I’m Jack Coffey and this May I was lucky enough to experience work in the team behind Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO). From an outsider’s perspective, the BSO performs amazing concerts across the South West, featuring guest conductors from around the world, celebrating the art in all its glory. But how does it all come together? Here’s what I learned…

I was based in the Press and Communications team shadowing Claire and Heidi. With brilliant guidance from both, I was given a wide range of detailed tasks to practise and shadow. The first day started by learning about all the people behind the scenes. From the marketing team to participate program leaders, to sound and video recordists. Luckily enough I joined on a week where the team was preparing for a livestream broadcast of the BSO’s Wednesday performance from Lighthouse, Poole. The BSO has been broadcasting livestreams for viewers around the world since the start of the pandemic and its continuing success has made it a vital part of the seasons’ schedule.

I was able to observe Richard (left) and Sam (right) during the live performance to see how the broadcast was put together on the night.

It’s not just the digital team meticulously working the cameras that put together a BSO live broadcast — they also have a brilliant sound engineer, Chris Caton, who works in his curtained off booth, ensuring the sound quality is perfect for audiences listening in at home.

Chris checking sound quality before the live performance.

We were also lucky enough to have broadcaster Catherine Bott presenting the livestream that night. I was able to shadow Communications Manager, Claire, while she interviewed Catherine, who spoke extensively with her about her performing and broadcasting career in classical music. This was especially brilliant as, coming from a journalistic background, she provided vital information and insight into the broadcast industry from her Classic FM studio! Watching her prepare her script with the rest of the team at the BSO was tremendously exciting as she demonstrated her expertise borne of many years of practice.

Asking hard-hitting questions to Catherine Bott as she thinks intensely!

Another major privilege of working behind the scenes at the BSO is witnessing the Orchestra rehearse. The performance during the week of my work experience was conducted by Teresa Riveiro Böhm. I could write an entire piece on the brilliance of her work! Watching her elegant energy come to life in practise and performance was another brilliant demonstration of mastery from the BSO.

Teresa Riveiro Böhm and the BSO perform to the audience at Lighthouse, Poole

Living in Bournemouth it can sometimes be hard to comprehend the scale of the magic that takes place behind the walls at Lighthouse, Poole. Watching such a tight-knit team put together something so special opens your eyes to a world that could very easily go unnoticed as a student in the area.

My journey into the majestic world of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has been a surprising one. I had no expectations when I made initial contact but now I can’t see myself turning back. For anyone who may be interested, the BSO is one of the friendliest and welcoming places on the South Coast and you may just discover something you never expected to!

If you’d like to take part in work experience with us, you can find out more here