Practice makes perfect

29 Jul 2019

Full on, really intense and an amazing opportunity is how Year 11 student and violinist Justin Hodges describes his recent experience playing with the NZSO National Youth Orchestra.

Justin joined young orchestral musicians and singers from across New Zealand for an intensive music making workshop and two performances for the NYO Celebrates season, marking 60 years of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra and 40 years of the New Zealand Youth Choir. The musicians worked with conductor James Judd and the choir worked with music director David Squire to prepare four works: Sibelius’s “The Oceanides”, Elgar’s “The Music Makers”, Tuirina Wehi’s “Waerenga-a-Hika” (arranged by Robert Wiremu), and the world premiere of New Zealand composer Glen Downie’s “light speckled droplet”.

“It was kind of stressful, very busy, but also really, really good,” says Justin. “Judd is a really strict conductor. We had to stay focused and practice, practice, practice until he said we were good enough, but he was very happy by the end.”

Justin says both performances were well received. “It’s really hard to hear the overall effect when you’re actually playing in an orchestra, but I recently heard a recording of the Wellington performance and it sounded really good.”

At 15, Justin was one of the youngest members of the orchestra. He hopes to play for the National Youth Orchestra again in coming years, as he hones his skills and aspires to a career in music.

The music workshop took place at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington from Sunday 30 June–Thursday 4 July, with performances in Wellington on Friday 5 July and Auckland on Saturday 6 July.

JustinHodges Violin 1JustinHodges Violin 2