AYO National Music Camp 2012: Blog 2
By Lydia Dobbin
Here the instruments are really fighting. Basses we need that crescendo to end in a snarl… and violins you need to be… manic. Manic and bristling!’
– Conductor William Conway during rehearsals of James MacMillan’s darkly dramatic The Confession of Isobel Gowdie.
It’s the mid-morning session and the Alexander Orchestra is rehearsing tutti after a morning of sectionals. Several of the instrumental tutors sit in the audience, heads bowed over copies of the score. At times they gesture to their section or approach the stage to issue advice.
By 1o’clock the rehearsal is over and all campers converge on the square outside the School of Music for the annual National Music Camp photo. Out of the concert hall, frowns of concentration erupt into grins as the musicians climb on each other’s shoulders, shouting and laughing together.
After a leafy lunch of salad sandwiches and alfalfa sprouts, the orchestral players are given a break from their taxing rehearsal schedule and enjoy some free time. The Composition, Words About Music (WAM) and Artistic Administration (AA) programs aren’t so lucky. In the computer lab the WAMmers are bent over their keyboards typing furiously (ok, there was one short break to watch a YouTube clip of Rowan Atkinson singing Beethoven 9). Next door the composition wunderkinds are yelping and yodelling in between exploring new territory with the kazoo, and down the hall the AA mavens are listening earnestly as their guru Lou Oppenheim imparts to them the holy grail of Orchestra Management.
After dinner it’s back to business. The orchestras are again in rehearsal, WAMmers back at their computers, AA’s refining various stage plans and the composers… Well, let’s just say it sounds like they’re in the process of creating an entirely new musical universe.