas Søndergård, takes up his post, we will be continuing our residency at St David's Hall, our concert series from our own studio, Hoddinott Hall, and will be popping up all over the country to play for you. Perhaps we should start a 'Spot The Orchestra Truck' competition!
We will also be celebrating the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, one of my favourite composers - he composed lovely viola stuff - and will be collaborating with the Camberwell Composers' Collective (though more on this later), and many other fabulous composers and soloists. In October we will also be commencing a new education project - Music for the Deaf.
If you are a student just moved to Cardiff, welcome - get involved, be inspired, and be motivated. If you are a regular audience member, we look forward to seeing you very soon!
In this digital era when we skip from one track to another at the touch of a button (or touch sensitive interface as the case may be), many suggest that ours is a 'shuffle generation', unable to concentrate for the entirety of a work. Perhaps we are just too accustomed to moving too fast nowadays.
If you have never attended a 'classical' concert before, I urge you to take a few hours out of your week and come along. In an age of over production, when we can churn out recordings of near perfect, but often sanitised, works, there is no replacement for the live experience, for the spectacle of an ensemble, large or small, moving with one intent.