The start of my year is usually busy with concerts for younger audiences, filling the post Christmas lull. 2019 has been no different in respect, reaching over 2000+ young ears with five concerts. In addition to OCYO at the Sheldonian Theatre [3 concerts, 25 Jan], I enjoyed leading another instalment of the annual City of Southampton orchestra Family Concerts [2 concerts, 19 Jan]. ‘Musical Beasts’ was a unique concert collaboration between orchestra, composer, and – interestingly – an artist!
James Mayhew, author and illustrator, created live artworks while the orchestra played. Featuring a piece written specifically for this purpose, Bernard Hughes’s The Knight Who Took All Day, James also drew responses to music from The Lord of the Rings, and Stravinsky’s ‘final hymn’ from The Firebird. Phil Cheeseman, a now staple feature in this event, narrated, and the programme also included an audience Q+A, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, Menkin Beauty and the Beast, and Powell How to Train Your Dragon.