From her first ever concert at The Hexagon, to international musician: the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s French horn player Kathryn Saunders reflects on growing up in Reading.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is the Resident Orchestra of The Hexagon and deeply committed to the Reading community through its partnership work with Berkshire Maestros. But the relationship is personal for many of the musicians in the Orchestra who grew up and received their initial training in Reading, such as Philip Woods and Kathryn Saunders, both French horn players.
RPO French horn player Kathryn Saunders remembers her first performance as a member of the South Berkshire Music Centre, part of Berkshire Youth Music Trust, now known as Berkshire Maestros.
“I remember what must have been pretty much my first ever concert, doing a massed beginner brass thing at The Hexagon and thinking it was huge! That was back in about 1987 (showing my age now!). As far as the concert, it must have been quite a right racket with 100 or so beginners. My brother was plugged into his Walkman for the duration!
“Being involved with Berkshire Youth Music Trust while I was growing up was fantastic. I loved Saturdays: Brass Band, Corelli Orchestra (with whom we enjoyed a brilliant tour to Majorca, of all places), and just back home in time for Grandstand. Why did they pull the plug on Grandstand??
I was a member of Reading Youth Orchestra, too. I remember having practise on Friday nights and then half the orchestra piling into The Roebuck after it finished.”
You can hear Kathryn perform as a member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Thursday 31 October, 7.30pm, when the Resident Orchestra will be returning to The Hexagon for its first concert of the Classical Music Alive Season 2019-20, ‘Elgar’s Cello Concerto’.
This concert will be a perfect marriage of English and Italian orchestral favourites opening with Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. The rich variety of layers and textures in the work makes it a powerful curtain-raiser. Continuing in the same theme of lush Romanticism will be Elgar's sublime Cello Concerto, performed by rising star cellist Jamal Aliyev, winner of the Sir Karl Jenkins Music Award 2017. Conductor Valentina Peleggi describes the Concerto as “both glorious and terrifying”.
Mendelssohn's buoyant and cheerful Symphony No.4, ‘Italian’, closes this concert with panache and flair. The Symphony incorporates native dance and folk rhythms and is a charming tribute to how Italy made him feel. Arrive early for a free pre-concert talk about the music in The Hexagon auditorium from 6.30pm.
About the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO):
The RPO has a reputation worldwide for music-making of the highest quality. In 1946, Sir Thomas Beecham set out to create a world-class ensemble from the finest musicians in the country. Beecham envisioned an orchestra that would bring the greatest music to audiences across the world and, to this day, Beecham’s legacy lives on. Over the years, the RPO has become a byword for exceptional quality and versatility, undertaking a diverse range of activities from traditional concerts in concert halls to classical spectaculars and ‘cross-over’ concerts in arenas. The Orchestra is London-based and performs regularly at the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall and Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, as well as undertaking a busy schedule of UK concerts, international tours, recordings for CD, film and television, and community and education work.
Date: Thursday 31 October 2019, 7:30pm
Venue: The Hexagon, Reading
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Fantasia on Theme by Thomas Tallis
ELGAR Cello Concerto
ROSSINI Overture: The Italian Girl in Algiers
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No.4, 'Italian'
Valentina Peleggi Conductor
Jamal Aliyev Cello
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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