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What is “Behind the Baton?”

You may well ask!  And ERSO are here to help…

At ERSO we have a long traditions of working with emerging professional musicians and May sees us working with some of the most talented in the next generation of conductors.

This project will provide a valuable development opportunity for emerging conductors to consolidate and develop their conducting skills and rehearsal technique whilst extending their knowledge of orchestral repertoire. Conductors will be nominated by the leading conservatoires and four will be selected to take part in the concert based upon an initial selection round in which each candidate will have a short rehearsal with ERSO.

Each of the four selected will conduct a part of the ERSO May 2018 concert. The young conductors will also illuminate the role of the conductor to the concert audience, helping to develop their presentation skills, essential to conductors today.

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Mark Shanahan

We have engaged Mark Shanahan, a highly respected conductor, to act as a mentor for the young conductors during the project.  Mark will advise the young conductors on ways to improve their conducting technique and to work more effectively with the orchestra. Each conductor will be able to observe the all of the rehearsal sessions to learn from each other and ERSO will give each conductor feedback after rehearsals and the concert.

 

The concert programme will be:
Brahms; Variations on a Theme of Haydn
Rachmaninov; The Rock
Tchaikovsky; Romeo & Juliet
Gershwin; An American in Paris

Meet the ERSO Soloist of the Year Finalists – Jaga

JAGA KLIMASZEWSKA – VIOLINIST

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Jaga – credit Joasis Photography

What is your main occupation at the moment?

I am a freelance violinist. I play concerts as a soloist, I have a violin clarinet and piano trio, I play in a quartet and I am a deputy leader at the Ernest Read Symphony Orchestra.

What made you choose to play your instrument and how old were you when you started?

I went to an orchestra concert with my mother and I kept looking at the violinists. Apparently I kept saying that I want to play the violin after that. I was 7 when I went to a music school and I started playing.

What made you choose the concerto that your will be playing?

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Jaga at her audition

It was always my dream to play the Sibelius concerto with an orchestra.

What do you feel you would gain from the experience of winning this competition and playing your concerto with ERSO and Peter Stark?

Winning the competition would be a big step in my career and definitely a dream come true!

Meet the ERSO Soloist of the Year Finalists – Callie

CALLIE BRENNAN – VIOLINIST

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Callie Brennan

What is your main occupation at the moment?

I am currently a second year postgraduate student at the Guildhall School, where I study with Stephanie Gonley and Ofer Falk. I am also a peripatetic violin teacher in the borough of Bexleyheath, and I freelance around the city

What made you choose to play your instrument and how old were you when you started?

As the story goes, I began asking my parents for a violin when I was 3 – they made me ask for a whole year until they finally gave in and signed me up for Suzuki lessons. That was nearly 20 years ago, and I’ve never second-guessed my 3-year old wish. I also really loved how much my practising annoyed my sister…I don’t think she minds anymore thoough!

 

What made you choose the concerto that you will be playing?

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Callie auditioning

The Walton violin concerto is such a gem, and so rarely played. The first time I heard it I was mesmerized, and made a promise to myself that I would someday play it with an orchestra. The piece is simultaneously romancing and haunting, the entire first movement is based on a melody that stretches up a Major 7th, which is just shy of an octave; this really gives you the feeling of grasping for understanding, but not quite reaching it. Fun fact: the second movement was apparently inspired from William Walton having been bit by a tarantula!

What do you feel you would gain from the experience of winning this competition and playing your concerto with ERSO and Peter Stark?

I’ve played a lot of chamber music in my career, but in my opinion, soloing with an orchestra is one of the most intense and rewarding forms of chamber music there is. The relationship between the solo part and the orchestra is so unique and can create an amazing atmosphere for audience and ensemble. There can be such a special interplay of interpretations and conversation between parts, especially in such a piece as this. I haven’t yet had the chance to play a concerto with an orchestra, and I think working with Peter Stark and the ERSO would be an amazing first experience; There is a lot I could learn from both conductor and ensemble. This concerto is one that is very dear to me, and I’m so excited for the opportunity to share it with the ERSO and public!

Meet the ERSO Soloist of the Year Finalists – Michael

MICHAEL STOWE – Oboist

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Michael Stowe

What is your main occupation at the moment?

I am a third year undergraduate oboe student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Alongside my studies I take on freelance playing work with various orchestras and ensembles and I also teach the oboe on Saturday mornings at the Wandsworth Music Academy.

What made you choose to play your instrument and how old were you when you started?

I started learning the oboe when I was 10 years old. I had previously been learning the recorder and initially wanted to move on to the flute, as I knew some children at my school who learned it. I suggested this to my mum who quickly responded with “no, everyone plays the flute- learn the oboe!”. Despite being blissfully unaware of the many hours I would eventually spend making reeds, I definitely feel I ended up on the right instrument!

What made you choose the concerto that you will be playing?

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Michael at his audition for ERSO Soloist of the Year

I have chosen to perform the Strauss concerto as I feel it perfectly demonstrates what the oboe does best: playing beautiful, endless melodies. The concerto was written in 1945 towards the end of Strauss’s life during what is known as his ‘Indian Summer’ of music, where he composed numerous beautiful pieces of music including his Four Last Songs and the Metamorphosen for solo strings, which I feel collectively paint a picture of Strauss’s life as a composer.

What do you feel you would gain from the experience of winning this competition and playing your concerto with ERSO and Peter Stark?

I have chosen to pursue a career as an oboist as performing is what I am most passionate about, so having the chance to perform one of my all-time favourite pieces of music as a soloist with such a fantastic orchestra and conductor would be a dream come true!

Meet the ERSO Soloist of the Year Finalists – Caroline

CAROLINE WELSH – Flautist

caroline welshWhat is your main occupation at the moment?

I work in music as a performer, teacher and as an animateur, which means I lead creative music projects and workshops.

 

What made you choose to play your instrument and how old were you when you started?

I started playing the flute when I was 8 years old. I heard James Galway playing on the radio and I was instantly captivated by the clear, pure beauty of the sound. I still feel the same about the sound of the flute, all these years later!

What made you choose the concerto that you will be playing?caroline audition cropped

To me, Mozart is all about beauty of line and expression delivered with great poise. There’s always a feeling of it being just out of reach but this makes me want to keep playing it and trying to do it justice.

What do you feel you would gain from the experience of winning this competition and playing your concerto with ERSO and Peter Stark?

have always enjoyed working with Peter and found his musical ideas inspiring. I would really appreciate the chance to develop my performance alongside Peter and with ERSO.

Out of this world! A suitable last concert for 2017

Today ERSO enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of music with the young players and singers from Kings House School in Richmond.  Our fabulous presenter Tim Keasley guided us through fairy-tale lands and outer space, with a short visit to Brazil to help find a rather spirited missing cow……

ERSO were under the expert baton of Chris Stark, best known for his work with the acclaimed Multi-Story Orchestra, and Chris worked with us to deliver some really beautiful moments of Ravel, Ives and Milhaud.

Catch you all in 2018!

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What makes ERSO’s childrens concerts so special?

Our founder Ernest Read put on his first concert for schools almost 90 years ago (back in 1929).  He knew that the length, content and style of a concert needed to reflect the audience and developed an innovative format that many professional symphony orchestras still follow today with short programmes, accessible introductions to the repertoire and audience participation.

We’re proud of our history and delighted to continue his work.  Here’s why this Sunday’s Family Concert in Kew (26th November) will be so special!

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Come and join us if you can!