Tuesday 14 February 2012


Britten Sinfonia's Student Ambassador scheme is a great way for students to get involved with a world-class orchestra. The scheme runs in Cambridge and Norwich with students from Anglia Ruskin and Cambridge Universities as well as from the University of East Anglia.

The role allows students to gain an insight into the workings of a professional orchestra through helping to market Britten Sinfonia concerts to their peers and work experience in the office. Two students who have been part of the scheme have shared their experiences below. 

If you would like to become involved and build up your CV in 2012 do get in touch! Email Hannah Perks with why you'd like to work with Britten Sinfonia and a bit about what you think you can offer.

I found the Sinfonia Student Scheme through the Cambridge University Careers service and decided to apply as it seemed like a good opportunity both to gain relevant experience and to make contacts in the arts and music industry.
Becoming a Sinfonia Student is an extremely worthwhile experience, especially for those interested in a career in the arts, but also for those who wish to gain general experience in management, organisation, marketing and so on. The work is not very arduous and can easily be done alongside a university degree. In the main I helped with advertising the Sinfonia concerts to my fellow students through word-of-mouth, leafleting, putting up posters and so on. Every term the Sinfonia Students and the Sinfonia management team (who are all extremely friendly and helpful) met to discuss strategy and fresh marketing ideas. Sinfonia Students are also given the opportunity to steward at the Sinfonia concerts (or to just go to the concerts for free) and a week of work experience is offered to all who take part in the scheme. 
I had a great time as a Sinfonia Student. While providing a very useful service for the Britten Sinfonia, a Sinfonia Student also gains a valuable insight into the world of arts administration and I would highly recommend the experience to anyone – whether a music student or not.
Bea Ramsay

I am really grateful to Britten Sinfonia for the opportunity to work with them, both on a week-long placement, and on a more long term basis as a Sinfonia Student.
Sinfonia Students are mainly involved with marketing and increasing the footprint of the orchestra in Cambridge, especially within the university. I distributed publicity, created events on social networking sites, and followed it up by surveying the student attendance at concerts. I stewarded at many concerts and at several Education Days, where I loved meeting the public and supporting the smooth running of Britten Sinfonia events.
During the work placement, you spend a day in each department of Britten Sinfonia, which really influenced my decisions about which area of the arts I wanted to pursue. For Creative Learning, I wrote programme notes for a combined workshop and concert for children; in Development, I researched strategies to increase individual giving, an area becoming ever more vital in arts funding. I also became familiar with databases through updating artist records and the score library. 
Being a Sinfonia Student is an invaluable opportunity which has started me on my ideal career path; having now completed an Internship in London with English Touring Opera, I am Administrator and Finance Officer for Cambridge Summer Recitals.
Olivia Downs

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Meet Pekka Kuusisto

This week Britten Sinfonia welcomes back the violinist Pekka Kuusisto as rehearsals begin for the Concentric Paths tour with composer, pianist and conductor Thomas Adès. Pekka has worked with Britten Sinfonia a number of times before but ahead of this tour we asked him a few questions to help us all get to know him better! 

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Playing in the forest surrounding Sibelius' home, dressed up as a spruce.

When are you happiest?
At about 3 p.m. on most days.

What is your greatest fear?
The end of the world, I guess.

What is your earliest musical memory?
Listening to Rasputin by Boney M.

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
Barack Obama. He is facing a giant political machine that gets a lot of its fuel from ignorance - and still manages to send a message that it's useful to actually know stuff.

If you were an animal what would you be?
A squid. A giant one. Imagine the ease of playing Paganini things with all those tentacles.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Singing Coldplay tunes while accompanying myself with arpeggiator synths.

How do you relax away from the concert platform?
For instance by singing Coldplay tunes while accompanying myself with arpeggiator synths.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Caramelising the top of Crème Brûlée with a blowtorch and getting it right the first time.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Don't eat yellow snow. 

Pekka performs Thomas Adès Concerto for Violin (Concentric Paths) on tour with Britten Sinfonia this month. Click here for more details.

Dijon Opéra de Dijon Saturday 11 February 8pm Book tickets
Cambridge West Road Concert Hall Monday 20 February 7.30pm Book tickets
New York Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall Wednesday 22 February 7.30pm Book tickets
Norwich Norwich Theatre Royal Saturday 25 February 7.30pm Book tickets
London Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall Monday 27 February 7.30pm Book tickets
Dublin National Concert Hall Tuesday 28 February 8pm Book tickets