Annual Concert 2023


9th April 2023

Perth Youth Orchestra returned from its annual Music Camp at Dounans, Aberfoyle, to give a dazzling concert at Perth Concert Hall on Easter Sunday. Under the baton of Mr Allan Young, Perth and Kinross’ Coordinator of Instrumental Music, the young musicians demonstrated their finest playing throughout the varied programme.

A rousing performance of Johann Strauss’ Radetzky March opened the concert and revealed an extra strong trumpet section – but there was reason for this. All was carefully balanced, despite the smaller than usual strings section. The cellist were in shortest supply – but the quality more than made up for the quantity.

It is traditional for PYO to audition its soloists from its own ranks each year. The programme lists the many illustrious musicians who have gone before them over the past 50 years. Auditions take place in late February/ early March – and the outcome gives the orchestra with their greatest challenge of the year. Hiring the orchestral parts and then learning them. This year there was just one week to bring the performances up to standard!

In the first of two concerto items, Crieff High School’s Andrew Hart, flute, was the soloist in the Mozart Concert in G. With his masterful and expressive playing, Andrew, PYO’s principal flautist, made it all sound so easy. The orchestral accompaniment was sensitive and precise. Earlier in the year, Andrew was the winner of Perform in Perth’s Premier Trophy – a competition for the best of all Festival’s instrumental Open Classes.

Lord of the Rings is an orchestra favourite – appearing in its repertoire every three of four years. A favourite too with percussion section since they get to use almost every toy in their box! In contrast to a very full orchestral sounds Chloe Moodie, Perth Grammar School, rose from her desk in the 1st violins to perform, ‘In Dreams’, before the music’s finale echoed to its climax.

In the second part, it was the turn of the orchestra’s leader, Niamh Clark from Kinross High School, to take up the role of soloist. Niamh’s playing of Haydn’s Concerto in G for Violin in orchestra was accompanied by warm tones from the orchestra’s strings sections. Niamh’s beautifully confident playing culminated in a breathtaking cadenza.

Both Andrew and Niamh had earlier been presented with the D. Eoin Bennet Award on recognition of their solo roles. Mr D. Eoin Bennet was the orchestra’s conductor for over 30 years.

The symphonic sounds of Georges Bizet’s L’Arlesienne No. 2 Suite held something for every section in the orchestra. Amongst the musicians with a special part to play, Hazel Martin, flute, from Breadalbane Academy, Aberfeldy. Hazel delighted the appreciative audience with a series of really charming solos.

In a Tribute to the Big Band, Mr Young unveiled the real purpose of the the extra brass and wind players on stage! Perth and Kinross Big Band had not been able to have its own Music Camp this year – due to the gradual re-awakening after the Covid years. The Big Band will be making an appearance during the Perth Festival of the Arts in May and, as an appetiser both for the audience and the musicians themselves, PYO’s annual concert finished on a high note.

Well done to all the musicians, to the tutor staff and to Mr Allan Young.

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