ERSO’s membership has always included talented music students and young professionals at the start of their careers who are keen to gain repertoire experience. We have a long tradition of working with emerging soloists, choosing where we can to work with players from within the orchestra.
Recently this has included Matthew Strover as the soloist in Bruch’s Kol Nidrei, Caroline Welsh playing Nielsen’s Flute Concerto and players who have been selected for Making Music’s Philip and Dorothy Green Award for Young Concert Artists such as Dinara Klinton.
In 2017, we initiated a scheme for paid string section principals. These are developmental roles for post-graduate music students which give the successful applicants valuable experience of leading and managing their musical section and playing a part in helping to run an orchestra, including fixing players, communication and publicity and, crucially, planning and delivering our education projects.
Some years ago, ERSO also had an Assistant Conductor position to enable young conductors to develop and learn from the Principal Conductor. Most recently this role was held by Andrew Gourlay who has gone on to achieve considerable professional success with major orchestras and opera houses in the UK and abroad.
The trials for a new Principal Conductor and appointments of our String Section Leaders have acted as a catalyst for ERSO to develop a more formal programme to link all our work with emerging professional musicians under the ERSO Talent Programme. This programme will bring together all our work with emerging soloists, conductors and paid section leaders, potentially expanding into further areas such as reviving the Assistant Conductor position and working with emerging composers in the next few years.
In its first year the ERSO Talent Programme will focus on emerging soloists through the ERSO Soloist of the Year 2018 competition and emerging conductors in our Behind the Baton project in May 2018.