NYOS Symphony Orchestra

Perth Concert Hall

Miranda Heggie

five stars

AS part of the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland’s spring programme – the first series of concerts under new chief executive and artistic director Nicolas ?ekulin – their flagship orchestra, NYOS Symphony Orchestra, gave a triumphant performance. To witness such a wealth of young Scottish talent was uplifting, and a real testament to the organisation’s work of nurturing the country’s young orchestral musicians. NYOS’s theme for the season is The Americas, and the concert opened with the UK premiere of Vermont-born composer Nico Muhly’s Mixed Messages. As the title suggests, many themes are concurrent in this piece. Crossing ostinati between woodwind and piano are set against swooping string glissandos, perfectly measured under the astute beat of conductor Tecwyn Evans.

Philip Glass’s violin concerto was strong and driven, particularly in the final movement, with stark differences between gentle, rocking melodies and almost flamenco like flourishes. Soloist Chloe Hanslip played with a slick fluidity, against the gently persistent bubbling in the orchestra.

Dvorak’s 9th Symphony, From the New World, written shortly after the composer’s move to New York and inspired by his new surroundings as well as his Czech homeland, was brimming with energy. From its gentle openings, the symphony erupted into colour, with tight, majestic peals from the brass section and sophisticated rising and falling dynamics in the strings. Oboist Caitlin Heathcote’s cor anglais solo at the start of the second movement was beautifully poignant and tender, before the music took on a more fiery character for the final two movements. Culminating in an intoxicating wall of sound, the symphony’s finale was fierce, powerful and punchy – an exhilarating end to a superb evening.