Play-in Day, Sunday 16th Feb

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October 1, 2019
March 13, 2020

Play-in Day, Sunday 16th Feb

The Ulster Youth Orchestra (UYO) held its annual Play-in Day on Sunday 16th February 2020 at the Music Department of Queen’s University, Belfast.

The annual Play-in Day was developed out of an idea from a former member to give all applicants a positive experience post audition.  Not everyone will be successful at audition but those who show an interest should be offered the chance to come and meet their peers, enjoy playing challenging repertoire and find out more about UYO.

The day ran from 1pm to 6pm and brought together 50 young musicians for a day of sectionals, tutti rehearsals and short concert for family and friends.

The orchestra was conducted by Daniel Palmizio

Daniel Palmizio began his musical studies at the Santa Cecilia conservatoire in Rome studying viola, and graduated from the Royal College of Music in London. After leaving the role of Principal Viola in the Philharmonia Orchestra in London he focused on conducting and in the next season will conduct the Orchestra Regionale Toscana, the Filarmonica del Regio di Torino and the Filarmonica Pescarese in a performance of Mahler 1st Symphony.

We were delighted to have Daniel with us for the Play in Day as he will be the rehearsal conductor for the 2020 course.

After the first run through the orchestra split into two for sectional rehearsals.  Daniel, as a viola player, looked after the strings and Stephen Cairns tutored the wind, brass and percussion.

Stephen is the Retired Head of Music at Belfast High School High School and conducts the First Old Boys Brass Band. As a trombonist he performs regularly with Festival Brass, Belfast Pops Orchestra and many other ensembles.

Student Feedback

“Stephen Cairns was good with a clear beat and an enjoyable attitude to both participants and the music, as well as the event.”

“Daniel was very helpful during the rehearsals. He was most encouraging and all of his comments were useful.”

“A violist so I loved him! It was very good to get a flavour of what the summer will hold for us with Daniele (Rustioni).”


Tchaikovsky               Valse from Sleeping Beauty Suite

Borodin                      Prince Igor Overture

Khachaturian             Galop from Masquerade Suite

These pieces were chosen to ensure that all sections of the orchestra had enough material to play and that principal players were given the opportunity to display their talents through solo passages.  The difficulty of the pieces was balanced against the length of time available to rehearse to ensure an enjoyable day for all and both pieces were full of accessible tunes to engage the audience.

Student feedback

“I definitely enjoyed the pieces chosen and thought each presented a good challenge without being frustrating.”

(The music was) challenging but rewarding when we played it.”

 “Yea there was a good variety of pieces that weren’t too hard for the players but were still interesting to play. “

At 4.30pm parents and friends were invited along to a Cake and Coffee Fundraiser in the McMordie Hall at Queen’s.  This gave parents a chance to meet the Ulster Youth Orchestra’s staff and other families in an informal setting.  A Book Fair was also held, for the first time, as a fundraising suggestion from our student representation on the UYO Board.

The Cake Sale and Book Fair raised a total of £245.

Family feedback

“Having a fundraising cake sale was a great idea.”

“I enjoyed meeting other parents during the tea and cake sale. This was a nice idea for parents to have a chance to chat.”

The concert performance was extremely well received and parents remarked, on leaving, how much they had enjoyed the experience.

“We absolutely loved the choice of music. I particularly loved the last piece – Galop.”

“I thought it was a nice ice-breaker. Especially for the new musicians.”

Stephen Cairns said, “I very much enjoyed working with the young musicians and was really impressed with their commitment, focus and level of concentration. The progress made in such a short time was really very impressive.”

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.

Student Feedback

“I liked the fact that it wasn’t all about the quality of the music; it was about getting to know the other players before the project in August.”

“Really enjoyed meeting everyone and being able to play together.”

“I enjoyed the variety in the music and found the experience very rewarding. A good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.”

“All of the UYO staff were very welcoming and I enjoyed all aspects of the event.”

The performance in the Harty Room at Queen’s

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