Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wake-up Call from Glastonbury

Excerpts from an article about another youth orchestra:
“We are beautifully placed to take risks – in terms of presenting classical music to audiences – that professional orchestras aren’t,” says Jonathan Vaughan, the orchestra’s director. “The NYO is young and dynamic and it wants to challenge the orthodox.” Vaughan’s players are equally serious about promoting the music they play. “I’ve got friends going to Glastonbury, who’ve said: ‘Wow! You’re playing – we’ll come and see you,’ ” says the 16-year-old percussionist Katy Hebditch. “They’d never in their lives come to a classical concert.”

...the NYO play with a musical understanding and vitality that leave one happy to be alive. Four times as many hopeful musicians, all Grade 8 distinction or above, audition for the 160-strong orchestra each year.

“It would have been great to explore another rock or pop collaboration,” Vaughan says. Björk is on his wishlist, “but we had two weeks to think about a new piece.” Vaughan and the conductor Charles Hazlewood settled on Terry Riley’s In Cas sufficiently innovative. It is aleatoric; Riley wrote 53 phrases but how the orchestra plays them is up to each individual. “Putting classically trained musicians into an arena where they’re asked to make artistic decisions can be scary,” adds Vaughan...

I was working in my yard the other day when a woman pushing a stroller stopped to talk. Eventually we got to kids. When I told her Molly was studying cello in Salzburg this summer, she exclaimed, "Oh! I went there with my youth orchestra!" I was stunned by the coincidence, as my mind has been nothing but YO lately. Reflecting back on Molly's five years in AYS, she played 15 concerts at Indian Springs, 5 at Boutwell. Period. No Salzburg. No anywhere. She'll never enthuse to a stranger about her AYS adventures. There weren't any.

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