“… it looks like he has no idea what he’s doing.”

Vladimir Jurowski, principal conductor for the London Philharmonic Orchestra, has caught my attention today. Or rather, a comment from one of his followers on YouTube.

Honestly, when I see Jurowski conduct it looks like he has no idea what he’s doing… Kyle Tomlinson 2015

I quite like this comment because I think it is true to some extent. I think Jurowski has a total grasp of the music, as exemplified in this short extract below with the OAE performing Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. He is completely involved, and yet looks like he is taking inspiration from the musicians themselves. The reason some might say he has no idea is because he seems open to the thought that the performance can be a fresh experience. It makes me feel alive when I watch this in a conductor, and is so inspiring as a young professional.

Partners in Education

Yesterday I had the privilege of conducting Orchestra Vitae at a concert organised by the orchestras’ primary sponsor and education partner: The Foundation for International Education (FIE).

FIE hosts hundreds of international students who experience a unique study-abroad programme in London. The foundation has a strong focus on the arts, and every student in the Fall semester is invited to a special “Welcome to London” concert.

Cue Orchestra Vitae!

Edinburgh_Fringe_FIE_Ad

The beginning of a journey

Today it begins.

I’ve been talking endlessly about my plans to move to France to literally anyone who will listen to me. Up until now however, I have done very little to take action. Today is the turning point.

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A view of the Rhône

With two months to go, I’m going to document my plans, experiences and ideas with the readers of this blog. (Aren’t you lucky?)

Did you know: Lyon is the food capitol of France?

Prochain arrêt: Lyon

Day 1 of a contemporary opera

Never before has a Friday evening felt more like a Monday morning. Picture 50+ young adults in a giant opera studio spending their evening, amongst other things, running, rolling, shouting, jumping and singing. The Welsh National Youth Opera is in session!

This brief yet upbeat ice-breaker of a rehearsal was the first in a 6 month schedule that will finally lead to the performance of Kommilitonen!, an opera centred around three separate stories of students who fight against prejudice, racism, oppression and genoside. 

  

Learning how to bark orders at your loyal followers was a new experience for some of the cast. Likewise, learning how to follow meaningless and mundane orders was equally challenging for a conductor such as myself. These ranged from “kneel on the floor and pray” to “prance like a pony… Do it seriously”. It was an interesting test of human obedience and dominance. 

Needless to say, the next 6 months will be eye opening, action packed and extremely exciting as I yet again experience something completely different. Roll on #WNOKom

Conducting Orchestra Vitae

October is going to be a very special month.

Rewind to NYE 2011 (almost 4 years ago!); Fiona​ and I sat on a hill in London and spoke about getting an orchestra together to perform one of our favourite works: Brahms Symphony No.1. We had an audience of 97, and a burning enthusiasm to keep the ball rolling. Orchestra Vitae had begun!

We quickly developed our aims and objectives, which stand true almost 4 years later. We inject a spark into the classical concert experience. Our aim is to inspire non-musicians to come to love the concert hall, and challenge their pre-conception of 21st Century music.

In just 3 years this energetic orchestra have worked tirelessly to produce concerts throughout London and beyond, every time focusing on the goal of “injecting life into performance.”

A few things we’re proud of:

  • Being part of the TEDx Albertopolis​ conference at the Royal Albert Hall​
  • Performing at the Royal Festival Hall with Wimbledon Choral Society to an audience of over 2,000.
  • Developing a longstanding relationship with our education partner: Foundation for International Education.
  • Forming a lasting residency at St John’s Smith Square​
  • Working with an entire primary school in Wandsworth on a brand new outreach program

These achievements could not have happened without the dedication of our performers and our audiences, and the support of our kind donors and management team. The entire operation is continuously growing, and there are very exciting projects in the pipeline.

Why is October special?

Having started this adventure with Brahms’ 1st Symphony, we’ve gradually made our way through the second and third, as well as the magnificent Ein Deutches Requiem. Brahms is somewhat of a passion if you hadn’t already guessed!

The 2015/16 season kicks off with something close to my heart. The 4th Symphony is a masterpiece; it is the most progressive of all 4 symphonies, and yet keeps the heartfelt warmth so characteristic of Brahms. I am excited and yet terrified!

We’re looking ahead.

One of our biggest goals is to perform the works of living British composers. This season we’re engaging with Martin Butler, performing his Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Strings. The international saxophonist John Harle will join us on stage on the 15th October, you won’t want to miss it!

Can you help?

With such big aspirations, and a host of previous experience, Orchestra Vitae has one more goal that is central to our development. We will pay all of our musicians for the work they do. We hire freelance professionals, and we expect them to perform with life and enthusiasm. This cannot happen without adequate payment. As an orchestra, we don’t yet pay the recommended wage, but we constantly strive to reach it.

We are running a funding campaign!

If you would like to help us as an orchestra, the easiest way is to help us reach our funding target of £3000. Please see our kickstarter campaign. You are helping us develop, and reach out to more in the community. You are supporting the arts in a time of great need.

Thank you.

Acacella – the Royal Welsh Cello Orchestra!

Acacella

As a first-study cellist I am naturally over the moon that the newly-formed cello ensemble Acacella have asked me to conduct their next concert at College. With over 20 of these fantastic instruments performing together in the Dora Stoutzker concert hall, this banquet of cellos will provide a feast of music old and new.

Come and watch Acacella in concert on Monday 16th February at 13.15 at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama