Thursday, 2 April 2015

Grainger, Chin and Bartok on tour with 163 young people and one brave conductor

Members of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain
Members of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain
The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain has come up with a terrific programme for its next concert tour, at the Sage Gateshead (9 April), Victoria Hall, Stoke on Trent (10 April) and finishing on Saturday 11 April 2015 at the Royal Festival Hall. Conducted by the Israeli conductor Ilan Volkov, the orchestra will be performing a new commission from the Korean composer Unsuk Chin, Mannequin, Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra and Percy Grainger's The Warriors.

Percy Grainger started writing The Warriors in 1913 after discussions with Sir Thomas Beecham who was, at the time, co-ordinating a visit by Diaghilev's Ballet Russes. The surviving orchestral work The Warriors seems not to have been a ballet, but a compositional experiment by Grainger to see if he could write 'danceable music' and it was intended that it would later be drawn on for the ballet itself (which remained unwritten). It is a big work, written for a huge orchestra (including 13 percussion players and 3 pianos) and has always rather divided critics, so you now get a welcome chance to see and hear for yourself.

Volkov is the former chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and is currently their principal guest conductor and has recently finished his contract as chief conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra (after leading them in their BBC Proms debut).

Volkov and the orchestra perform the programme at the Sage Gateshead (9 April), Victoria Hall, Stoke on Trent (10 April) and Royal Festival Hall (11 April).

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