Last Saturday, I played my first concerto with an orchestra as a soloist, Bach’s Double Concerto for Oboe and Violin. This was quite a scary experience as I am not the biggest fan of solo performance and I will choose playing in an orchestra over playing by myself every time! It did help that my sister was the other soloist and the orchestra had loads of my friends in it.
I was also playing a solo sonata (Saint-Saëns’ Sonata for Oboe to be exact) in this concert, so I had to be very careful. As an oboist, playing too much can cause your lip to become so painful that you can’t really effectively play. On the day, I had tons of rehearsals so it was important to pace myself. Some ways in which you can preserve your lip is putting higher stuff down the octave, drinking lots of water or leaving out sections of the music just to give yourself a breather.
The concert went really well in the end. My lip didn’t give up and I think we sounded really great. It was also nice to have lots of my friends and family in the audience supporting us. It really helped with my nerves, especially due to my aversions to solo repertoire.
This concert was also trying to raise money for charity, specifically the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. Both my sister and I have had wonderful experiences with this group and we would not be the musicians we are today without them. Sadly, they are going through some significant financial trouble at the moment, so any money that they can get is a massive help.
So, I can now say that I have played a concerto. It wasn’t that scary after all.