Performance Workshops with the Orchestra da Camera
We are fortunate to enjoy a partnership with the Orchestra da Camera and have had a variety of days focussing on different orchestral sections, as well as a whole orchestra day.
These regular events greatly enhance the instrumental provision of the department and provide inspiration for pupils and teachers alike!
We have welcomed world-famous violinist Tasmin Little to work with our string players; several of our pupils also had the opportunity of hearing her perform Vivaldi's Four Seasons with the Orchestra da Camera the following day at St Mary's Warwick. Tasmin, firmly established as one of today's leading violinists, has performed in many of the most prestigious venues in the world and in 2012 was awarded the OBE in the Queen's diamond jubilee birthday honours list for her services to music.
She led a whole day of string playing, with workshops and an afternoon chamber concert and it was a truly once-in-a-lifetime chance for our young musicians to meet such an internationally acclaimed performer!
The emphasis of our next workshop was on a single instrument and we welcomed cellist Hans Nygaard to work with over 40 young cellists from across the county.
Hans was appointed Principal cello of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra in 1993 and held the same position with the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra until 2000.
He plays a rare Italian cello “The Armitage” Testore from 1692 and our young players thoroughly enjoyed hearing both the beautiful instrument and Hans' thoughts on their playing.
Our next session focused on woodwind playing, and we were very fortunate to welcome Margaret Cookhorn, from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, to lead sessions on breathing, performance technique and to direct some wind chamber music.
Margaret studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, then joined the CBSO as principal contrabassoon, where she has premiered works written for the instrument.
She is also a member of the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group as well as teaching and coaching chamber music at Birmingham Conservatoire.
World famous classical guitarist Craig Ogden attracted guitar players from all across the county to work with him, including a good number of our own pupils. As well as an international performing career, Craig is Head of Guitar at the Royal Northern College of Music, and a Visiting Lecturer at London’s Royal College of Music. Pupils had the opportunity of hearing him perform the famous concerto by Rodriguez, along with the Orchestra da Camera.
March 2015 saw us stage an enormous day of orchestral playing, led by violinist and Artistic Director of the Darwin Ensemble Alex Laing.
During a packed day in our theatre, around 90 young musicians rehearsed a variety of classical scores taken from the BBC ‘10 Pieces’ project.
Alex, who as well as directing the Lichfield-based Darwin Ensemble, is also Head of Strings at Uppingham School, also conducts the Eastern Regional National Children’s Orchestra.
We again welcomed a woodwind player, this time flautist Lisa Nelsen, to work with a group of young flautists. Aside from a busy performing career as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral principal, Lisa is a Professor at the Junior Department of the Guildhall School of Music in London, teaching flute and coaching wind chamber groups and has been the Specialist Flute Tutor at Wells Cathedral School for more than 15 years. Lisa is extremely proud to be an artist for Yamaha Classical Division International, playing on her 14k 900Series flute.