By Emily Pugh
Despite Covid-19, nothing has stopped Durham University Palatinate Orchestra from rehearsing. Announcing a series of virtual ensembles to be released over the examination season last week, Emily Pugh describes how music making has shifted online.
The music sector as we usually know it has been turned on its head since the pandemic broke out in early 2020. With the pandemic sending the UK into yet another lockdown during the first months of 2021, orchestras and classical ensembles across the nation were determined not to let it stop music-making. Rehearsals and performance opportunities became no longer safe in Durham, but like many other musical societies, Durham University Palatinate Orchestra adapted quickly to the ever-changing restrictions. In Michaelmas we trialled our first ever cross-orchestral virtual collaboration with a rendition of Carol of the Bells involving over 20 musicians published online.
As Epiphany hit, we became more ambitious. The executive began re-arranging our symphony and brass orchestras into smaller ensembles of three to eight musicians to rehearse and perform a set of pieces that our musicians wanted to play. Through a series of Zoom rehearsals, musicians got to rebuild a sense of community through a variety of smaller ensembles, such as wind quartets, string trios, brass quintets, and collaborated online. Each collaborated to produce a collective interpretation of their repertoire. The project has allowed for lesser-known works to be explored and for the society to come together as a whole, despite being apart.
Our Symphony conductor, Oliver Hopkins-Burke commented that “we made sure not to take ourselves too seriously, and everyone had a lot of fun with it”.
We are delighted to announce that since the beginning of May, the society has proudly started releasing the fruits of our labour – a suite of stunningly curated performances that showcase a thriving community of over 40 musicians despite all odds. Each Monday and Thursday for the coming weeks, a new ensemble performance will be released on DUPO’s Instagram and Facebook pages – be sure to check them out as they are released, and enjoy some respite from exam season!
DUPO is thrilled to be performing live concerts in June (restrictions allowing), so keep an eye on our social media pages for further announcements of where you can catch our ensembles and orchestras perform in Durham.
Image Credit: Baroque Ensemble by DUPO: Tilly (TL). Nicholas (TC), Molly (TR), Jieyi (BL), Alex (BC) and Patrick (BR)