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We’re in the middle of this year’s London Sinfonietta Academy – an intensive week of workshops, masterclasses and rehearsals with brilliant young musicians, coached by our London Sinfonietta Principal Players.

At the end of the week the participants present the fruits of their labours: a captivating performance of the best contemporary music led by internationally renowned conductor Thierry Fischer. Book your free ticket here.

Participant and Flautist Angus Lee gives us the lowdown on day three:

‘Many of us are saddened by the absence of Thierry Fischer, who was unfortunately taken ill on Day 2 and announced that he must regrettably cancel his engagement with this summer’s London Sinfonietta Academy. To the surprise of the many of us, the Academy management team has already secured a replacement – the French conductor and composer Diego Masson.

CAM00244[1]A protégé of Pierre Boulez while working as a percussionist at the ensemble Domaine Musical, Diego Masson brings with him a lifetime of experience to the Academy and has proven himself this morning to be a real master. Having accepted the invitation to replace Thierry Fischer at such short notice, Maestro Masson only received the scores of the pieces late yesterday evening, and yet his tutti rehearsals today in John Adams’ Chamber Symphony and Tristan Murail’s Le Lac are immaculate and inspiring on equal terms. Despite the Maestro turning 81 this year, these sessions are surprisingly energetic and humorous.

FIMG_3052or the second half of our afternoon session we moved on to sectional rehearsals, working from where Diego left off and perfecting intricate details of each piece. Led by London Sinfonietta principal bassoonist John Orford, we ploughed through some of the most treacherous and gruesome passages of Le Lac, a piece that combines rapid microtonal inflections with unconventional rhythmic proportions and configurations. Under John’s guidance, as well as other players from London Sinfonietta including saxophonist Simon Haram, we slowly but steadily worked towards perfecting even the most difficult sections of this virtuosic piece.

We have had to rework our schedule, so as of today we have yet to have a full rehearsal of Boulez’s Éclat – arguably the most challenging piece on the programme. Nevertheless, I very much look forward to rehearsing and working on the piece with Diego in the coming two days, and with courage and audacity, we can certainly have the piece ready.’

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