A LARGE cohort of more than 150 young musicians from Berkshire Maestros’ county groups recently returned from a successful concert tour to China. Members of Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra, Berkshire Youth Choir and Berkshire Youth Guitar Orchestra visited China for nine days at the end of last month, performing concerts to capacity audiences in Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai. The musicians, aged between 14 and 19, were accompanied by a team of teachers from Berkshire Maestros.
Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra’s performances included seminal works such as Elgar’s Enigma Variations, Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story and a selection of traditional English music, while Berkshire Youth Choir took an all-British programme, introducing the Chinese audiences to a wide range of traditional styles. Berkshire Youth Guitar Orchestra was an unusual feast for local music-lovers and they delighted audiences with their eclectic mix of traditional and modern guitar repertoire, leading to several standing ovations.
Choir member Adam West said: “The China tour was incredible. It gave us all an amazing insight into a very different culture; the food, the language, the surroundings. We had an unparalleled opportunity to perform in some unbelievable venues and were also able to absorb the beauty of two massive cities by night. It was an amazing experience to perform in such impressive concert venues that are on a different scale that we just don’t have here in the UK.
“Sightseeing highlights for me included visiting the Great Wall of China and seeing Shanghai from above up the Jin Mao Tower. We also enjoyed a visit to the Forbidden City and our flashmob A Crazy Little Thing Called Love in the local markets was such fun.
“This epic adventure was a truly special, one that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”