The Brodsky Quartet, whose 50-year career has seen them perform in concert halls around the world, will spend the afternoon listening to and cheering on young string players and pianists with many other young musicians watching. and take note.
And as soon as the workshop is over, the four will head to St Wilfrid’s Church on Duchy Road to perform the opening concert of this year’s Harrogate Music Festival.
Produced by Harrogate International Festivals and a key ingredient in its summer programme, this year’s music festival features a heady collection of bands and solo artists, a special commemoration of the Platinum Jubilee narrated by former Royal Correspondent Nicholas Owen and a delightful pairing of classical music and gin with Armonico Consort and international wine expert Oz Clarke.
Brodsky Quartet members Ian Belton, Jacqueline Thomas, Krysia Osostowicz and Paul Cassidy had been invited to the school by its musical director, Mark Pallant, who in 1977 was playing in the Cleveland Youth Orchestra with Ian and Jacqueline.
Mr Pallant said: “On July 14, 1977, Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip visited Middlesbrough as part of her Silver Jubilee tour.
“The royal couple stopped by while visiting a school campus to hear the Cleveland Youth Orchestra play movements from Elgar’s Nursery Suite, composed in 1930 and dedicated to young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret.
“The conductor of the youth orchestra at the time was a certain Ian Belton, the cellos being conducted by Jacqueline Thomas.
“I was at the back, playing the trumpet, although I was mostly counting the rest bars in the Elgar, if I remember correctly.
“The fact that Ian and Jacky, 50 years later, still constitute half of the Brodsky Quartet, one of the most famous quartets in the world, is a testament first of all to their dedication to music, but also to the vital necessity , then as now, to provide high-quality musical opportunities for young people.
“The Brodsky Quartet continues to regard outreach to young people at all levels of education as an important part of their work, and we at St Aidan’s Church of England High School are delighted to have them visit us ahead of their concert on evening.
“St Aidan’s High School, which has been a beacon for music in the area for decades, is delighted to be able to sponsor the concert, aided by two generous donations, and also to have worked in conjunction with Harrogate International Festivals to make this double event a reality.
Since its formation in 1972, the Brodsky Quartet has given more than 3,000 concerts on the world’s greatest stages and released more than 60 recordings.
Their energy and craftsmanship have attracted numerous awards and accolades around the world, while ongoing educational work provides a way to pass on the experience and stay in touch with the next generation.
Now celebrating their 50th anniversary, this thoughtful program features a miniature string quartet written in memory of a little boy, To Sonny, and celebrates the quartet’s reputation for Shostakovich which earned them the title of “Artistic Associate” at King’s Square.