Adopt a Music Creator blog: An ethereal atmosphere

Pippa Moore, member of the Reading Youth Orchestra (RYO), reflects on her group's Adopt a Music Creator 2022 collaboration with the Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra (APO) and Caitlin Harrison. 

The 29 October 2022 saw the world premiere of Caitlin Harrison’s From Dawn To Dreams, a piece she had developed during the year and which we had been learning for several months. 

We played the second movement, Rhododendron Bells, in the family concert, which was well received and excellently played, especially by the clarinet soloists. The evening concert saw the premiere of the whole piece, which many members said was unlike any concert they’d previously played in. The atmospheric buzz of premiering a never-before-heard piece, the grandiose venue of the town hall, and the excitement of playing in such a big orchestra with more experienced players and with instruments we’ve never played with before (such as a celeste, and lots of percussion) all contributed to the experience.

'There was an ethereal atmosphere, and I absolutely loved playing in such a large philharmonic orchestra, in front of so many people.' - Nolan, cello

Not only was it a bigger orchestra than most RYO players had ever played in, but it was two orchestras with two different parts that fitted together to make one piece. This was at times difficult to rehearse, with the absence of one orchestra and half the piece, but it meant that when both orchestras came together on the day it was even more magical.

'I had never played a piece with so many different parts for individual instruments. It was really confusing when we were rehearsing on our own, but when we started playing with APO it made so much more sense, and it sounded a lot more interesting. I enjoyed playing my solos which were really fun.' - Seohyeon, violin

One thing in particular we have loved about playing Caitlin’s piece is exploring the different ways of writing music and having to use new techniques. The clarinets were very excited when they realised the second movement was a palindrome (the second half of the duet is the exact reverse of the first, as if you put a mirror in the middle of the music score), and many instruments, including flutes and violins, had their first experience of playing an open canon. 

'It was an extraordinary experience, unlike anything I have ever played before. The opportunity to play a palindromic clarinet duet was somewhat fear-inducing, but an unforgettable moment - definitely the highlight of my clarinet career so far!' - Kate, clarinet

RYO often have guest players and alumni come to play in their larger concerts to fill in missing instruments and to catch up with familiar faces. I am a RYO alumni and love these opportunities to come and play and see all the old and new members having these kind of opportunities and playing with large orchestras for the first time.

Find out more about the Reading Youth Orchestra on their website and follow them on Facebook / Twitter.

Follow Caitlin Harrison on Facebook.

The Adopt a Music Creator project matches vocal and instrumental leisure-time music groups with some of the UK’s most promising music creators to collaborate on creating a new piece of music. The project leads to a premiere performance and possible broadcast. If you’re a music group or music creator and you’d like to take part, find out more.