Bath and Northeast Somerset’s county youth orchestra, the Schools’ Philharmonic Orchestra, recently found out that it had been selected to perform in the finals of the National Festival of Music for Youth.
They will join B&NES Saxophone Quartet, Saxation, and Bath Strings Academy’s junior string quartet, Quartettino, in Birmingham at the beginning of July to take part in the biggest music festival in the country.
The three Bath-based groups were selected from over 40,000 young people who took part in regional selection events during February and March. Music for Youth mentor Patrick Bailey, who assessed the performances, commended the orchestra on their “clarity and sensitivity” and full, rich sound in “an excellent performance”.
Bailey, who is an acclaimed conductor and music educator, had the following praise for Saxation: “Superb! A lovely ensemble… you play with dexterity and a lightness of touch not always heard in sax ensembles. Bravo.”
Of Bath Strings Academy’s Quartettino he added, “Wow. You play with finesse and musicianship (and quality of sound) that belies your (presumably) tender years! I am seriously impressed and I marvel at your potential.”
Head of Bath and Northeast Somerset Music Service, Rainer Dolz, was delighted by the news. “We are thrilled that the groups have been selected to perform at the National Festival. The orchestra performed in Birmingham in 2017, and it is rare that the same group is invited back two years running. It is testament to the hard work and dedication of these young musicians that they have achieved this fantastic outcome.”
Violin tutor, Ruth O’Shea, added, “We want to share this incredible experience with as many young people as possible. Having the opportunity to play at Symphony Hall, the prestigious home of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, is something that they will never forget. Seeing the excitement on the players’ faces when they found out they had been selected was wonderful. That’s why we’re offering the exciting opportunity for a group of violinists to join them for this major event.”