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In our new blog, a young violinist describes her experience of working with Valery Gergiev

June 4, 2008

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Part one

What a rainy day. I almost tripped and fell on the ground on my way to the rehearsal this afternoon! Rehearsal started at 3pm, but most members arrived early to settle down. I was there about half an hour early, too, not only because I have been looking forward to this project for a long time, but also because I missed all my friends whom I had made with during my last concert. The LSO is a wonderful orchestra full of very friendly musicians.

This Thursday we are going to perform an exciting programme of Mahler’s Symphony no.9 as well as the Adagio of Symphony no.10. Our conductor Valery Gergiev arrived at the podium and calmly led the orchestra through the whole of the Ninth Symphony. I was a bit exhausted after this long piece, but it was very exhilarating.

After a little tea break, it is down to real business. We rehearsed in detail. I admired Gergiev’s sensitive ears and deep understanding of the music. He looked into how Mahler wrote his repeating motifs differently every time and reminded us that these subtle differences make the music so much more personal and lively. Gergiev also investigated the composer’s intentions behind his choice of instrument for every phrase and was very aware of the timbre of each instrument. I was impressed by the difference these observations made to the orchestra. Now I have learnt to listen to Mahler’s music at a new level. I am really looking forward to seeing where Gergiev is going to take us from here tomorrow morning. He is quite an unorthodox conductor, and anything new could happen next time we play it!

Kitty Cheung is a postgraduate violinist studying at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. She is on the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) String Experience Scheme, which enables young string players at the start of their professional careers to gain work experience by playing in rehearsals and concerts with the LSO

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