The Virtuosi of Houston play Chichester

Coming to Chichester
Coming to Chichester

The University of Chichester Symphony Orchestra joins forces with the Virtuosi of Houston for a concert of British and American music in Chichester Cathedral on Saturday, March 18 at 7.30pm.

Regarded as one of the best youth orchestras in the world, the Virtuosi of Houston will combine with the Chichester performers to offer Eric Coates: London Suite; George Gershwin: Porgy and Bess and Symphonic Picture; and Gustav Holst: The Planets (selection).

The conductors will be one British and two American: Crispin Ward, Franz Krager and Andrzej Grabiec.

Crispin, senior lecturer in orchestral studies at the University of Chichester, said: “I do quite a lot of work in America, and they made contact with me and asked if we could do something together, and so we are doing this joint concert.

“They are a very, very high-functioning youth orchestra from Texas. They are the conservatoire-style orchestra there. They are about 58 in number, and we are 65, so it is going to be enormous. They are coming to us for three days beforehand when we will be rehearsing together. They will have rehearsed and we will have rehearsed, and then we will come together. When you are talking about big groups, there will be some compromises as we find out how to make it work, but we did a joint concert last year in Chicago, which was just amazing. This will be on a similar basis.

“It is really useful to get an idea of how other people work. When I go around the world conducting, I always find that different orchestras have different approaches and different attitudes and different ideas, different ways of working. For instance, in France, they have a lot more rehearsals while in Britain we work a lot quicker. We have to be very good at sight-reading here. In France, there is more time. But I suspect the difference between Texas and Chicago will be as great as the difference between us and Italy. It is going to be very interesting. We did a joint concert in New Orleans four years ago. They were a very high-functioning group, but we had more orchestral experience. They were far more used to working as soloists but we really did hold our own because of our orchestral experience.

“Also, working with different conductors is very good. If you have only ever worked with Crispin, you might be in for a shock when you work with someone else. It is really good for students to see the differences.”

The goal of the Virtuosi of Houston is the education and development of young talented musicians into true professionals, who would be sought after by the premier conservatories and who would pursue a musical career as performers, educators and advocates of classical music, says spokeswoman Zarine Boyce.

“Virtuosi provides the opportunity for every talented youth in the Houston area, regardless of race, religion or income to receive the best education in the field of classical music so that they are competitive in their objective to be music professionals. As a chamber orchestra, with only 50-60 musicians, Virtuosi of Houston makes it possible for each musician to experience increased confidence, leadership, responsibility and performance skills to move their own musical ability to a higher level. Virtuosi of Houston was formed to create a pre-professional climate and performance opportunities for Houston’s most focused young musicians (11-18 years of age).”

Tickets £10, £8 concessions on www.ticketsource.co.uk

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