Teenage Musician To Perform Horn Concerto

Concert by Ealing Youth Orchestra at St Michael and All Angels

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The principal horn player of the National Youth Orchestra is to perform a horn concerto at a concert by Ealing Youth Orchestra in Chiswick on November 23.

Sixteen year old Joel Ashford will demonstrate mastery of the hardest instrument of the orchestra when he plays the Richard Strauss Horn Concerto No 1 at St Michael and All Angels Church, Bath Road.

The teenager from Shepherd's Bush, who practises every day before school, during his lunch breaks, in his free periods and again after school, has a string of awards to his name including from the Royal College of Music where he takes lessons.

This particular concerto is so challenging that even Strauss’ father, probably the most eminent horn player of the day, refused to play it in public. “It’s really, really tiring, there are a lot of high notes and it lasts over 15 minutes, I mean face muscles weren’t meant to be used in that way,” Joel said. “It’s a key marker in the world of horn playing, but despite being difficult, it’s a pleasure to play because it’s so well written, for both the soloist and the orchestra. ”

A music scholar at St Paul’s School in Barnes, Joel became fascinated with the horn as a toddler when he was taken to music rehearsals by his oboist mother and spent long hours sitting in the brass section. He said: “It was shiny and it looked nice.” Now, he is aiming to earn his living as a horn player. “I am putting everything into it,” he said.

Also on the programme are Johann Strauss II’s Overture to Die Fledermaus, Johannes Brahms’ Hungarian Dances 5 & 6, and Zoltan Kodaly’s Hary Janos Suite. Tickets: £12 adults, £8 seniors, £4 students, under 11s free, on the door or at eyo.ticketsource.co.uk (no fee). Concert starts at 7.30pm.

Ealing Youth Orchestra, West London’s premier youth orchestra, welcomes enquiries from teenagers who are at least grade six standard. For more information visit www.eyo.org.uk

November 15, 2013