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Side-by-Side the Oxford Phil

4 months ago   |   Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra   |   Concert, Orchestra, Education

Launched in 2019, our Side-by-Side scheme is well underway, despite a hiatus of concerts during the height of the pandemic. Now nearing the conclusion of our second season featuring Side-by-Side, we have welcomed many young musicians from in and around Oxford to play alongside our professional orchestra members, experiencing music at the highest level.

Side-by-Side students at concert on 10 March: William Kidner (bassoon), Hannah Capstick (flute), Katherine Payne (violin), Immie Graham (viola), Oliver Simpson (cello), Kevin Zheng (cello), Charlie Potts (viola), Hannah McFarlane (cello), Lewis Lee (violin), Wilmien Janse van Rensburg (violin), Clara May Teahan (oboe) & Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey (conductor) © Nick Rutter

Up to three times per season, students from the University of Oxford and Oxfordshire secondary schools join our professional orchestra members for the opening work of a concert in our main season. This is a unique opportunity for budding young performers to fulfil their potential by taking part in an unparalleled performance experience, reaching far beyond what ordinary music education can provide.

Sitting next to Clara Dent [OPO Solo Oboe] for Side-by-Side was fantastic! It has been really helpful and a great learning experience as I received lots of tips. I learned quickly how to fit into the texture whilst also supporting the solo oboe.

Clara May Teahan, St Hugh’s College (oboe)

On Thursday 10 March, this year’s cohort of students joined the Oxford Phil to perform Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila at the start of the concert, led by Conducting Fellow and Side-by-Side Scheme Coordinator, Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey. This ever-popular overture is bold, energetic and full of twists and turns: an exciting challenge for our student players.

This year’s Side-by-Side musicians have just been spectacular. The mutual uplift between the OPO players and the young musicians has made it a joy to conduct what have been heart-warming and exhilarating performances.

Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey (conductor & Side-by-Side scheme coordinator)
Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey © Nick Rutter

Playing side by side is one of the fastest ways for a young player to understand the many skills required to play in an orchestra. But this is a two-way process. As a professional player of more than 30 years, I relish the chance to feed off the energy and enthusiasm that the student players bring to the performance.

Tony Robb (OPO Solo Flute)

The young musicians performed side by side the Orchestra once again on Monday 25 April, this time with Fanny Mendelssohn’s Overture in C major. This slice of pure sunshine received its UK premiere only as recently as 1998, and certainly deserves more performances.

SBS gives young people the chance to be immersed in professional orchestral life, which is an opportunity so rare and valuable. The OPO players are incredibly welcoming and enjoyable to work with and I hope many more students can benefit from such an amazing scheme.

Hannah McFarlane, Christ Church College (cello)
OPO and Side-by-Side students in the Sheldonian Theatre © Nick Rutter

Thank you so much to all our wonderful young musicians who joined us this season, and to everyone who came to support! Applications for our 2022/23 season open in June, with auditions taking place in October – more information and the application form can be found here.

If you have any questions regarding the Side-by-Side scheme, please contact Cayenna Ponchione Bailey (Side-by-Side Scheme Coordinator) or William Emery (Education Officer).