- The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra tend to travel to London at least once a year these days. We will be travelling there to perform twice this year. Once in October to play at the Royal Festival Hall and the other occasion was yesterday, to perform at our bi-annual appearance at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms 2013.
- I don’t have a particularly strong pictorial diary of this nice two day trip as I lost my camera phone charger at some point early on in the journey my phone soon died. I was also, therefore, unable to respond to the many messagesI’m sorry Apple, but the batteries on these iPhone 5s are simply not strong enough, but I got some stuff to post here. The photos of the concert are by the fantastic Mark McNulty who accompanies the RLPO everywhere.
- It has been often mentioned on this blog that I was a student at the Royal College of Music. I spent four wonderful years there: meeting some fantastic friends, many of whom have gone on to become some of the best players in the UK and are still professional colleagues. The RCM is situated directly by the Albert Hall and each august institution provides a magnificent view of the other.
- Whilst by the RCM I always try to pop in for a bit of nostalgia. I posted only recently about the legendary Ernest Hall. He was a very famous Principal Trumpet of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and a much revered and respected Professor of Trumpet at The College, so RLPO 2nd trumpet Paul Marsden and I thought we’d go for a look in room 29, the teaching room dedicated to Ernest Hall’s memory.
- There is so much history in this room, but I have recently posted a substantial blog about this only recently, so those interested, please click on the link here for more.
We can even view Ernest Hall’s certificate of competency on the trumpet from his own days as a student there!
From our arrival at London’s Euston Station I made my way on the 52 bus to the Royal Albert Hall with RLPO Associate Principal Horn, David Pigott, and we stopped for lunch just by this amusingly titled cafe, with a musical theme.
We were to have a thorough afternoon rehearsal for the following day’s performance. I currently have a house full of Japanese people back in Liverpool, for various reasons and I was amused to discover that the beer on sale in the Royal Albert Hall Artists’ Cafe/Bar also just happened to be Japanese!
The BBC series of Promenade Concerts is one of the biggest and most important music festivals on the planet and the list of orchestras on display is always very distinguished. Many of the world’s finest orchestras appear. Rehearsing in the morning for their evening performance, after our rehearsal was the BBC Concert Orchestra, offering an exciting programme of film music.
As we finished at six pm the RLPO had a chance to let it’s collective hair down and enjoy the town. Firstly, we headed for the Queen’s Arms, a delightful mews pub close by to meet up with the trumpet section of the BBC Concert Orchestra; Section Leader Kate More, Dave MaCallum and John Blackshaw. This pub is known to musicians as the 99 because the Royal College only used to have 98 rooms in it a long time ago.
These were all students at about the same time as me, but at different conservatoires. Tim Hayward, who was in my year at the Royal College of Music, and Tony Cross were playing trumpet too. It was also nice to meet up with my dear friend and former housemate at the RCM, Julie Ryan. Julie & I were Foundation Scholars at the RCM and both studied with Professor David Mason.
We then travelled over the The Harp, behind the Coliseum Theatre, home to English National Opera. This is a famous pub, regularly voted the best beer in the UK and is frequented by many of London’s musician fraternity. I was able to catch up with Julie, who I had not seen for years and to wait there for my brother, a well known percussion player in London.
The next day I left the hotel early to enjoy the walk through South Kensington to the Royal Albert Hall. The Orchestra de Paris were rehearsing the Saint-Saens ‘organ’ Symphony when I got there, so we went for some lunch and bumped into our Chief Conductor Vasily Petrenko walking down Exhibition Road. Vasily wasn’t there to conduct us, but to lead the performance of his other orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic at the RAH that evening. Although, he was coming to listen to our afternoon gig.
After the concert, was was a tremendous success by the way, we had a couple of hours to kill, so we headed back to the ’99’ to enjoy the sunshine before heading back to Euston to embark on the ‘Liverpool Philharmonic Musical Express’ back to Liverpool.
I have put all news about the concert below, in Catherine Jones’s review with some of Mark McNulty’s photos of the exciting events
Liverpool youngsters centre stage at BBC Proms
West Everton Children’s Orchestra, RLPO and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s children’s choirs perform at Royal Albert Hall
Youngsters from Liverpool received a rousing ovation when they performed to a sell-out Royal Albert Hall as part of this year’s BBC Proms.
The West Everton Children’s Orchestra, made up of pupils from the city’s Faith Primary and other schools, appeared alongside the RLPO and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s children’s choirs at the prestigious London event yesterday.
The Prom, broadcast live on Radio 3, had been the second of the world famous annual summer season to sell-out.
More than 80 RLPO musicians, 140 children and 50 Philharmonic staff and helpers travelled to the Capital by a specially-chartered Virgin Trains Pendolino – dubbed The Liverpool Philharmonic Music Express – on Saturday, returning on another special service late last night.
And around 300 parents and supporters also made the journey to the Royal Albert Hall for the family matinee concert We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
Others listened at home on the radio.
In Harmony violinist and percussionist Louise Currie, 10, who goes to Faith Primary, said: “My favourite bit was Pirates of the Caribbean because I was on the bass drum, and it was loud! It was really exciting to be on stage. I feel very proud of myself.”
Joe Houghton, 11, from Crosby, who has sung in the Philharmonic youth choir for four years, added: “I was a bit nervous, but then I’ve heard if you aren’t nervous it’s not normal!”
The programme was based on former children’s Laureate Michael Rosen’s much-loved children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and was presented by the 67-year-old.
Speaking during a rehearsal at the Philharmonic Hall on Friday he said: “This is my first Prom. I think what appealed is that it’s gladiatorial – like the Coliseum.
“The young people are wonderful. There’s a tremendous buzz coming from them.”
The Phil and In Harmony performed works by composers including Tchaikovsky, Elgar, Britten, Grieg and Shostakovich, in addition to original music by Merseyside composer Ian Stephens, while Horrid Henry illustrator Tony Ross, who studied art in Liverpool, drew pictures live on a big screen in the hall.
The concert was conducted by Matthew Coorey, although the RLPO’s chief conductor Vasily Petrenko – who is set to perform at the Proms with the Oslo Philharmonic tonight, was among the audience.
Among other supporters at the concert was cellist Julian Lloyd Webber who is the patron of the In Harmony project in the UK.
The scheme, inspired by Venezuela’s Il Sistema, gives every pupil at participating schools the chance to learn an instrument and play music every day.
Mr Lloyd Webber said: “When we sat through all these sometimes boring committee meetings at the start of In Harmony, this is always the day that we dreamed of – that we would see the children on stage at the Royal Albert Hall.
“It brings a lump to the throat.”
Peter Garden, Liverpool Philharmonic’s executive director (learning), added: “In Harmony Liverpool is just four years old which means our children have only been learning to play their instruments for the duration of the project or even less time. For all these children to be part of a sold-out BBC Prom was the most amazing and unforgettable experience.”