The Young Mannheim Symphonists 2019 Winter School, presented by the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra, took place from 8-13 July at Santa Sabina College in Strathfield, and concluded with an inspiring concert at The Hills Grammar School in Kenthurst.

The youth orchestra featured outstanding young musicians from all over Greater Sydney, to the Hawkesbury, the Blue Mountains, west to Orange, NSW South Coast, Newcastle, Melbourne, Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and Hobart.

The concert followed a week of intensive rehearsals and workshops delving into the music and performance styles of the Classical and early Romantic periods. A full house heard these brilliant, young aspiring musicians in action performing Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, Eberl’s Symphony No.1, Reicha’s Wind Quintet Op.88 No.2 and Haydn’s Symphony No.104 ‘London’.

Directing were the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra’s co-artistic directors and internationally renowned Australian musicians Rachael Beesley and Nicole van Bruggen.

This education program of the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra is unique in Australia and is aimed at a high level of performance enabling the participants to experience a deep understanding and appreciation of style and context. Established by the late Richard Gill AO, the Young Mannheim Symphonists Winter School continues to flourish, providing knowledge and expertise directly to young musicians by giving them the best insights and opportunities to develop. Bringing together students from NSW, VIC, QLD and TAS, the sense of connection and camaraderie amongst the students is palpable and their high level of engagement in all aspects of the program is admirable.

From the very first rehearsal at Santa Sabina College, it was clear the participants were well-prepared and excited about the adventure ahead of them. Together with an expert team of directors, tutors and guests from the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra, the participants explored chamber and orchestral repertoire with orchestral and chamber music rehearsals, tutorials, workshops and in-depth discussions on the historical background of the repertoire, HIP (historically-informed performance) learning opportunities, and listening and singing exercises.

With so many wonderful connections to the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra’s founding artistic director the late, legendary Richard Gill AO through both former students and colleagues, the atmosphere again was one of true dedication and passion for the music.

The result? An extraordinary performance at The Hills Grammar School Performance Centre for friends and family along with the general public. The world-class tutors shared their expertise, dedication, knowledge and passion for this music which created a dynamic learning environment during the week, concluding with a brilliant and exciting concert.

Plans to develop and expand these music education activities further are underway to create greater opportunities for the next generation of musicians and music-lovers.

The Young Mannheim Symphonists program is just one part of the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra’s extensive music education offering.

Feedback from musicians and parents of the Young Mannheim Symphonists 2019 Winter School

I wanted to thank ARCO for an amazing and fantastic concert last Saturday. It is wonderful to see the students learning from such experienced musicians and they are so kind and generous with the young people.

Thankyou for providing this opportunity to our students. We were absolutely completely amazed at the talent and enthusiasm shown by everyone. It was very exciting to watch!

[My son] had an amazing time and was beaming from ear to ear after the concert, further cementing his joy of music. He was really looking forward to attending for many weeks beforehand and was so excited about discovering new pieces.

We would like to thank all the musicians and directors for providing this opportunity.
— YMS parent
Young Mannheim Symphonists was incredible because I learned how to play in an advanced orchestral environment without a conductor. This experience was really valuable as it taught me to trust myself as a player, as well as my colleagues around me. It really brings a sense of unity to the ensemble because we all listen more and are so aware of each other’s parts.
— YMS participant
This program was outstanding as it challenged my current understanding of Classical and Romantic music. The highlight of YMS for me was the opportunity to intimately work with other principals in chamber music. I think this greatly challenged my current understanding and allowed me to simultaneously broaden and acquire new skills relevant and crucial for a performer.
— YMS participant
The workshop on Thursday inspired me to the point at which I now want to follow and explore HIP in my university courses and hopefully in my career. The experience of the whole rehearsal process in high-level orchestras and the extra detail involve in historically informed performance was invaluable to me and someday I hope to be able to give this same experience to others.
— YMS participant
I’ve loved everything that has been done. Thanks everyone involved! I look forward to YMS being nationally appreciated far more. Thanks for an absolutely smashing week!
— YMS participant
I had an absolutely amazing week as I did last time and I have gotten so much out of it. I want to thank you for everything you do your passion and enthusiasm really inspires me. Thank you so much!
— YMS participant
Overall it was an amazing experience; I learnt lots and made many friends.
— YMS participant
I just wanted to say thank you for giving me this opportunity to be able to play with other talented musicians for the week. I enjoyed every moment of it and I believed that it has helped me improve multiple parts of my playing and cooperative abilities so thank you! I would love to come back again next year and play other repertoire. Thank you for the effort and time you have put in to creating this amazing program ... this is something I will remember deep in my heart.
— YMS participant
Our sincere thanks for an amazing week of learning and inspiration with the Young Mannheim Symphonists ... [Our daughter] had an incredible week and feels very privileged to have been given the opportunity. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, skills, hard work and inspiration with this group of fine young musicians.
— YMS parent

Young Mannheim Symphonists 2019 Winter School

8-12 July 2019
Winter School rehearsals and workshops
Santa Sabina College, Strathfield

13 July 2019
Winter School Concert
The Hills Grammar School, Kenthurst


BEETHOVEN Coriolan Overture

EBERL Symphony No.1

REICHA Wind Quintet Op.88 No.2

HAYDN Symphony No.104 ‘London’


Rachael Beesley
Nicole van Bruggen


Rachael Beesley | violin
Julia Russionello | violin
Simon Oswell | viola
Kim Worley | cello
Rob Nairn | double bass
Nicole van Bruggen | woodwind
Diana Doherty | woodwind
Alex Bieri | trumpet
Graham Nichols | horn