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 around the world, coached by our London Sinfonietta Principal Players.

The course culminates on Saturday 11 July in a public Musicians of Tomorrow performance at LSO St Lukes. Tickets are free but advance booking is essential.

We asked participants Emma Halnan and Matthew Scott to divulge their experience of the Academy day-by-day, throughout this busy and exciting week. Here’s what Emma made of yesterday:


This morning, the London Sinfonietta Academy met as an ensemble for the first time, at the Trinity Laban Studios in Greenwich. Being one of two flautists in the Academy, I am not playing in every piece (we share the parts out!). As such, I was able to watch the first rehearsal this morning. Our brilliant conductor, Pierre-André Valade, got to work straight away with Mark Simpson’s 2011 work Straw Dogs. He concentrated on integrating the group as an ensemble, and discussed how the relationship between conductor and ensemble changes depending on the number of players. After an initial run-through, Pierre-André broke Straw Dogs down into sections to work on the finer details. The ensemble sounded brilliant; I couldn’t wait to play with them later in the day!

Emma Day One

We are very fortunate to have numerous London Sinfonietta players present at our rehearsals; their advice, knowledge and experience is invaluable. Today the tutors were Principal Bassoonist John Orford, Principal Clarinetist Mark van de Wiel, Principal Percussionist David Hockings, Principal Bassist Enno Senft and violinist Miranda Fulleylove. After a short break, John led a sectional for the winds. The piece is really coming together; I can’t wait to hear the final performance at the concert on Saturday.

In the afternoon, the strings had sectionals while we began work on Milhaud’s Chamber Symphony No.5 for Ten Winds. Valade lead this rehearsal. We had time to really explore every corner of the piece, and develop a strong understanding of Milhaud’s style.

All in all, a successful first day! I am very much looking forward to starting work on Ligeti and Turnage tomorrow morning…

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