Wednesday 7 November 2012

An insiders view on Britten Sinfonia Academy

Imogen (Academy harpist) writes about her experience during the first ever courses with Britten Sinfonia Academy, our new ensemble for talented secondary school aged musicians from the east of England. The group was formed in September and has since made their debut at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge, Norwich Theatre Royal and the Barbican Centre in London.

In early September, Britten Sinfonia Academy met for their first day together and spent the day at West Road improvising and getting to know each other. Since then we have worked with Britten Sinfonia players towards performances together in Cambridge, Norwich and London. Over the past few months we met up for a few weekends of rehearsals and started to prepare for the three Birthday concerts. The first concert was in Cambridge and it was great to be able to show all our hard work. Playing at Norwich was really relaxing as we had played the music before and it was interesting to play in a new acoustic. The performance at the Barbican was great! We rehearsed in the morning and spent the day together before playing in the evening. It was fantastic to play in such a prestigious venue and I had such a great time.

The Academy has been a really wonderful experience so far and I have learned many useful skills from the way Britten Sinfonia work. It has taught me how important it is to really think about crafting the music and paying attention to detail. Working without a conductor gave me a chance to have a direct influence on how the music was played. So often when you are playing in an orchestra you have to play the music the way the conductor wants you to play it so it was great to have the opportunity to find my own voice. The vibrant energy and wide musical knowledge of all the players from Britten Sinfonia has really inspired me in both my ensemble playing and my practice. Rehearsing in such detail made me realise how important every element of the music is whether it is the articulation of a single note or a simple lead into a phrase. It has taught me more about listening to others and the importance of communication between players whilst performing and rehearsing music. Working with members of Britten Sinfonia and Britten Sinfonia Academy has been brilliant as it has helped me to develop as a musician and as a player.

The positive energy and virtuosic playing of everyone is so exciting and I can’t wait to see what happens next with the Academy. I have enjoyed every minute of the Academy so far and am learning more and more every time we play together. Britten Sinfonia do not come together to play the music - they come together to be the music. It has made me love music even more which I didn’t realise was possible! Thank you to everyone involved with the Academy.

To find out more about Britten Sinfonia Academy click here

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