Would you credit it?

Another amazing Inspiration year over and, after “the glorious season” of the Christmas concerts, a new one is beckoning with 29 (thanks Gary!) “Sensational Stage and Screen Spectacular” songs waiting in the wings.

But before we start our spring Showboating, rewind with me, past the New Year and “Christmas joys all around me” and “Somewhere In My Memory” I can see the “precious moments, special people, happy faces” of concert day…


As ever, our time on stage sped by faster than a Rudolph-guided sleigh but listening to the mesmerising carol medley of the BSO’s harpist, Eluned Pierce, I had a passing thought for all those un-credited contributors to our performances. Of course the programmes list the key leaders, players, soloists, and all the singers of the Inspiration team. Backroom boys, and girls, get a mention too but outside the immediate, God Bless Us Every One box I was thinking how many other factors go together to make a concert happen.

What about the tattooed roadies who set up the stage, the sound and lighting guys who tweak their sliders and faders, the truckers who drive the BSO pantechnicon and the staff at the O2 Guildhall? Or Anthony’s shimmering red, tinsel backdrop curtain? All play their part. Then, for every singer on stage there are as many stories of individual inspiration which led to us being there at all – personal contacts, newspaper ads, reports, Facebook messages or harmonious serendipity which Let The Song Begin for each one. In addition, we all have a musical heritage of parents, teachers, friends who have been instrumental in our vocal voyages.

How about the singers who make those o-so-helpful rehearsal recordings (there’s a great interview with one, Sharon Durant, on the website). How many times have those tracks been played in cars, at home, on training runs, in the gym or in the shower? And who transcribes all the lyrics for the website downloads? Where would we be without posters, flyers or the concert day programme? Then there’s the website: Penny keeps it all beautifully updated but did you know there are currently 27 photo contributors listed?

Week by week in Southampton we enjoy our half time rehearsal refreshments so thanks go to Marie for teas, coffees and tracking down 120 reindeer antler headbands!

One final thank you: others pay homage to Potters Pastilles or swear by Strepsils but I would personally like to acknowledge the debt I have to Fleetwood pharmacist James Lofthouse whose company now produce over 5 billion lozenges a year. When it seems the voice is on its way out, his Fisherman’s Friends somehow soothe my sore throat and rescue my scratchy vocal chords for another “magical, lyrical, annual miracle”!

Alan Matlock 2nd January 2017, Inspiration Choir Southampton member


An Interview with Kirill Karabits

With the concert season 16/17 now well underway, Kirill Karabits, the Orchestra’s Chief Conductor since 2008, recently spoke with Communications Intern Kerry-Ann to answer some questions about his profession, greatest achievements, and hobbies outside of the concert hall.

Q. What’s the best thing about being a conductor?

A. I think it’s the possibility of communication with so many people involved in the process. On one side you have the orchestra which you need to train in a certain way; and from the other side you have different audiences – every country, every venue has different audiences. Finding the balance between these is the most challenging and interesting thing. If you can create an excitement from the orchestra’s side and audiences enjoy it, then you are in the middle of this excitement. You get a lot of positive energy from both sides and it’s a fascinating feeling.

Q. What concerts are you particularly looking forward to conducting in the BSO 2016/17 season?

A. I look forward very much to working with Nemanja Radulović (pictured below), with Khachaturian’s violin concerto in December. I’m also looking forward to conducting Tchaikovsky’s Suite No.3 which will be new for audiences and the Orchestra as well. And I’m looking forward to working again with Guy Braunstein for Elgar’s Violin Concerto(1) and Valeriy Sokolov for Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto(2). Every programme is different and I look forward to all of them in a different way.


  1. Heart & Soul at Lighthouse, Poole Jan 18 and Great Hall, Exeter Jan 19
  2. Back in the USSR at Lighthouse, Poole Jan 25 and Guildhall, Portsmouth Jan 26

Q. What are your interests outside music?

A. How things are at the moment, I don’t have very much time to spend doing anything else seriously. But I do have hobbies – I like yoga and I like reading. I shouldn’t say I like travelling as it’s part of my profession but I like travelling and feel at home in many countries now.

Q. The Orchestra has just finished recording Walton’s Symphonies 1 & 2. Of the recordings you have made with the BSO, do you have a favourite?

A. It’s hard to say. I really enjoyed our recording of Korngold’s Violin Concerto with Nicola Benedetti – it was a very, very good recording. I think Walton’s symphonies will be a fantastic recording; we created a nice energy in the recording session. I haven’t heard it yet but I’m sure this will be one of our best – especially Symphony No.2 which is absolutely underrated. I hope we can open a new perspective for the performance of this great symphony.

Explore all of our recordings

Q. You have written the foreword to the new book celebrating the BSO and its achievements; during your time with the Orchestra, what do you feel has been the BSO’s greatest achievement?

A. From my perspective, the greatest achievement and most valuable for me is our relationship. I think and hope very much we respect each other still after 8 years of collaboration. I should mention another achievement is our relationship with our audiences, which we have created together. Now we can perform almost anything in Poole and audiences have trust. Eight years ago, Bruckner and Haydn were no-go’s with audiences; but now we have seen last week, the hall was full for Bruckner’s Symphony No.4. I think that’s a fantastic achievement. [Explore the symphony with Kirill as part of our Meet the Music series – below] Another great achievement and also a personal one, because I have done a lot to make this happen, is our approach to classical and early music. It is now performed on a totally different level and the musicians have a different understanding of that style.


Rebecca Wileman – Marketing Intern

New players welcomed to the BSO…

Tammy Thorn, BSO Principal Bassoon

Tammy Thorn, BSO Principal Bassoon

After a busy time shortlisting and holding live auditions for Cello, Viola and 1st and 2nd Violin positions over the summer months, the BSO welcomed a number of new faces that eagerly started their trials this season.

The BSO is also pleased to welcome Tammy Thorn, former Britten-Pears Orchestra Principal Bassoon, to her new position as BSO Principal Bassoon. Tammy was drawn to music from an early age and has been making music since the age of five together with her older brother and sisters.

Tammy started her bassoon studies at the Trinity College of Music Junior Department with Susan Eversden and subsequently studied at the Royal College of Music Junior Department with Nicholas Hunka. She was also Principal Bassoon with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

Winning the John Lill Award in the Essex Young Musician Competition and the Essex Rotary Club Young Musician Award in 2008, Tammy was also awarded a Foundation Scholarship by the Royal College of Music in the same year. Tammy represented the College at concerts throughout the UK and in Europe.

Whilst studying in London she formed the Rose Trio with her sisters Becky and Suzy and together they started to explore the mixed reed repertoire, winning the Royal Over-Seas League Ensemble Prize in 2010 and making their debut at the Wigmore Hall in June 2011.

Tammy has performed with most of the major orchestras in the UK and Ireland. She said of her appointment with the BSO: “After being on trial with the Orchestra for almost two years, it was a huge relief to be offered the position! I already felt very much at home so being able to relax into the job was a lovely feeling!”

Why did you decide to become a musician?
I come from a very musical family and rather than actually deciding to be a musician, I ended up following all of my siblings through youth orchestras and music college and becoming one without really noticing!

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
I’ve loved being able to travel and see new places, and I’ve always known I wouldn’t cope with a routine or ‘normal’ job! Every day is different.

What’s the one performance from your career that sticks in your mind?
Performing The Rite of Spring in the BBC Proms with the Aldeburgh World Orchestra in 2012. We’d spent the best part of a month living and rehearsing in Aldeburgh, with concerts in the UK, Amsterdam and Germany. The BBC Prom at the Royal Albert Hall was the last thing that the Orchestra did together and although it was a pretty stressful concert for me, it has to be one of the best.

What work do you enjoy playing above all else and why?
I love playing pretty much anything by Stravinsky! The Rite of Spring has to be my favourite (mainly because it’s the only occasion a bassoonist enjoys a bit of glory!).

What are your interests outside of music?
Outside of music, my other great love is horses. I share a fabulous horse called Donald, compete regularly in Dressage and showing, and I have recently started learning to play Polo!