Young Ambassadors Forum #2: Seona Glen

Stirling's Young Ambassador, Seona Glen, describes the second Young Ambassadors Forum and Oundjian Conducts Walton, Thu 6th Feb at Perth Concert Hall. 
On Thursday 6th February the second RSNO Young Ambassadors forum took place at Perth Concert Hall, one of five locations across Scotland in which the Young Ambassadors will meet this year, so as to reflect the National aspect of the RSNO and indeed the Young Ambassadors Scheme. For many of us, Perth Concert Hall was a relatively unfamiliar venue, and it was great to see the RSNO in action outside of Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
To kick off the evening, we were very lucky to have Peter Oundjian, Music Director of the RSNO, come to talk to us about our role as Young Ambassadors. He listened attentively as we explained our ideas as to how we can promote classical music to a younger audience, and offered some of his own ideas which we have taken on board.
When Peter had to run off to prepare for that evening's concert, Manus Carey, Executive Producer of the RSNO, kindly came to speak with us. Manus was interested in hearing our views about the programming of concerts, and asked what we liked and perhaps didn't like about the programming, which sparked some interesting discussion about what type of experience appeals to a younger audience, and also the controversial issue of 'concert etiquette'. A view which was raised was that we should perhaps try to advertise concerts as being not only about the music, but also about enjoying a wider experience, with a vast number of people in one room who have a shared appreciation for the music and the orchestra.
After our discussion with Manus, we sat down with Neil Cullen, Digital Projects Coordinator, who runs the Young Ambassadors Scheme, to discuss the concert in June, which the Young Ambassadors will be planning and aiming at under 25s. This will include choosing the venue, ensemble and repertoire, and promoting the concert. Thursday's discussion was largely an exchange of ideas, and there seemed to be a mutual feeling that in order to best attract young people, the concert should be different to a 'normal' concert. We took this idea into account when considering possible venues.
Following the forum, the Young Ambassadors were invited to attend the evening's concert, Oundjian Conducts Walton. The concert opened with a very moving performance of Wagner's beautiful Overture to Tannhäuser, which captivated the audience from the opening calming melodies right through to the tremendous climax, where the strings seemed to cry out against the strong chords in the brass.
The next piece was entirely different in character, and quite refreshing between two more rich and powerful pieces. Richard Goode, the phenomenal American pianist, took to the stage for an exquisite rendition of Mozart's Piano Concerto No17. His elegant playing balanced the orchestra perfectly, and the orchestra's crisp articulation mirrored his. For me, however, the highlight of the evening was still to come.
In the second half, the RSNO returned to perform Walton's First Symphony, a piece which I had never heard before. However, by the third movement I had completely fallen in love with it. It's not all that often that I really enjoy a piece the first time I hear it, because it usually takes a few listens to be able to really 'listen properly'. So, the fact that the piece won me over on the first listen is testament to the expressive and open playing of the RSNO. I left the concert hall with that great feeling of having discovered a new piece, and even without the rest of the concert, I would have been happy to leave with that alone.
Seona Glen
Seona is part of the RSNO's Young Ambassador scheme, arranged by the Learning and Engagement Department. All views expressed by Young Ambassadors belong to those of the individual and are not representative of the organisation. For more information, visit the RSNO website.
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