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I finished my full-time job at the CBSO on 11th February – and haven’t stopped for  a moment since. It’s no secret that freelance work tends to be higher-intensity than work in an office, and I’ve certainly found that to be the case; even more so since I’ve been entirely freelance.

Anyway, I didn’t have any time for nostalgia about my old career because first thing on 12th February, I was chatting on the phone to Gavin Plumley about this year’s Salzburg Festival programme. Then, with barely time for the big mug of freshly-ground coffee I’ve been promising myself as a perk of the freelance job, I was on the train down to London to attend the final rehearsals and debut performance of Sir Simon Rattle’s Young Orchestra for London at the Barbican – an afternoon’s work that, entirely unexpectedly, culminated in my hearing Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker perform the last three Sibelius symphonies. Now that is a perk – and definitely worth the mad sprint to Euston afterwards, just in time for the last train to Lichfield.

After nearly two decades in the orchestra business, it’s encouraging to know that I can still get a bit of a buzz from being given something like this.


And it was fantastic to catch up with some old colleagues – Ben Gernon and Paul Keene – to meet hitherto Twitter-only acquaintance Kelly Lovelady and, of course, to gather vox pops and backstage stories for the purpose of my visit: a “Digital Essay” on this whole fantastic project. I finished the words on Sunday 15th February and Sidd Khajuria and his team at the Barbican transformed it into a rather fabulous-looking digital account of the Young Orchestra, ready to go live on Friday 20th.

Here it is. It was huge fun to write, but I can’t deny that I’m thrilled with the transformation that Sidd and his colleagues have wrought on my words. This was the first big job of my fully-freelance career, and I couldn’t have asked for a more inspiring one.