Jon Farey’s London Sinfonietta Academy diary

Monday marked the start of this summer’s London Sinfonietta Academy – an intensive week of workshops, masterclasses and rehearsals with brilliant young players auditioned from music colleges across the UK, coached by London Sinfonietta Principal Players.

This year’s course culminates on Sunday 13 July in the public Musicians of Tomorrow performance at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design. Tickets are free and available here but note that advanced booking is essential.

Jon Farey (French horn) is taking part in this year’s Academy and will be writing a daily diary throughout the week. Here’s what he made of his first day…

Day one of the London Sinfonietta Academy! We were all rather in awe of the magnificent facilities at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. No time for many pictures, however, as conductor Pierre-André Valade has us working hard from the start, going into intricate detail with Tansy Davies’s Iris – the solo saxophone part being played impressively by Academy participant Vicky Puttock. Whilst it could have been all too easy to allow the expressive nature of the music to cover over technical inaccuracies, Pierre has us on board to push ourselves and the music to the absolute limits. My favourite quote from him for the day was to ‘play the rests’. All too often in music do we forget that the silence is just as important as the notes played!

After the Clock by John Woolrich saw us through until lunch, when we got to enjoy the wonderful surroundings at Central Saint Martins situated behind the recently renovated Kings Cross station, including the water fountains which we successfully avoided being soaked by.

In the afternoon we worked through Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen’s piece OG (my task for the week is to pronounce his magnificent name correctly) and Richard Causton’s new commission. The most challenging aspect of this work was finding the correct notes on a harmonica… all will be revealed in the final concert on Sunday!

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