Harrow Young Musicians is an exciting project with conductor Mark Gooding leading a team of talented teachers. Elements of the project have been around since the 1970s. Harrow is a large borough in Greater London and hundreds of children aged between about 8 and 18 regularly attend Saturday morning rehearsals along with some week nights too in preparation for their concerts put on at various times during the year. There are many different ensembles involving collectively hundreds of young people. They include the HYM Philharmonic Orchestra, HYM Symphony Orchestra, HYM Sinfonia, HYM Academy Strings, HYM Symphonic Winds, HYM Concert Band, HYM Senior Band, HYM Junior Band, HYM Steel band, Junior Steel band, Soul Band and Big Band. These cater for varying degrees of ability too.
Sunday 14th October saw the first four of the aforementioned orchestras play with guest artist accordionist Romano Viazzani an exhilarating mix of music by Handel, Satie, Walton, Gooding and several pieces by Astor Piazzolla amongst which were Milonga del Angel, Muerte del Angel, Oblivion, Tanguedia and Libertango to a very enthusiastic audience.
During the concert, conductor Mark Gooding said that ten years ago he would never have imagined doing a concert featuring accordion as the solo instrument nor had he ever heard of Astor Piazzolla. He went on to add that he had now realised what a wonderfully expressive instrument the accordion is and how the music of Astor Piazzolla has the ability to speak to people of all ages.
As is the norm the orchestras performed brilliantly thanks to the superb conducting of their individual conductors who several times performed as a large massed orchestra. In recent years the orchestras have performed large works too such as Puccini’s Madam Butterfly, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano concerto with concert pianist Simon Mulligan and in important venues such as The Royal Albert Hall (with the massed childrens choirs of Harrow) and St John’s Smith Square, London and have travelled as far afield as Venice, Italy.