York Beethoven Project needs string players for first symphony concert in September. Here’s how to apply

John Atkin: Pulling the strings – and hopefully pooling the strings – for the York Beethoven Project

WANTED! String players and students are needed for the York Beethoven Project, launched by White Rose Theatre.

Woodwind or brass pupils can apply too but their places are becoming limited for the first in the series of Beethoven concerts performing his symphonies in order, which opens with No. 1 in C major Op. 21 on Saturday, September 23. 

Plans are in place for Symphonies No. 2 and No. 3 in 2024 and the series will end with Symphony No. 9 in D minor No. 125 in 2027, just in time for the 200th anniversary of Beethoven’s death (March 26 1827, at the age of 56).

Each concert will take place in a different York venue and will be performed by York-based musicians and those from “not too far away”. A double bass player, from Sheffield, has signed up already.

Symphony No. 1 will be rehearsed and performed in one day at Acomb Methodist Church, in association with York Light Orchestra, York Arts Education and White Rose Theatre and sponsored by Inc Dot.

“This is a Come & Play workshop-style event with rehearsals throughout the day from 9.30am, culminating in an informal concert at 4.15pm, with the audience welcome from 4pm,” says organiser John Atkin, the stalwart York musical director. “Once informed if they have been selected, all registered players will receive their parts in advance. 

The poster announcing the formation of the York Beethoven Project

“The aim is to enjoy playing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 throughout the day and then perform it alongside another well-known and popular short guest piece announced on the day! The event is free and is about taking part, experiencing and enjoying the music, with a collection box for voluntary donations from the audience to support the musicians.”

More than 30 musicians have signed up already. “If you’re a musician and want to take part, we’d love to hear from you,” says John. “We’re looking for anyone who can play an instrument that Beethoven wrote for, at Grade 6 or above, who’s over 16. Under-16s can also be considered if accompanied by an adult.”

​To register your interest to perform at the York Beethoven Project, head to: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdpJPqhwH5aqobIjBon647zVut1zM6ay7HI4P6FZorsVVedRA/viewform to complete the application form. Anyone not able to register online can call or text 07806 487695. Enquiries about the project may be made via yorkbeethovenproject@gmail.com.               

“It’s basically on my bucket list to do the Beethoven Symphonies in their entirety at some point in my life,” says John. “I started them at university – way back when in the last century! – and did three or four there, but then life gets in the way.

“I always wanted to complete the cycle and what a better way than with local people. It should be fun.”