Belfast Telegraph

Ambition of Youth Orchestra produces night of triumph

Ulster Youth Orchestra, Ulster Hall

By Alf McCreary

The annual concert by the Ulster Youth Orchestra (UYO) is one of the highlights of the musical season and Saturday night's performance to a packed audience in the Ulster Hall was no exception.

The UYO is nothing if not ambitious.

The first half, after a slightly nervous start with Copland's Fanfare For The Common Man and Torke's more assured Bright Blue Music, the players blossomed into a most engaging interpretation of Prokofiev's Cinderella Suite. This is undeservedly less known than his ballet music for Romeo And Juliet.

The first half would have been enough for any substantial concert, but the second half launched into an outstanding performance of the Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz.

Under the skilled and sensitive direction of maestro Michael Seal, the UYO metaphorically took this crazy, devilish, complicated, outrageous and wonderful symphony by the scruff of the neck and wrung out every nuance of this masterpiece by the genius Berlioz, with fine performances in all departments

This was one of the best concerts in the history of the UYO and it augurs well for its 25th anniversary next year.

Great credit is also due to the conductor, the tutors and funders, and not least the parental backing, which made this performance a privilege to hear.

The audience responded with a prolonged and deserved standing ovation.

Belfast Telegraph

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