Jonathan Bekes
Posted by Jonathan Bekes
Sunday 14th February, 2016
February Season: Blog 3   

The Australian Youth Orchestra February Season has come to an exhilarating close with our final concert in the concert hall at QPAC. What a privilege it has been to be part of such an incredible group of people and what a pleasure it was to bring this amazing music to life. The final concert draws ten days of tutorials, sectionals, rehearsals and performance to a close. The final concert of an AYO program is a bittersweet thing. It is great because it brings together and showcases our hard work from the last couple of weeks but unfortunately, it brings such an amazing time to a close - well almost, one more night’s festivities are awaiting.

The concert itself was an incredible experience. As I walked on stage I could feel the excitement in the air - not only from the orchestra but also from the packed-out venue. The lights dimmed, our conductor Alexandre Bloch strode across the stage and the concert began. It has been such a pleasure working with Alexandre this week. His ideas are so fresh and the energy he injects into the orchestra brings electricity to our performance: and tonight was no exception! Kodály's Dances of Galánta really came alive bursting with folk dances and rollicking vitality - credit to Ollie Schumacher with his clarinet solos.

Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.2 is such an incredible piece and ex-Brisbanite Max Foster took the audience on an unforgettable journey tonight. I was lucky enough to sit opposite him in performance and to hear his playing. But being so close I could also see and feel the expression and sensitivity in his music. And WOW, what a lot of notes!! Sometimes I’m very glad I play cello where I’ve only got one line to worry about.

Our final piece for the evening was a selection from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet: Suite. This work was perfect for the Valentine’s Day setting. One of my highlights of the program was seeing the development of this piece from our rehearsal until the final concert. The work presents a considerable challenge to all instruments in many different aspects and performing it to the standard we did tonight made me very proud to be part of the AYO. 

This might be the end of the February Season for 2016 but the rest of the year is looking very exciting. AYO’s upcoming tour to The Netherlands, Germany and China in July/August is going to be an awesome experience and judging from the music making, personalities and friendships forged in this February season it is going to be an incredible tour.