How to get a Standing Ovation: 8 Seasons Reviews

Those who follow us closely will recall the review we posted of our very first concert – “Sibelius Unwrapped”, our launch event this time last year – penned by our artistic director’s plumber. Well, this year we received another one, from the same chap (who has, incidentally, been to every concert we’ve given so far) and also from another audience member (a member of the són Circle – our friends’ scheme).

In turn, we’d like to share them both here – but not to trumpet our amazing success (ok, maybe a little bit). We’d also love to prompt a conversation about audiences for mainstream “classical” music in general, to hear your thoughts about where that audience comes from, and where it’s heading – locally, nationally and globally.

Reviews and reactions like this may not be erudite pronouncements from the national newspapers, and they’d certainly look out of place as quotes on our homepage, yet they remind us of all the reasons we’re bringing amazing music to as wide an audience as possible. What we want to do at són, more than any other single thing, is to reach out and show people how incredible great music is. We’re doing this as much  as we can, and striving to get that message out there, all the time ensuring that everything we play is brilliantly-performed, innovatively-programmed and offers colour, power, drama, virtuosity, a (hopefully) some kind of transformative experience.

Whether we’re playing to adults or children, it doesn’t matter: they’re all either the audience of today, or the audience of tomorrow. What’s key is that this audience, all these people, all these hearts and ears – potentially wide open as we walk on stage at 7:29pm – are inspired to join us on our journey, following our music making for years to come.

són on stage with soloist Daniel Rowland and conductor Robin Browning at Turner Sims, Southampton

It’s a big debate, of course: the state of audiences for the arts, culture and (specifically) music around the world. We like to think that we’re doing our little bit: breaking down barriers, offering an eclectic mix of programming, building links with other arts organisations, as well as both developing and challenging audiences. There’s little doubt that the format of mainstream “classical” music has had to change lately (and has begun to do so), but the music itself doesn’t need to change. Apart from 500 years’ worth of incredible masterpieces to plunder, more and more works are being created every minute, in the widest variety of styles ever. New technology, acoustical changes, radical lighting, pre-concert talks – and, yes, even our very own “Unwrapped” series – all add an extra something to the overall concert experience. But, throughout it all, if the music is strong enough, and performed well enough, there shouldn’t be need for anything more.

At the end of our 8 Seasons concert last month, the entire, huge crowd in Turner Sims sprang to their feet in ovation – right after the closing chord of the last number. What made this happen? Well, it wasn’t the funky lighting (nothing out of the ordinary there), the amplification or electronic reverb (there wasn’t any), the GoPro camera mounted on the top of the double bass (ditto): it was the music, and the energy and spirit in which it was played. Pure and simple.

These two reviews – perhaps let’s call them “responses” – go some way to summing-up why that concert was such a stunning success. Take a look, and if so inspired, please leave us a comment below and join our discussion about audiences, about classical music and all the things són are doing.

Plus, we’ll be releasing a few short film extracts of the concert soon, too – so if you missed it, you can judge for yourself.

Happy reading – and humblest thanks to these two audience members for sharing their thoughts, and all our friends for supporting our work.

vibrant, energetic, unpredictable music-making

“The standing ovation at the end of són‘s 8 Seasons concert at the Turner Sims on 22 October spoke for itself. The audience had been enthralled for two hours by vibrant, energetic and unpredictable music-making, and they had to stand up and clap in order to acknowledge how remarkable that experience had been.

There were many moments of fine playing from Daniel Rowland, the violin soloist, and from the són strings conducted by Robin Browning; but what led to the standing ovation was the sheer energy and musical daring of the whole event. Interspersing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires completely transformed the all too well-known Vivaldi pieces into fresh, alive music never heard before. This was not the Vivaldi of Smooth Classics on Classic FM nor the Vivaldi of the answer machine message  ‘You are moving forward in the queue…’ This was a strange, edgy, nervous Vivaldi. Piazzolla’s pieces are responses to Vivaldi’s Seasons, but in this performance it seemed that it was Vivaldi who was responding to Piazzolla.

That inspired linking was the origin of this event, but it was the personality and the playing of Daniel Rowland which made the night so electric. His physical presence, turning to the orchestra leader, turning to sections of the orchestra, turning to the harpsichordist, made the musical experience also a visual and theatrical experience. As a violinist he drove himself to the limit with impossibly fast tempos, and he energised són by demanding extreme dynamic contrasts and throwing them from total calm into frenzied action.

When directed by Daniel in the Vivaldi the orchestra had to follow his unpredictable style of playing and respond to his risk-taking. When conducted by Robin in the Piazzolla they brought off amazingly complex rhythms and produced highly original string sounds, while at the same time fitting in with the improvised style of the soloist. They produced moments of great beauty and quite unexpected passages of elegant lyricism. But most of the time the music was on the edge: it was truly exciting, constantly alive with something new, different and unforeseen.

No wonder that, at the end, the audience was on its feet, clapping and cheering!”

Frank Stack

Soloist Daniel Rowland (left) and conductor Robin Browning backstage after 8 Seasons

Just incredible again!

“So, what can I say….. just incredible again – you really pull it off don’t you?!

You have me and Carley really enjoying something we never would have dreamt of not so long ago, but we have just experienced our 3rd session of orchestral music live and what a performance by Daniel Rowland. The 8 seasons were so dramatic and grabbing – it really does take you somewhere, certainly with the whole orchestra firing up. I can’t work out which instrument to focus on there’s so much going on, it’s purely fascinating to watch everyone at work. Hard to compare to John Suchet in Eroica Unwrapped [earlier in our concert season] – completely different but that was an awesome Beethoven work, too.

Well done són and thanks for introducing us into something other than the boring repetitive modern chart music that my girls drown me in.”

Lee Fisher


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The Viola - Unsung Hero of the Orchestra

A LOOK AT THAT MOST HEROIC
OF INSTRUMENTS – THE VIOLA

The viola. The big brother of the violin, the smaller of the cello – the middle child as it were. Much like the middle child, the viola gets overlooked and underappreciated, well, depending on who you talk to. Despite its crucial harmony parts in all of the great orchestral works the poor viola is barely ever given the recognition it deserves. Its rich sound provides the perfect tone to fill the chords and therefore gives us those spine chilling moments of a full orchestral sound. Despite these small beginnings, as orchestral music developed so did the viola parts – for instance, in Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique the viola plays the tune during the slow movement and Mendelssohn (who is the basis for our A Midsummer Night’s Dream concert) wrote a Viola sonata in C minor. In a typical, large symphony orchestra there are twelve viola seats, but because són is a chamber orchestra, we generally carry a section of four – this would have been pretty standard for Beethoven’s day, too.

The viola is so well loved that even the greats played it, Mozart, Haydn, and the star of our Eroica Unwrapped concert, Beethoven himself. Of course, they played the violin as well but nevertheless, my point stands. Here at són we love our violas so much that we want to give them a say, and prove to you all that our real heroes come from the centre. As part of an exclusive interview for the són Circle, I got to talk to Sophie Renshaw – our principal viola:

What do you think is the viola’s main role within the orchestra?

I would say that – similar to its role in chamber music from Mozart, Schumann and Brahms onwards – it plays a pivotal role in the harmonic colour and texture of scores. Being in the middle range, it lends warmth and depth to the string section sound and is often given key notes in the harmony, as well as pivotal notes in harmonic modulations, tensions and major/minor changes. To my ear it is the most fun part to play as the violas tend to sit right in the heart of the orchestra. Since composers often give the tune to the violas, a violist needs to be equally aware of playing either the top line to accompany other parts, the bass line with the celli/bass, or an accompanying line with the second violins. Never a dull moment!

How were you introduced to your instrument?

I was introduced to the instrument when asked to play it in a string quartet at school. I had been a violinist for a few years but never really felt quite at home and the moment I picked up the viola aged about 15 I was hooked. I loved it primarily in chamber music and then gradually began exploring the solo repertoire. I have picked up the violin again from time to time, for instance to be able to play both parts for Schoenberg’s ‘Pierrot Lunaire’.

What is your favourite piece for viola?

It is very hard to choose just one favorite piece written for it, but among my favourites would be the Brahms sonatas, Britten’s ‘Lachrymae’ and Hindemith’s ‘ Trauermusik’.

Who is your musical hero?

J S Bach, Chick Corea, Glenn Gould, and John Wyre among many others!

Thanks, Sophie, for enlightening us!

Of course, this isn’t to say that the rest of the orchestra isn’t heroic. You can’t have any piece of music without a melody line or a bass line and it doesn’t become interesting without a countermelody. As much as we would like it to, the violas cannot provide all of this alone so we realise that every part is vital, each and every instrument is an unsung hero in its way. It’s just this week we like the viola.


Sophie Hart
són Creative Intern

April 2016


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10 Reasons to Love our Launch

Looking back at the són debut concert – a brief retrospective

We’re now quite a few weeks beyond the incredible són launch concert late last year – in fact we’re moving beyond Valentine’s Day and nudging nearer to the NEXT exciting són event – Eroica Unwrapped with John Suchet. But now is as good a time as any to look back at the delights of that incredible day – our Sibelius Unwrapped launch.

To keep you all from drifting off-piste as we hurtle through this retrospective, we’ve numbered and bullet-pointed. Always good for discipline. So, pay attention, we’re ready for off – here’s our list of the TOP TEN toppest things from our launch concert:

1. We sold out

Doesn’t need much fluffing up, this one. Goes without saying this made us very, very happy. It was very possibly helped by simultaneous articles, during the run-up to our launch, in Slipped Disc, and Amati Magazine – as well as a whole-page article in the Daily Echo under the headline “Here comes the són”. All of which generated considerable local momentum, and dramatically increased national awareness of són and our mission.

Of course, it could’ve been the crafty flyering campaign in the local Oxfam Music Shop (we know at least a couple of audience members were seduced by that cunning ruse), but only our marketing team will know for sure…

In fact, not only did we sell out, but those lovely people at Turner Sims pushed the boundaries and released extra, last-minute seats because demand was so high. And everyone STILL got a free slice of cake in the interval.

2. The capacity crowd loved it

This was the word on the street – supplemented by word of mouth during and after, via twitter and other channels, and also via our audience page and feedback forms.

“What an inspiration”
“Perfect way to spend a Sunday Afternoon – when  is the next concert?”
“What a splendid addition són is to the Southampton scene”

Comments like these make all the hard work worthwhile. You can read more of them here

John Denham (Chairman of Southampton Cultural Development Trust) shares his thoughts with són Artistic Director Robin Browning after the performance

3. We celebrated Sibelius in some style

Of course we did. How could we not?! It’s not every year musicians get to celebrate such an extraordinary composer. We knew the timing was ideal – our launch coinciding with his 150th. Amongst the capacity crowd were the Honorary Finnish Consul, the Finnish Cultural Attaché, and a large bunch of wonderful Sibelians from Sibelius ONE – the International Sibelius Society.

4. We even squeezed in a UK PREMIERE

A last-minute addition! Andrew Barnett, manager of Sibelius ONE, gained permission on behalf of són from the Sibelius family only days before the concert, allowing us to give the UK premiere of the composer’s original version of the Impromptu for Strings. Thank you, Andrew.

The stunning birthday cake, commissioned by són to celebrate their launch and Sibelius’s 150th birthday

5. We enjoyed a wonderful slice of cake. Or two.

són decided that, as this was a DOUBLE birthday celebration, we jolly well ought to get a nice big cake. So we did. Slicing into the icing during the post-concert reception, our Artistic Director showed he was far less adept with a kitchen knife than a baton.

Robin Browning swaps baton for kitchen knife

6. The orchestra were on fire

And, by all accounts, loved it too. Musicians are a hardy bunch – they have to be. A wet Sunday in late November isn’t every player’s idea of fun, especially when threatened with a photographer and film-maker, too. However, not only did the són players respond impeccably to the usual demands made on professional instrumentalists – time-constraints, odd lighting, zoom-lens-in-face – but they even seemed to enjoy it. They played fabulously, of course – testament not only to their skill and great pedigree, but also to their wide-open hearts, incredible awareness, and inclination towards healthy risk-taking on stage. They worked triple-quick in rehearsal, embracing the inevitable variables of a new ensemble openly, readily and deftly. And played with fire and finesse in the concert. Bravo, one and all.

són, mid-Sibelius, in front of a capacity crowd

7. And they also had fun

Not only on stage, but also in the impromptu (forgive the pun) studio which Chris Christodoulou – our resident photographer for the whole day – set-up in the Turner Sims green room. It wasn’t all musical sweat and toil for the players…

For proof of their lighter-hearted side, head over to our new Portrait Gallery

8. Our souvenir programmes were amazing. Or so we were told…

Full of glossy photos, cleverly-curated articles and even a gingerbread recipe, they sold like hot-cakes. Or hot-gingerbread, if you prefer. Missed picking one up? Then you’re in luck: read the whole thing on our publications page.

David Owen Norris (L) and Robin Browning taking a break during rehearsals

9. David Owen Norris unwrapped it all brilliantly

David was his usual, indefatigable self. An inspirational musical personality, he brought the music of Sibelius to life during the “Unwrapped” first half. David captured the audience’s imagination with his signature blend of knowledge, charisma and disarming delivery. He was rather funny, too.

You can see són and David in action in our new film from the concert here – it’s the first film on our new Video page.

10. We brought a new cultural voice to the fore

The team behind són brought a strong newcomer onto the UK’s musical stage that day. The response in the hall was overwhelming. We must be doing something right if we sell-out, and people are clamouring for more. són made a real impact, and will continue doing so not only on the concert stage, but also in education work around the city and throughout the region over the coming months.

We have big plans. We’re ambitious about getting our orchestra, as well as our powerful message and all this incredible music, out there to audiences across the south. And, in due course, to all of you, wherever you are, via live-streaming and through our first downloadable tracks.

Now all eyes are on the future – looking towards our next concert, our next “Unwrapping” in collaboration with John Suchet, and our rapidly-expanding musical adventures. Stay with us, and if you’ve not been before, join us on our journey.

Thank you to each and every one of you for your support – són would never have existed, least of all lifted off the ground, without you.


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Seven Reactions to our Debut

Concert-goers leave glowing impressions following our sell-out launch concert

It’s taken us a little while to collate all the feedback from our launch event last year – over the last few weeks we’ve been busy working towards our follow-up concert in April and planning supersónic, our brand new orchestral summer school. But – finally! – we’re delighted to share some comments with you now, from audience members lucky enough to catch our sell-out debut “Sibelius Unwrapped”.


We were delighted to welcome són at its Turner Sims debut. At last a truly professional orchestra for Southampton! It was particularly good to see (and hear) some ex-Bournemouth Sinfonietta members, notably Lionel Handy – Principal Cello, and Andrew Knights – one of the best oboists in the country, coaxing such beautiful sounds from the cor anglais. What a pity to hear so little of Valse Triste and Andante Festivo, but as a lifelong lover of Sibelius, I much enjoyed David Owen Norris’s illustrated talk in the first half, so something had to give! The Turner Sims acoustics burnished their beautiful string tone well, and what a talented leader you have in Victoria Sayles! Congratulations, Robin Browning, on a great, promising launch!

David Rands, Romsey, Hampshire


“What an inspirational conductor! Perfect way to spend a Sunday Afternoon – when  is the next concert?”

LD, Southampton – winner of a PURE DAB radio as part of són‘s audience prize-draw last month


“So many things I found absolutely fantastic – what an inspiration”

EW, Hampshire


“The first half was fascinating and the second half magnificent. An excellent way to arrange a very interesting concert. Overall, a wonderful afternoon – what a splendid addition són is to the Southampton scene”

MS, Hampshire


“It’s about time that Southampton had an orchestra! Well done for establishing it, and hope you have a long association with Turner Sims and the City”

PU, Southampton


“Great quality of playing and conducting. There was astonishing ‘presence’ with the strings”

DM, Southampton


“It is a wonderful new orchestra with an excellent conductor. Please come to the Turner Sims again. It was great to have such a large orchestra here”

JS, Southampton


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Our Journey Begins!

We’re only one week away from launch! Sibelius Unwrapped is live, on-stage and – yes, unwrapped! – in just one week’s time.

We’re very excited. We can’t wait to get out on stage and introduce you to our fabulous orchestra and the feast of breathtaking music we have lined up. The finishing touches are just being added to our souvenir programme (available to purchase on the day). It’ll include one or two surprises, and we hope you like it.

Tickets are selling well – only a small number remain on each side-aisle as we write. Pick yours up before it’s too late!

If you’re unable to join us at Turner Sims next Sunday, you can still glimpse insights during the day – including parts of our rehearsal, the occasional interview, and some fly-on-the-wall footage – via the són Periscope channel. Download the app below, and follow us there just like you would on twitter, so you don’t miss a single minute of our broadcasts.

Whilst we’re not officially live-streaming this event via our own channels, we will be bringing you selected moments throughout the day – and you’ll need periscope to watch it. It’s an elegant, interactive live-streaming platform – simply click here to get started:

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Or, if you prefer, you can watch us via the web on your computer. Just click the button below to go to the són Periscope channel:

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Whatever you choose to do – join us on the day, watch online, or join in with our live tweets – we sincerely hope you enjoy being with us and are inspired by our music-making. You, our audience – whether you’re with us in person or watching halfway around the world – are the most important thing in all that we do.

We’d love to hear your views. Please share your thoughts via the hashtag #SibeliusUnwrapped

We look forward to seeing you at our launch concert!


Just in case you missed it, here’s the beautiful film we made a few weeks ago featuring music by Jean Sibelius and looking forward to Sibelius Unwrapped…


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Six Weeks Until Launch

Exciting times lie ahead. For us here at són, and potentially for you too.

We’re not talking about the run up to Christmas, or the new series of Downton Abbey. We’re talking about Sibelius Unwrapped, the són launch concert on Sunday 29 November. Our team are just sending out the final details to the players, and we’ll shortly be announcing and listing them on our website. We’ll highlight some of them as featured musicians, offering you – our audience – not just a glimpse into “who’s who”, but a sense of connection with the orchestra we’re forming, too.

After all, it’s not every day a major UK city gains a new professional orchestra. són are proud to be developing an inspiring ensemble, and we’re confident it’ll feature strongly in the cultural community for years to come. We’re building an orchestra for your city and your region. And we want people to feel associated and involved with us from the very start.

So let’s gaze ahead, through October and November, towards our launch event on the 29th. Not only is an orchestra born that day, but of course one of the greatest composers is celebrated, too. 150 years after his birth, Jean Sibelius’ music is as powerful, moving and enigmatic today as when it was written. As we present Sibelius Unwrapped, you can discover how he composed melodies which could span the widest of Finnish lakes, created incredible icebergs of sound, and wrote dancing rhythms as infectious as they come.

The short film below is all about Sibelius, and features the són Artistic Director in conversation with broadcaster and writer Piers Burton-Page. It gives you an insight into why we chose his music to launch our journey this autumn.

Our very first concert – and those we’re lining up for the future – aim to break down the barriers some audiences feel during classical concerts. Our “unwrapped” series is a simple format, but an effective one: nothing communicates the amazing power of music more directly than charismatic personalities on stage, offering insights, showing the music’s contours and building-blocks, and demonstrating how such incredible art came into being in the first place. As we answer questions about a particular piece’s “how”, and “why”, we offer the listener not just an alternative viewpoint, but a deeper appreciation, too. In our concerts we don’t only answer questions, but leave audiences (as well as the young musicians involved in our education projects) desperately yearning to ask even more.

And finding out what makes great art tick is the strongest goal of all. It’s a formidable undertaking, but the team behind són are totally committed to it. There is often much negativity, year after year, written about the state of the Arts, about elitism, the standard of music education, the apparently desperate future for orchestras and the death of classical music. But great music, like all great art, isn’t dead. It isn’t a dying art form, it isn’t going nowhere. It’s permanent and lasting, life-changing and life-affirming. It has as much relevance now as ever, and is every bit as vivid a testament to the inner and outer world as when it was conceived. It touches the mind and heart simultaneously, and reminds us why we get up each morning.

Thanks for reading all about our launch event. Please leave us a comment below, or join the conversation online @thesonproject, using hashtag #SibeliusUnwrapped. We sincerely hope you’re able to join us for our opening concert, and discover why great music has the power to change the world.

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Image of Jean Sibelius: Henry B Goodwin (Sibelius Museum)


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són Launch - Sibelius Unwrapped

Life at són-central has been a bit manic lately – after all, it’s not every day a brand new professional orchestra is launched! However, we’ve had a little time to draw breath now, and have already begun publicising what we think is a brilliant series of opening events. And, because we’ve just had confirmation of our rather special official launch concert in November, this seems like a great time to tell you a little more about it.

It’s called Sibelius Unwrapped – and is part of Turner Sims Concert Hall’s recently announced Autumn 2015 season. Hailed as one of the finest music venues in the country, hosting over 150 events each year, Turner Sims has an outstanding auditorium, ideal for a chamber orchestra the size and scale of són. It goes without saying that we’re delighted to be part of the Turner Sims season, and to line up alongside some fabulous names in the musical world. són feature in the calendar just after jazz legend Julian Josephs, and right before Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani.

2015 marks the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Finland’s greatest composer, Jean Sibelius. The chance to celebrate this – just nine days before the exact date of his birth, December 8th – was too exciting to resist. són will join with thousands of other musicians across the globe, as we celebrate this great man’s music, rejoicing in all those things which make Sibelius sound like Sibelius… Those incredible harmonies, dark tone colours – with an extraordinary sense of light, too – the pulsating rhythms and unforgettable melodies. As distinctive now as when it was written, Sibelius’ music has a haunting quality, coupled with a startling clarity of form.

Yet at times, too, the sound seems to inhabit a world of beautiful, naïve simplicity. This doesn’t only happen in his early works – such as in the gorgeous, unelaborate op 5 piano piece he later rescored as the Impromptu for Strings, and with which we open our concert on November 29th. It also occurs in later works such as the masterful Andante Festivo, which closes our concert – elegant, and breathtakingly simple.

Between these pieces, we feature Pélleas et Mélisande, Sibelius’ incidental music written for Maeterlinck’s 1893 play. Sibelius was an expert manipulator of form – not only in the symphony, where he’s rightly famed for taming some of the narrative excess of the post-Wagnerians. He was also a master of the miniature – and these incidental miniatures from Pélleas et Mélisande  demonstrate this with dizzying dexterity.

During the concert’s first half, pianist and broadcaster David Owen Norris introduces aspects of each piece, coupled with details of Sibelius’ life and history. On stage, David is joined throughout by són, conducted by artistic director Robin Browning, sharing well-chosen extracts, aiding the audience to delve ever-deeper beneath the music’s surface. And, because the Impromptu was originally written for piano solo, David Owen Norris treats us to a complete performance prior to the interval. After some free tea and cake (what’s not to like?!), són open the second half with the same Impromptu, now draped in orchestral colours – somehow familiar, yet at times startlingly different. This is followed by a complete performance of all the remaining works, including the ever-popular Valse Triste.

On November 29th, we celebrate not only the birth of a Finnish master, but also the birth of a new orchestra. As a city, Southampton is beginning a journey towards its own cultural rebirth, with a state-of-the-art Cultural Centre due to open in the city centre in 2016. So, at this celebratory launch concert, it feels particularly apt that són embarks on its own journey, too. As we start writing our new story, we hope you’ll be part of it and be with us from the very beginning.

Most definitely an afternoon of celebration – please come and join us as we unwrap the best kind of Sibelian birthday present. Oh yes – did we mention the free tea and cake…?!


Booking opens 2nd July 2015

Turner Sims Box Office: 023 8059 5151
[email protected]

Sibelius Unwrapped – Turner Sims website

Sibelius Unwrapped – són website


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Welcome to són - A New Sound For A New Stage

Hello everyone! Welcome to the són website and thanks for stopping by. Without wishing to be too self-congratulatory, we think the site looks beautiful. So, although we can’t possibly imagine why you might feel this way (!) – if you think something needs changing, please get in touch and we’ll add it to our list of webmastering tweaks.

Here at són HQ we’re really excited because our launch events have just been confirmed and announced. Have you checked them out yet? If you haven’t, click here and take a look.

It’s such a great feeling, putting together a brand new project, seeing things grow and come together so quickly. We can’t wait to get going, and to show the world what we’re capable of. We feel like són is truly lifting off, not least because we’ve had such great advice and positive feedback over the last few weeks. We’re working very hard, connecting with musicians all across the country, and building bridges with local business people, as well as cultural leaders from all art forms including the theatre and prominent artists. We’ve been sharing many a cappuccino with concert promoters, festival directors and education hub managers – as well as orchestral players, soloists, leaders… And some potential masterclass coaches for our future series of academy projects, too.

Yes, it’s early days – as we write, the ink is still wet on the page of our launch events, and the earliest is still a few weeks away. But we know that the són project is going to travel far and wide, and that there’s both the market and support for it to do so. As we’ve been researching things (creating business plans, preparing for meetings, all that kind of thing) it’s shocked us that somewhere as large, and thriving as Southampton has never boasted a fully-professional resident orchestra – until now. Yes, there’s always been a wealth of music and culture in and around Hampshire. And of course the Bournemouth Symphony are pretty close by, too. Yet, in reality, no pro band for one of the country’s largest cities.

Now, here’s the thing: Southampton is set to become a brand new artistic pin on the UK’s cultural map, not least because a state-of-the-art cultural centre is on its way, opening 2016. The artistic tone of the city now lies in the caring hands of a large set of trustees – comprising business leaders, and both creative and industry figureheads. Southampton’s cultural identity, and its future, seems to be in good shape. So it’s difficult to square this with the long-held (and, alas completely untrue) adage that Southampton “has no culture”.

The launch of  són is perfectly timed, coinciding as it does with a huge growth in the arts scene both in the city and beyond. At són we’re already in discussion with key policy makers on the cultural trust. As we peer into the future, sensing what possibilities lie ahead for són‘s new venture, so does the whole city of Southampton, beginning its own similarly exciting adventure. Both of us – són and city – are moving towards a creatively vital future, one where we certainly hope to be fused together. So, as our homepage tagline would have it, són is definitely a new sound, for a new stage.

We hope you keep closely in touch with all the són events as they launch throughout 2015 – from our opening son | education project in late June, to our official launch concert in November. Remember, you can follow us on twitter, facebook and also via our regular newsletter, too.

Best wishes from all at the són team


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