30 October 2011 - Cadogan Hall, London
- Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor with soloist Bobby Chen
- Glinka: Overture - Ruslan and Ludmila
- Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10 in E minor
Seventeen years on from the very first concert given in London's Barbican Hall, subsequent generations of youthful and talented members of the English Schools' Orchestra have not only consistently maintained the initial high standards achieved by their predecessors, but have even managed to outstrip all expectations and each year shown themselves capable of tackling ever more ambitious musical challenges with hugely successful results.
This year was no exception. The major undertaking was Shostakovich's Symphony No 10, an emotionally charged and physically demanding work which was tackled with relish. Its raw energy has a particular appeal for young players of this quality. Bobby Chen, a young pianist who is a legend in his home country of Malaysia, joined the orchestra to give a poetic account of the Grieg piano concerto and the concert opened with an adrenalin rush rendition of Glinka`s famous Ruslan and Ludmilla overture.
The five-day build up to the concert was held as usual at The Haberdashers' Boys' School, in Elstree, Hertfordshire, where the splendid facilities for making music are probably second to none and which the orchestra and tutors enjoy year after year. Students attending this year's course came from schools countrywide and they were once again joined by four young musicians from Russia as part of the scheme initiated by HRH Prince Michael of Kent. In 2012 it is hoped that the orchestra will further develop its international links by inviting gifted young musicians from Malaysia to play alongside their English counterparts.
Following four days of section rehearsals with distinguished tutors and full rehearsals under the baton of musical director Robert Pepper, the orchestra travelled to the Cadogan Hall in London and gave a memorable concert in this elegant venue, home to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The performance of Shostakovich 10 received a well deserved standing ovation from the enthusiastic audience.
Each year many of our players return (up to 65%) but we also welcome a number of first-timers. We have received wonderful feedback from the players over the years. They love the music and the intensity of the experience. Putting together a programme like this in just five days requires extremely hard work from tutors and performers alike. Many of the youngsters stay residentially as well, literally living and breathing the music. There is lots of fun as well and other talents emerge ranging from stand-up comedians to ukulele players!
Alan Taylor (Course Director)