After an intense and musically fulfilling past three days, here is a quick recap of what we were up to at Inspire String Ensemble.
I would say our first day proved the most challenging. People travelled from near and far to arrive at Liverpool; some poor souls booked 5:30 morning trains when the 8:07 from Euston was clearly the best option. But anyway, that did not stop them from inspiring away, getting right to it with two tutti rehearsals and a sectional on the first day.
Playing with new people is hard in itself but getting to know them and more importantly becoming friends at the heart of the project. I mean, it's a lot harder to inspire and be inspired by people you don't like ... luckily, we didn't have that issue as proved by our cracking section nights on Wednesday. I don't know about the others, but first violins had a smashing time, going back to basics with two rounds of hide and seek, five rounds of 40-40 it, two rounds of 'splat' and the classic but definitely necessary game of musical chairs.
Naturally, section night was a highlight for everyone on the course but I'm sure this was followed closely by my excellent warm-ups. For those who do not know, warm-ups are a key part of NYO life - playing and concentrating for six plus hours a day is by no means a menial task and those ten minutes of stretches, breathing exercises and lying on the floor are life saving (or muscle saving)! Equally, the occasional Starbucks and Costa visits to re-energise did no harm. Other opportunities on the course included the chance to watch some members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra perform Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time at a free lunchtime concert.
Undoubtedly, the energy of the course climaxed on the last day with a musical sharing with our friends and family, and proved to be a huge success. I think the fact that we were able to achieve such a phenomenal musical product in three days was due to the commitment from our top class tutors and enthusiasm from both NYO and Inspire musicians.
A great chance to play new repertoire, work with professional tutors and meet new talented musicians sums up this Inspire Residency for me.