Wednesday 30 September 2009

Latitude Video

In July 2009 Britten Sinfonia were the first orchestra to perform at Latitude Festival in Suffolk. Here is a video which brings to life what it was like to perform at this brilliant festival.

Britten Sinfonia at Latitude from washmedia on Vimeo.

Wednesday 23 September 2009

A view from a student on work experience

A couple of weeks ago David Allen, a student at Cambridge University visited us on a two-week work experience placement. Here he talks about what it was like;

Ah, the life of a student. Lazy days spent doing very little indeed, the occasional lecture if you remember to get out of bed in time, no responsibilities and the drinks bill to match. In between the sessions spent watching reruns of The West Wing on DVD, however, thoughts occasionally turn to the future.

Which is why I’ve spent the last two weeks on work experience at Britten Sinfonia. For me, there’s no better prospect than helping to produce great music with a wonderful orchestra. I’ve been working in the marketing department, so there have been plenty of envelopes to stuff with promotional material for our new season, alongside the odd bit of filing and database updating.

There’s been more exciting stuff. My big project has been working out how to get more of my peers at Cambridge University to Britten Sinfonia concerts: hours of lateral thinking later, and I’ve come up with a cunning plan… Best of all, though, was the afternoon I spent with the Creative Learning department. We ran a workshop for Essex County Council showing how music could teach teamwork and leadership skills. I even made my conducting d├ębut in a quickly improvised piece for untuned percussion, chime bells, and viola (not a common combination, granted).

It’s been a brilliant two weeks, and I can’t wait to come back!

David Allen

We are pleased that David had such a positive experience (despite a lot of envelope stuffing) and are grateful for his hardwork particularly his suggestions on how to get more of his fellow students to our concerts. He's also promised to come back and help with some ushering (and maybe a bit more envelope stuffing!)

Friday 18 September 2009

A couple of pictures from Colchester

Here are two pictures from our weekend in Colchester as part of National Heritage weekend. They show Oliver Cox and Owen Gunnell getting a few tips on tabla playing from Kuljit Bhamra.

Monday 14 September 2009

Colchester Heritage Weekend

The orchestra have just spent the weekend in Colchester as part of the National Heritage Weekend. Performing in historic buildings in Colchester throughout Saturday and Sunday to create a unique musical tour which included five new commissions inspired by the buildings (Colchester Town Hall, Tymperleys Clock Museum, Castle Museum, Bourne Mill and Hollytrees Museum) the new works were performed in. I was based at Bourne Mill with two percussionists, Owen Gunnell and Oliver Cox who performed a new work by Colchester based composer, Michael Spearman. Bourne Mill is a beautifully preserved 16th century watermill set in tranquil grounds beside a stream and millpond. The weather was fine for the weekend making it a lovely place to sit and watch the ducks and geese playfully skimming the water in between the short performances. As well as performing the new work Owen and Oliver also played some jazz and classical music to the delight of audiences and the local allotment society who were having a fayre at the mill on Saturday as well (Oliver also took the opportunity to buy some weird shaped vegetables for his dinner that night).

On Saturday evening all the musicians came together for a concert at Colchester Arts Centre. The first half gave audiences the opportunity to hear the new works afresh and an audience favourite was tabla player, Kuljit Bhamra’s new work for violin and tabla performed at the Castle Museum earlier in the day. The evocative combination of violin and tabla thrilled the audience with many wanting to hear the piece again. During the rehearsal for the evening concert Owen and Oliver had a go at trying to play the tabla under Kuljit’s instruction – one of them definitely got the hang it better than the other (I won’t say which!) and we’ll have some photos of them giving it a go here on the blog tomorrow. In the second half of the evening Jacqueline Shave led the orchestra in performances of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Arvo Part’s moving Fratres and Rautavaara’s The Fiddlers.

Claire (Marketing Director)