Happy Europe Day! Please tune in to the 12th Europe Day Concert livestreaming from St John's Smith Square. This is Jonathan Bloxham's fourth as conductor, and he's assembled an army of generals. Many are as much stars in their own right as our tenor, Luis Gomes. As I was climbing the spiral staircase to the gallery for yesterday's afternoon rehearsal - as co-curator I had the privilege to join a handful of others - I heard Luis let rip with a golden top note in the aria from Godard's Dante. and the tears started to flow (quite apart from anything else, I haven't heard live music other than five singers in a church since December).
So let's meet some of the talent. Pictured above with the heads of Luis and Jonathan are Thomas Gould of the Aurora Orchestra and Sini Simonen of the Castalian Quartet (Finnish). Kate Suthers leads the seconds as she does those of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Here's a ten-second clip of violins blazing in a well-known passage during the rehearsal: Jonathan worked so hard on projection in this official finale.
Principal viola is Tetsuumi Nagata of the Piatti Quartet, who often plays with the Nash Ensemble, Cellist 1 Tim Posner, sometime principal of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. The double basses are Estonian Siret Lust, regularly in the Philharmonia, and Thomas Wynter whom I last saw online in Chineke!'s Wigmore chamber concert. They're pictured below with Lorraine Hart playing the cor anglais and cellists Steffan Morris and Peteris Sokolovskis.
Flautist 1 is Amy Yule, just appointed principal of the Hallé Orchestra, and oboist 1 Olivier Stankiewicz is co-principal of the London Symphony Orchestra.
Clarinettist Anna Hashimoto is a rising star soloist.
Nikolaj Henriques (so young looking!) is principal bassoon of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; he also played in an earlier Europe Day concert when he was principal of the European Union Youth Orchestra. Among the brass - with the luxury of four horns this year, essential for the Sibelius stunner which launches the programme, trumpeter Richard Blake, also CBSO section leader and trombonist Pete Moore, LSO co-principal and once youngest ever BBC Young Musician of the Year.
12 European countries are represented within the orchestra, and nine European composers in the programme. It's going to be glorious. Be there online at the time if you can; if not, watch later.