At 17 Daniel Hogan set up his own youth orchestra. Now 20, Dan of Little Chalfont is in his first year of studying Music at York University but continues to run Watford Youth Sinfonia in between his uni lectures and coursework, planning holiday concerts and researching works to play.
“I set up the Sinfonia (small symphony orchestra) because it was hard to get experience and it gave an opportunity to play with a large group of other young classical musicians ” says Daniel, “It also gives me a chance to conduct. Currently we have over 70 instrumentalists under 25 ( many under 21) all at a very high standard. Most members are from Chesham, Watford, Chorleywood and Rickmansworth although many study at conservatoires all over the country. We met at County Youth Orchestra or Watford Youth orchestra. We all look forward to getting together in the holidays. The Sinfonia gets me through term! I love making music with friends I have had for most of my life – everyone is so happy to be there.”
The orchestra is entirely funded by Daniel and relies on ticket sales to pay for rehearsal venues, sheet music hire and other ancillary expenditure. He aims high
“My aim for the orchestra has always been to take on challenging and ambitious repertoires. Few youth orchestras would attempt. some of the pieces we play – they are a once in a lifetime opportunity. The musicians usually think I’m mad when I tell them what I am considering! Most of the pieces are technically difficult for musicians although are accessible… we just need to push ourselves They also demand an unusual collection of instruments. My favourite composer is Gustav Mahler – he is musically complex , his pieces emotionally and psychologically demanding. For Mahler’s works we need an expanded orchestra with obscurities such as mandolin, guitar, celesta and church bells! In our summer performance this year we are playing Strauss’s ‘Four last Songs and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony no. 9 – two of my absolute favourite pieces of music in existence ! This will demand – and be given – a full-sized ‘romantic’ orchestra, in order to do such passionate music justice. I can’t wait for this concert!”
Watford Youth Sinfonia Summer Concert, Fri 18 August, 7.30pm, St. Michael & All Angels’ Church, Mildred Avenue, Watford, WD18 7DY
Strauss’s ‘Four last Songs’ – with returning soprano soloist, Lottie Bowden. Gustav Mahler : Symphony no. 9
Watford Youth Sinfonia welcomes support and sponsors Programme advertisers also welcome. Email watfordys@gmail,com