AYO Blog

Australian Youth Orchestra July Season 2011: Blog 2
By Natasha Conrau

A young musician poses in front of a poster outside the Sydney Opera House
Two musicians smile at the camera outside the Sydney Opera House
Three musicians smile at the camera outside the Sydney Opera House

Well, what a few days it has been. On Tuesday we began rehearsing in the Opera House and also got to rehearse Carl Vine’s Violin Concerto with our soloist, Dene Olding. Having only rehearsed the orchestral accompaniment, it was great to finally have the solo violin part to put the textures and harmonies into context, and hear the complete work. I was quite flabbergasted at the way Dene casually and calmly smashed the living daylights out of this piece (in a good way!). I was particularly amazed by a small passage of artificial harmonics in the slow movement; they’re not the easiest thing for string players to execute, but Dene managed to make it sound incredibly beautiful and very easy. How lucky we are to be premiering a work with a musician like him! Another privilege was having Carl Vine himself at the rehearsals for his work, as well as the Hon. Jane Matthews AO, who commissioned the piece.

Then on Wednesday came what we’ve all be working towards – our first concert. AYO concerts are always surrounded by a lot of energy, excitement and nerves. This one was no different, however, for the majority of the orchestra’s members it was their first time performing in the Opera House, marking it as quite a special occasion. The concert went quite literally without a hitch as we’ve rehearsed so much in the past week. Maestro Dausgaard has this amazing ability to make everyone feel completely calm, so we were able to really ‘go for it’ and fully enjoy this opportunity to play in Australia’s most iconic concert hall. As our concerts are a part of the Sydney Symphony’s ‘Meet the Music’ series, there were many younger audience members and the night concluded with some incredibly loud cheering, a few screams, and a lot of applause.In less than 24 hours we are going to have to rejoin the real world and go back home. It’s been such a great ten days that I will be incredibly reluctant to board my plane tomorrow and have to say goodbye to all my AYO friends (the ONE downside to AYO programs!). So in the meantime I am going to savour the time I have left with everyone and play my heart out in the two concerts we have left. Farewell AYO Season Two!