Last night Roger and I were coaching and leading the violin and cello sections of the City of Peterborough Youth Ensemble: two string groups with about eight members each which play without a conductor. It reminded me of what a great experience it is for kids to work in an ensemble without a conductor. In a small string orchestra every individual player counts. You need to know your part extremely well and come in confidently at all the entries, yet you also have the pleasure of being part of a group responding to other people’s playing and ideas. For me it’s the perfect balance, and the professional string orchestra repertoire is truly wonderful.
In the ensemble we’ve starting discussing ideas for interpretation, dynamics, character, different bowing techniques with the aim of achieving different sounds and more variety . We’re working on European Children’s Songs, Monteverdi’s Chiome D’oro and Roger’s arrangement of Over the Hills and Far Away and there’s a concert at the end of March. Each section leader has alot of responsibility – but that’s where the fun and excitement is. The group meets on Wednesday evenings between 5.30pm and 7.45pm at Werrington in Peterborough.