London Sinfonietta Academy

It’s always exciting to be involved with something new and so I was thrilled to help with the planning and running of London Sinfonietta’s first ever Academy. From 2 – 4 July 2009, London Sinfonietta held an intensive three-day course of rehearsals and workshops for auditioned instrumentalists which culminated in a performance of Birtwistle’s Silbury Air and Takemitsu’s Rain Coming. The course was an opportunity for young musicians to gain key experience and training in core contemporary repertoire, with coaching from some of the London Sinfonietta’s Principal Players and renowned conductor Elgar Howarth. As the Graduate Trainee in the office, I helped out Judith, our project manager with the organisation of the three days.

Although our timing may not have been perfect, it came hot on the heels of student end of year exams and, as one of our principal players pointed out, it clashed with Wimbledon! –there was a real buzz in the office about this project and the response from everyone involved had been extremely enthusiastic.

After many weeks of planning, preparation, phone calls and emails it was fantastic to finally meet all the Academy students on the first of 3 days of rehearsals and workshops. Everyone was incredibly friendly and all were delighted to be working with Elgar Howarth and a number of London Sinfonietta principal players, who were constantly on hand to advise, answer questions and lead sectionals. A particular highlight for me was watching a percussion workshop led by LS Principal percussionist David Hockings – learning about the process of preparing for a concert as a percussionist was a real eye-opener!

 I looked forward to the culminating performance of Birtwistle’s Silbury Air and Takemitsu’s Rain Coming with much anticipation having watched the extraordinary work that had gone into rehearsals. I wasn’t disappointed – it was simply electrifying! The general feeling afterwards was that this had been a unique, valuable and unforgettable experience – we all just wish it had been longer…

Sarah Harvey

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