Last night we went to a concert by the Southampton Youth Orchestra, their first of the new season. The orchestra is generally considered one of the finest classical youth orchestras in the country.
The concert was held in the very pleasant Turner Sims concert hall on the University of Southampton campus. It’s a small and intimate venue, and we have always found events there enjoyable.
The Southampton Youth Orchestra is the top tier of the classical music orchestras run by Southampton Music Services, part of the city council. Their proud boast has been that no child attending a Southampton local authority school shall be deprived of the opportunity to learn a musical instrument on the grounds of affordability. How long that can last in the present economic environment must be doubtful.
It is fascinating to witness the progress of a child playing in one of the smaller ensembles through to the smaller orchestras and eventually, for those with the ability and persistence, to the top tier, the Youth Orchestra. My granddaughter Daisy is one of the First Violins.
Tonight’s concert opened with a symphonic poem, Vitava, by Smetana. Next was Grieg’s piano concerto in A minor, with a brilliant young soloist, Sotonian Sikun Chen, who also leads the orchestra on violin. Finally, they played Brahms Symphony No 2 in D Major.