The Ulster Youth Orchestra held its annual Play-in Day on Saturday 13th February 2016 at the City of Belfast School of Music. The day ran from 10am to 4pm and brought together 52 young musicians from across Northern Ireland for a day of rehearsals led by conductor Adam Cooke, himself a previous member of UYO now working full time as a professional musician and conductor.
To tie in with the BBC Ten Pieces Project, the Ulster Youth Orchestra chose Bizet’s Carmen Suites No.1 and 2 as its study repertoire and players worked hard throughout the afternoon with conductor Adam Cooke to get the music up to performance standard and ready for an informal concert to an audience of family and friends. 3:30pm arrived and 100 family and friends of the young players arrived at the City of Belfast School of Music to watch them perform. The orchestra, despite having only met that morning, gave exciting and accomplished performances of Bizet’s Carmen Suite’s No.1 and 2; full of expression and character throughout which were met with generous and enthusiastic applause. The day was a great opportunity for players to meet up with old friends and make some new ones whilst rehearsing and performing some enjoyable yet challenging repertoire all while showcasing and developing their talents. An article on BBC Radio Ulster’s Classical Favourites with John Toal was broadcast on Sunday 21st February, featuring audio clips from the rehearsal and interviews with Paula Klein, General Manager, Sarah White, UYO 2016 leader and clarinettist Robbie Marrs. The UYO is also featured on the BBC Ten Pieces website as a local Champion of the project with a write-up of our involvement.