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Associate Guest Conductor David Hill MBE conducted the opening sessions, which began with Elgar’s Enigma Variations. David spoke to Sean Rafferty on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune immediately following the rehearsal:

It was quite an occasion, and they were thrilled to be back. We played the Enigma Variations — what else could you do…and with a British orchestra — it was just terrific to do that and they did a wonderful job. […] In fact that work was the very last thing I did with them nine months ago. It’s in their DNA, and they play so wonderfully. We had a slightly smaller string strength — because of restrictions — but, with the distancing it adds a luminous quality to the playing and a sense of individuality, much like a grand chamber orchestra.

“Just putting down the first few chords of Enigma this afternoon and hearing it come back, it filled me up with quite a bit of emotion. I’ve been playing keyboards and doing other things during lockdown, but nevertheless, the sound of an orchestra when it emerges — live — is just one of the greatest things isn’t it?”

An intensely emotional moment for both musicians and staff, it marked the beginning of preparations for our autumn season which starts on 30 September. The opening concert will be led by our chief conductor Kirill Karabits and features a deeply personal selection, including Bach arr.Karabits, Ives, Mahler arr.Britten and Beethoven.

To listen to David Hill on In Tune (from 1hr 10′) click here

For all details of the new season and to book click here

For the new season press release click here