Sixth-Form musicians’ Special Invitation to the Final Orchestral Rehearsal at Sage Gateshead with Julian Rachlin

Through a link recently set up by the College Music Department, A Level Music students from Years 12 and 13 were offered the rare opportunity to observe an orchestral rehearsal at the Sage on Friday 9 March. A Lithuanian-born violinist, violist and conductor, but resident in Vienna, rehearsed for the concert with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the UK’s only full-time chamber orchestra, based at the Sage Gateshead. This was the final rehearsal before the evening concert which was broadcast live on Radio 3.

Julian Rachlin clearly lives and breathes Viennese music! We were treated to seeing him conduct Beethoven’s stormy ‘Coriolan Overture’, then as violin soloist (and conductor) in Mozart’s well-loved ‘Violin Concerto in A’, as well as viola soloist in Bruch’s delightful ‘Romance’.

These Viennese greats possessed a mastery of structure and orchestration, a command of tone colour and an expertise in melodic development. We were captivated by the beauty of the sonorities of the Sinfonia as they supported Julian in his solos; but the experience of actually being present in the rehearsal – as these professionals stopped, discussed and corrected fine musical details – was something we will treasure forever.

Some of us loved it so much we tuned into Radio 3 on Friday to relive the experience.