Four NYO Musicians teamed up with four string players from the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO), giving a joint free public performance at the Southbank Centre. This was our first project as Southbank Centre’s newest Associate Orchestra, and it was an insightful and incredible learning experience for our musicians to collaborate with top-class artists from an international orchestra. The project was part of the BFO’s vision to share classical music with a new generation, fulfilling their commitement to play side-by-side with different youth orchestras on each stop of their tour.
Patrick, our co-principal second violinist, reflects on what this collaboration meant to him:
This week, Elodie, Ellie, Giulia and I had the exciting opportunity of working on and performing Mendelssohn’s ‘String Octet’ at the Southbank Centre together with four musicians of the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO). We had a really intense but very enjoyable morning playing through the first and fourth movements, and taking them apart to focus on key passages. We learnt a lot about listening to each other, communication and general musicality, all of which are skills we will be able to bring to our own orchestral playing with NYO.
Right from the start of the rehearsal we were all smiling at each other. The BFO musicians were incredibly welcoming, which made us feel very at ease and the assurance they brought to their playing inspired us to play out with conviction ourselves. The morning flew by and soon it was time to perform to an audience of local primary school children from Southwark Music Service, who had spent the morning trying out different musical instruments with other BFO musicians.
After our morning coaching session, we get a short break and head down to the Southbank Centre’s Clore Ballroom to get ready for our free joint performance. Spot the NYO sticker?
Just getting ready and discussing some last minute details.
BFO Leader, Violetta Eckhardt, directs us in tuning up before the performance, while our young audience from Southwark Music Service looks on.
The performance itself was an amazing experience and one which I will remember for a long time. It was so inspiring to play alongside professional musicians of such a high standard and also to watch the reactions of the children who were sitting on the floor right up close to us. For many of them, it may have been their first experience of a classical music concert and I can’t think of a better piece for them to have listened to us perform to. It’s a really dynamic and exuberant piece, which Mendelssohn wrote when he was only 16, a teenager like us!
True music-making in action. NYO and BFO musicians playing side-by-side, uniting across generations and country lines!
Many of the children seemed entranced by the music. A few seemed to focus their attention on a particular player or instrument, whilst a couple were playing along with their ‘air violins’!
Our young audience is alert and eager to experience the music!
Smiles all around after the performance.
It was a very special feeling – as NYO Musicians we were inspiring such young children, whilst also being inspired ourselves by the amazing musicians of the BFO. We are all very proud to have represented NYO in our first collaboration with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and as Southbank Centre’s newest Associate Orchestra!