Good evening gentle readers, it seem an awfully long time ago since we set out for Paris over two weeks ago. In Seventeen days we have travelled thousands of miles by plane, coach, train and shank’s pony. Fifteen concerts have delivered our unique sound to packed houses across France, Austria, Germany and Luxembourg. Two world class soloists have held us in their thrall and of course, at the helm, our friend and Conductor Andris Nelsons has worked his magic bringing the diverse elements of the music into sharp focus.
We have had fun and relaxed on the two free days. We have been tired, sometimes very, but we have always delivered on the night. Players have come and gone, but there has always been a full team and I think we can be proud that we have, if you like, upheld the honour of Birmingham, our home city.
To finish the tour blog I will be having a round up of photos from the whole of the tour, that you haven’t seen yet, but first, having finally caught up with him this morning, I have a small article about Alpesh Chauhan our Inaugural Conducting fellow.
As I mentioned earlier in these pages Alpesh Chauhan has been with us on the tour replacing Mike Seal as Andris’s assistant after Mike left to fulfil other conducting commitments.
Alpesh is the CBSO’s Inaugural Conducting Fellow
He came to us through the CBSO Youth Orchestra Academy, where he took part in conducting master classes with Mike Seal.
Another up and coming conductor who has gone this route is Jamie Phillips, assistant to Sir Mark Elder at the Halle Orchestra and the son of one of our own Horn players Mark.
I asked Alpesh how he had had to prepare for this trip-
“I had to buy all the scores, study them and mark them up, so that I could take over in rehearsal from Andris allowing him to listen from the auditoriums of the different halls you have been playing in.”
With his marked up scores Alpesh also attended the pre tour rehearsals at the CBSO Centre and in Symphony hall. By watching and listening to Andris rehearse he was able, in great detail, to learn Andris’s “ways” of conducting the repertoire for the concerts.
Not only did this give him the opportunity to garner the “nuts and bolts” like tempos, dynamics and rubatos (conductors own subtle tempo changes, not specifically marked in the score) but also to get a feel for Andris’s thoughts about the emotions behind the “dots” and his methods of realising those thoughts musically through the mechanisms of his conducting.
Alpesh tells me he has enjoyed himself greatly whilst with us-
“It was fascinating to be with a professional orchestra on tour, to see how you work and to experience the highs and lows of touring, both musically and socially!” “I’ve learnt from being with you, the speed with which one has to react to differing situations – you have to think and react very quickly, not only when asked to take over a rehearsal but also when listening, so as to give the orchestra, or Andris the right help or information needed at that moment.”
“I’ve learnt, I hope, from Andris, ways in which he achieves the sparkle night after night, even when the repertoire has become very familiar and the orchestra is very tired” “I’ve also enjoyed the social life on tour, the camaraderie and fun that derives from being with a group of musicians travelling together”
I asked Alpesh about his plans for the future-
“Well firstly I have the finals for my masters degree at the RNCM, part of which involves conducting the Manchester Camerata. Then It’s a matter of taking every opportunity I can to develop as a musician and as a conductor. I think it’s very important to do this by continuing to do what I’m already doing- listening to, and watching as many people conducting as I can, putting myself into situations where I’m available and accepting any interesting offer that comes my way!”
We wish him lots of luck, both with the coming exams, and in the long term, we will be seeing him again in the next months during his year as conducting fellow, and I hope in the longer term too!
You can find out a little more about Alpesh’s experiences through the Birmingham Press’ Blog
Well, we are arriving at the finish line!
Today was a long one, setting of at nine we travelled for five hours by coach with a lunch stop at an impossibly small services which was overwhelmed by 80 odd hungry musicians descending on it. On to Luxembourg, chill out, or go into town in the afternoon, or in my case start tonight’s blog and re-assert control over my suitcase!
A short rehearsal preceded by warmly received thanks From Mr Stephen Maddock our CEO, a lovely speech from Andris and then at the end a lovely thanks from Anne-Sophie for all our hard work both with her and the rest of the programs.
A very well received concert, encores all round and flowers from Anne-Sophie to Steven Hudson the principal oboe for his beautiful playing in the slow movement of the concerto. He’s in the photos!
So, as usual my thanks-
Liz Baines for organising it all!
Claire Dersley for being so astonishingly tolerant of a bunch of wayward musicians.
Pete, Rob, Nick Barry and all the other platform staff who work so hard and sometimes literally bend over backwards to help!
Thomas, our guide, friend and general enthusiastic tour guru.
Alpesh Chauhan for assisting Andris and letting me interview him.
Marie – Christine for all the stuff about her flute.
My colleagues for putting up with me poking my nose and camera into their lives and playing so well under tough conditions.
Anybody else who had a special solo part I forgot to mention, you were all magnificent!!!
And finally “THE MAN” Mr Andris Nelsons who always gets the best out of us.
So here are todays pictures and my tour selection.
Signing off till next time.
Good night and God Bless, Julian Robinson your faithful blogger. XXX