Young­sters eas­ily upstage Year of Young Peo­ple

The Herald Magazine - - Arts OPINION - KEITH BRUCE

IN many ways Scotland’s Year of Young Peo­ple has not been quite the cel­e­bra­tion of faith in the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion one might have hoped. There is the fact that older vot­ers had al­ready cheer­fully sold them down the river re­gard­ing mem­ber­ship of, and free­dom of ac­cess to, the Euro­pean Union, and al­though Scotland was no­tably less en­thu­si­as­tic about that than else­where in the UK, it is not en­tirely blame­less.

Then, as Neil Cooper re­minded us re­cently, there was the pro­posed with­drawal of reg­u­lar fund­ing for theatre work for young peo­ple at the start of the year, about which Cre­ative Scotland had to beat a swift re­treat. That de­ba­cle apart, how­ever, the arts has been the main ve­hi­cle through which the Year of Young Peo­ple has been cel­e­brated, with its own dis­tinct strand at the Ed­in­burgh Festival and events in the cul­tural pro­gramme as­so­ci­ated with the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships in Glas­gow. Nei­ther of these were with­out their prob­lems, par­tic­u­larly re­gard­ing the en­thu­si­asm with which they were sold to the rest of the pop­u­la­tion, but set along­side what was hap­pen­ing in Scot­tish ed­u­ca­tion, for ex­am­ple, they at least sent out a pos­i­tive mes­sage.

If we were to mark the Year of Young Peo­ple re­port card now, who would emerge top of the class? In the in­di­vid­ual cat­e­gory, oboe player Lewis Sin­clair war­rants a spe­cial men­tion. Ten years on from the be­gin­ning of Sis­tema Scotland’s Big Noise project in Raploch, Stir­ling, he be­came the first of the stu­dents from there to be of­fered a place to study music at the Royal Con­ser­va­toire of Scotland. He also took the first solo spot in the per­for­mance by an en­sem­ble of very ca­pa­ble se­nior stu­dents from Big Noise at the BBC SSO’s Proms in the Park concert in Glas­gow Green a month ago.

The ob­vi­ous con­tender for the en­sem­ble award is the Na­tional Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS). In Ed­in­burgh, NYCoS ef­fort­lessly tran­scended the “youth strand” ghetto, be­ing reg­u­larly in­volved in the festival with pro­fes­sional or­ches­tras. It had its own Sun­day su­perb af­ter­noon recital in the Usher Hall, but the cho­rus had also fea­tured in the open­ing concert per­for­mance of Haydn’s Cre­ation with the Scot­tish Cham­ber Orches­tra and con­duc­tor Ed­ward Gard­ner, and the NYCoS Girls Choir also joined the Swedish Ra­dio Sym­phony Orches­tra and Daniel Hard­ing for the clos­ing concert of Mahler’s Sym­phony of a Thou­sand and per­formed with the Royal Scot­tish Na­tional Orches­tra and Sir An­drew Davies in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gre­tel, an­other highlight of the year’s pro­gramme.

The list of in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned con­duc­tors who have been im­pressed by Scotland’s Na­tional Youth Choir is now a lengthy one, and one of the big­gest NYCoS fans is the no­to­ri­ously hard-to-please Sir John Eliot Gar­diner, founder of the Mon­teverdi Choir whose record­ings and per­for­mances set stan­dards.

A week on Mon­day he will be cham­pi­oning NYCoS once again, as the choir makes its de­but at New York’s Carnegie Hall. The hall’s sea­son be­gan this week with con­certs by the San Fran­cisco Phil­har­monic and Michael Til­son Thomas and it con­tin­ues next week­end with the Orchestre Revo­lu­tion­naire et Ro­man­tique un­der the ba­ton of Gar­diner and the music of Hector Ber­lioz. NYCoS is the choir for the per­for­mance of his rarely heard Le­lio, which it sang for the same con­duc­tor in Ed­in­burgh and at the Ber­lioz festival in France in 2015. In May next year the choir will be tack­ling the work yet again, in a concert at La Phil­har­monie in Paris with con­duc­tor Fran­cois-Xavier Roth and his orches­tra Les Siecles.

As a Carnegie Hall en­gage­ment tells any­one with any in­ter­est in music, NYCoS is keep­ing the very finest of in­ter­na­tional com­pany, which is quite re­mark­able for a young choir that re­news it­self on an an­nual ba­sis. As in­ter­na­tional am­bas­sadors for Scotland, they are surely our Year of Young Peo­ple champs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.