On Monday 6th April the Ulster Youth Orchestra partnered with the Ulster Orchestra for an exclusive open rehearsal with UO Chief Conductor Rafael Payare.
Students arrived at the Ulster Hall on Monday 6th April 13:50pm and were greeted by Fiona McDonnell of the Ulster Orchestra team who led them up to the choir stalls of the upper balcony in the Ulster Hall where the young people were given the unique and exciting opportunity to watch the Ulster Orchestra rehearse under the baton of conductor Rafael Payare. The rehearsal began at 2pm with students having full view of Rafael and the UO as they began work on their programme of Beethoven – Symphony No.1 and Beethoven – Egmont Overture. Rafael began rehearsing the Symphony and immediately caught the young people’s attention with his dynamic and charismatic style of conducting and directing. It was clear to see the young people were thoroughly enjoying and relishing the chance to see a professional Orchestra at work with many taking notes on the behind the scenes action they had been granted access to. After the Symphony was polished players and students broke for tea and coffee before rehearsals began on the Egmont Overture which finished around 5pm and meant it was time for the Ulster Youth Orchestra members to meet and find out more about UO chief conductor Rafael Payare. Rafael greeted the excited and inquisitive students who were all eager to have their chance to meet and ask him anything. The young musicians asked questions about Rafael’s favourite music, methods of conducting, his background as a young musician and French Horn player, what led him to take up the baton and his journey from Venezuela to Belfast. This was a rare treat for our lucky eleven to meet one of the most exciting emerging conductors up close and personal and watch a professional Orchestra at work.
“The experience was very inspiring and it made me feel more convinced that I would like to be part of a professional orchestra when I finish my academic career.” “Overall it was a wonderful experience and I would appreciate the opportunity to attend similar events in the future. Thank you for the hard work you have put in.” “Being able to see and hear the music from the conductor’s point of view is truly fascinating. It was nice to hear his interpretation of the different pieces. I was allowed to experience new sounds in harmony and melody that have opened up areas of my mind that will help me in such aspects as composition and with music as an academic subject.” “I feel that listening to an orchestra in concert is great but what is even better is getting to hear them rehearse because in those few hours you get to know the orchestra – how they play together and the individual players themselves. You are able to see a range of different techniques and styles and learn and absorb these things. Because I am interested in playing in an orchestra for a career that has been insightful and I have been allowed to understand further how and what takes place in a professional and highly experienced orchestra.”