March is a busy time for our players, several of whom are performing in the Mid Somerset Festival, as soloists, duos, quartets and ensembles. It is always a thrill to see young players rise to the challenge of public performance, and to receive such lovely feedback about their playing and presentation.
It was a particular honor to receive the Jennifer Paterson Award for 'most promising chamber group' across all 9 chamber music classes.
Our inaugural half term course saw fifty children aged 4 - 14 join us for two days of playing and composition, looking at musical form. We looked at Rondo form and Theme and Variations, using Purcell's Rondeau from Abdelazar and Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra as our inspiration. The resulting compositions were a joy to hear, with each player contributing their creativity, whatever their level of experience on their instrument.
See more photos of the course here...
It was a joy and a privilege to take a group of twenty two young players to perform at St George's Hall, Bristol on Tuesday 5th February, and to receive the St George's Prize for Music 2018.
Head of Education at St George's Bristol, Catherine Freda, said: “What incredible talent and superb musicianship - the sheer enjoyment these young players obviously felt when performing just lit up the hall. And what an inspiration for the newer players to be able to perform side by side with the more experienced players. Bath Strings Academy is a worthy recipient of the St George’s Prize for Music 2018, and is a superb example of what young people can achieve with the right support and encouragement.”
We also received some lovely coverage of the event in the Bath Chronicle.
Our first workshop of the year was our 'Mystery and Intrigue' workshop, in which we studied how composers for stage and screen use particular devices to manipulate our emotions. Mancini's The Pink Panther and Hermann's Psycho (AKA The Scary Cat) provided the perfect vehicles for this. Our players enjoyed getting their fingers around the chromaticism, rhythmic challenges and precise articulation required to build a sense of mystery, intrigue and fear.
It was especially good to welcome new players whose horizons were broadened with techniques such as col legno, sul ponticello and slap pizzicato.
Marking the centeneries of the end of World War 1 and the beginning of Womens' Suffrage in the UK, we were joined by Scordatura Women's Music Collective to explore music written by women.
"This was the best workshop ever!" (9 yr-old cellist)