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RWCMD Strings: A term of masterclasses and performance

Despite the unprecedented challenges this term has brought with it, the Strings department has actually managed to increase their number of performance opportunities – as violin student Rosie Olver reports:

This term RWCMD’s string department have been lucky enough to work alongside a number of visiting professional musicians, including a series of masterclasses with performers such as Philip Higham (see main image), Carmine Lauri and Rachel Podger.

They’ve also enjoyed chamber coaching from the Albion Quartet and workshops with our own Strings staff here at College.

'The essence of our programme has always been to integrate as much performance as possible by working with professional musicians and learning through participation.

I’m so proud that we have faced this crisis head on – and that we’ve actually increased the number of projects this term.’
Simon JonesHead of Strings Department

A particular highlight was a visit from Carmine Lauri in October who led the String Soloists ensemble. Carmine, an exceptional performer who leads London Symphony Orchestra, is also Concertmaster at the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra.

Fourth year student, Matilde Viegas led the cello section and explained how the project helped her progression as a player:

'This project was an extremely fruitful learning experience.

Not only did I develop my leadership skills and knowledge of orchestral playing but we also learnt a lot about what actually happens in a rehearsal of a world-renowned orchestra.’
Matilde Viegas

Violin student Emma Abrams joined Carmine’s masterclass after his concert, performing in the Dora Stoutzker Hall:

‘This was the first time I’ve ever performed a solo piece in the Dora so I had no idea what to expect. But Carmine was very inspiring and gave me lots of ideas to make my performance more striking and compelling.

‘The masterclass was an overwhelming experience. I left the room filled with confidence and motivation.

It was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.’
Emma Abrams

For many students the variety of opportunities not only help with their technical achievements but also with their attitude towards performance, as Emma explains:

‘I’ve been extremely lucky this term as I’ve had the opportunity to play not only in Carmine’s masterclass but two performance classes led by Lesley Hatfield and David Adams.

Previously I’ve struggled with performance anxiety so pushing myself to perform as much as I can has been important. I now feel more confident and find performing much more enjoyable.’

'I’ve been delighted by the great collective spirit that has shone out from our String students during this difficult term.

Seeing our students face to face with so many inspirational teachers and performers confirms my belief in the power of music during troubled times, and highlights the wonderfully positive and supportive ethos of our string department.’
Simon Jones

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