Anyone who heard the alarms go off in a bank in the centre of Łódź a couple of weeks ago might have been surprised to learn that what set the alarms off was not a team of burglars, but a team of French Horn players! Indeed, the young musicians of the EUYO were rehearsing a somewhat loud extract from Wagner in their hotel, when the vibrations created by the horns set off the alarms in the neighbouring bank. Thankfully, the problem was soon resolved, and our talented musicians were relocated to a less sensitive area!


The entertaining mishap happened a couple of days into the two-week intensive rehearsal period at the start of the EUYO's Spring Tour 2011. Young musicians (116 in total!) flew into Łódź from right across the EU on Sunday 20th March and were immediately caught up in the whirl of sectional and tutti rehearsals that characterises the start of any tour. Peter Stark, the EUYO's wonderful rehearsal conductor (currently Professor of Conducting at the Royal College of Music in London, among his many positions), faced the daunting task of tackling some pretty serious repertoire - Liszt's Les Préludes and a number of extracts from Wagner's operas - but the young musicians rose to the challenge with aplomb. News quickly spread of the players' presence, and several of them were invited to an informal gathering, hosted by a local radio station in Łódź's unofficial meeting place for young culture vultures, a wonderful central café that became a firm favourite for post-rehearsal drinks.


After days of rehearsing, the tour officially kicked off with a highly unusual chamber concert, held in Łódź's Museum of Modern Art, Museum Sztuki (MS2), which, like MoMa in New York, is run as an artist's cooperative. Fifty players performed two concerts simultaneously on different floors of the museum, with pieces by Bacewicz, Hindemith, Liszt, Tansman (a native of Łódź) and Wagner, allowing the audience to listen to the music while also admiring the works of art. The piece by Hindemith - 'The Flying Dutchman Overture as sight-read by a second-rate concert band at the Village Well at 7 o'clock in the morning' - went down particularly well, as the musicians acted out their parts like veterans of Broadway...


The following day the EUYO's guest conductor, Claus Peter Flor - marking his debut with the Orchestra - arrived to rehearse the main repertoire for the first symphony concert on 1st April, which took place in the beautifully refurbished Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic Hall. The concert was opened by the Marshal of Łódź - the official responsible for culture within the whole region - and the EUYO's own legendary Co-Founder and Secretary-General, known affectionately by the Orchestra and her colleagues as 'Mrs B'. The concert was a huge success, with the appreciative audience leaping to their feet after a rousing rendition of the Ride of the Walkyries.


To see more photos of the concert in the Museum Sztuki, click here:


To see photos of the rehearsals in Łódź, click here: