Did you know that ERSO was the first to give some famous faces the chance to play a concerto? Ernest Read wanted to give members of the ERSO the chance to play as soloists and the first player to get this chance (in 1931) was the young Evelyn Rothwell, who went on to become one of the UK’s most famous oboists.
Other famous firsts include Guy Johnstone who got his earliest solo opportunity when at 14 years old he performed the Lalo Cello Concerto with ERSO at the Royal Festival Hall. He went on to win BBC Young Musician of the Year and became a famous solo cellist and a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music. He’s been described as “an impeccable soloist” (Gramophone), whose “playing is searchingly beautiful and accurate” (BBC Music Magazine).
And did you know that the young 13 year old Jacqueline du Pre first performed the Elgar Cello Concerto with ERSO (known then as the London Senior Orchestra) back in December 1959?
Ernest Read was so keen to give young players the chance to perform as soloists with ERSO. We’re proud to continue the tradition via our ERSO Soloist of the Year competition, open to regular ERSO members and musicians who play at least one concert (incl rehearsals) with us this season, and hope some of our contestants might follow in their footsteps!