Thursday 20 September 2012

From bow to baton - Rachael Young's Cadogan Hall debut

Rachael Young
Rachael Young has played cello in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music and moved to the UK to study cello with William Pleeth and Moray Welsh. But at the same time she was interested in moving from behind a cello and onto the conductor's podium. Since 2007 she has been doing masterclasses with conductors such as Neeme Jarvi and for the last three years has been studying with Leonid Grin (Paavo Jarvi's former teacher and Leonard Bernstein's assistant in the 1980's). Now she is making her Cadogan Hall debut on 23 November, conducting the Russian Virtuosi of Europe.

The Russian Virtuosi of Europe is an ensemble of some of the best Russian trained players  in London; 23 November will be their first performance with Rachel Young. The programme concludes with Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, but manages to avoid going the familiar hackneyed masterworks route, by including Shostakovitch's engaging first Piano Concerto (premiered in 1933 with the composer at the piano) and starting the concert with Schnittke's Moz-Art a la Haydn. Schnittke's work takes the violin part from a Mozart piece, (the rest of Mozart's music has not survived) and plays with it, adding and subtracting, moving the players round. Schnittke said of the first version of the piece,  'To be quite honest, this is above all a musical joke, a humorous collage of Mozart’s music. I was then especially concerned with showing the playful atmosphere (which is so common in Mozart’s music) – in other words, to create an image of this characteristic feature of Mozartian style.'

Young's training with Grin, and her recent experience conducting ensembles like the St Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra and  Kharkov Philharmonic Orchestra would seem to give her a good background in the Russian style and aesthetic. It will be interesting to hear the effects at the Cadogan Hall on 23 November, and good to welcome another woman into a profession which is still rather male dominated.

Further information from the Cadogan Hall website.

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