NYO, yo, yo! Getting down and groovy into concert mode.

It’s currently day 10 on the NYO Spring Residency. We have one more day of rehearsing before we are off to Liverpool for our first concert, wahey.

 photo IMG_0041_zps983f1ffa.jpg

Chamber Music on NYO’s Inspire Day

François-Xavier Roth arrived two days ago and has been filling the room with his wisdom and charm in every bar of music. He is amazing. I am so privileged to be able to play under his baton. Well, under his pencil. (I don’t think he’s going to use a baton in performance.)

 photo IMG_0037_zps1a3a0e61.jpg

Djeikub’s preparations for section night ‘Children’s Birthday Party’


I love the way he works with us layer by layer. He isolates lines and rhythms shared across the orchestra and tells us exactly what to do in order to sound warmer, neater, crisper, more melodic, in tune, special; to feel safe; to feel the music.

 photo IMG_0038_zps59d4a3bf.jpg

Djeikub’s STUNNING thank you card for Clare Duckworth.


He does something which I’ve never seen a conductor do before. He tells us to stop playing and just say out loud every down beat he beats with the pencil. He tells us to watch him conduct, to know how much space he gives us for each bar of the music. All 165 of us watch the intangible mass of rhythm, sound and breath rise and fall. We are all in a trance. Sort of.

 photo ___zpsa5a607f4.jpg

Djeikub, Clare and myself. She plays in the London Symphony Orchestra and is one of the most inspiring musicians I’ve ever met.


Then he tells us funny stories. One time he did a world premiere performance of a modern piece which was aired live on the radio, but lost himself in the score for several minutes.

 photo IMG_0043_zps4de2d1e8.jpg

I spilt tea on my revision notebook…

He’s also amazing because he never works us too hard.

He finishes rehearsals early! What?!

(More time for revision…)


 photo IMG_0042_zpsa68311ba.jpg



 photo IMG_0048_zps43685d43.jpg

A prank on a member of the NYO Support Team, executed professionally by the Second Violin, Clarinet and the Trombone Sections.



 photo IMG_0051_zpsd96464db.jpg

Mass Easter egg hunt. The big treasure was this Lindt egg.

 photo IMG_0060_zps91566fef.jpg

Hungry brass players queuing up for dinner.

 photo IMG_0044_zpsc55dc487.jpg

 photo IMG_0058_zps76a6301f.jpg I have a very cool solo in the Thomas Adès piece, ‘Asyla’ at letter J in the first movement. It lasts for 2 beats (and half a beat in the next bar). I mean, it doesn’t quite match Robbie’s extravagant bling in Strauss’ ‘Ein Heldenleben’, but it’s a cool two bars okay. 


 photo IMG_0059_zps700e377f.jpg

So yeah, we leave Durham on Thursday morning for three back-to-back concerts in Liverpool, Newcastle and London.

There are three concerts – no excuses for non-attendance!

Here’s a taster of what we sounded like at the start of the residency with Gerry, our rehearsal conductor:

And here’s a lovely video of the NYO percussion section, talking about the variety of instruments in ‘Asyla’.

I think I might weep with joy at the end of each concert. The music is just so addictive and luxurious and surprising and delicious.

Goodnight all.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s