Natasha Wilcockson, a talented cellist from Northampton High School, made her debut last month at the Birmingham Junior Conservatoire’s Orchestral Concert. Her invitation to perform at the concert follows her participation in a masterclass with the world-renowned cellist and conductor Julian Lloyd Webber, who also is the Head of the Birmingham Junior Conservatoire. Mrs Jo Drew, Director of Music at the school attended the performance, which she recounts below along with the thoughts of Natasha herself.
"It was a great pleasure to attend the Birmingham Junior Conservatoire’s Orchestral Concert on Saturday 27 January with our own Natasha Wilcockson (U5) as soloist performing the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto in A minor. Op. 33. Some of you may remember reading a previous article in High News which highlighted the rigorous and demanding audition process Natasha went through in order to be selected as the concerto soloist for this concert.
The programme began with the Junior Conservatoire Chamber Orchestra performing Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings, Op.22 followed by Dvořák’s Slavonic Dance No. 1 in C Major, Op.46. The Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Daniele Rosina) then made its way onto stage and we all waited in anticipation for Natasha, who stepped onto the concert platform with aplomb.
With great excitement, we heard the opening triplets of this famous concerto played in a most dramatic and arresting manner. Natasha’s spectacular opening ignited the audience further as we continued to be captivated by her spectacular and flawless technique, her beautiful, rich tone and an expressiveness of character which pervaded the whole concerto.
Her performance was pure delight and audience members showed their appreciation by rapturous applause and three ovations.
During the interval, Natasha’s family and friends (including Teni Ramos in U5) congratulated her on her amazing performance. The concert then concluded with the the Junior Conservatoire Wind Orchestra performing an evocative ‘New London Pictures’ by Nigel Hess.
The whole evening was a most joyous and memorable occasion. It was a great pleasure and privilege to be part of this and once again, many congratulations must go to Natasha on her outstanding performance and huge achievement."
"I was delighted to win the annual audition to play a concerto with the Birmingham Junior Conservatoire symphony orchestra. I have been rehearsing most weeks with the orchestra since October.
It has been a unique experience and great fun. There were weeks when I felt terrified and weeks when I felt inspired! I was excited to learn that I would be performing at The Elgar Concert Hall at Birmingham University.
When the day came I was nervous, but I had a fantastic time once I was on stage with a live audience. The conductor Daniele Rosina was very kind and supportive. The whole experience has boosted my confidence and I would certainly do it again!"