Talented Perse musician takes key role in National Youth Orchestra

Sakura Fish (Lower Sixth) has enjoyed the honour of leading the second violin section in the National Youth Orchestra (NYO).

The Perse music scholar, who has been playing violin since the age of eight, was given the prestigious role for the NYO’s winter course.

Sakura’s duties for her section included marking bowings and other key details, such as page turns and dynamics, into the score and ensuring the second violins kept in line with the first violin section.

She also led the warm-ups for her section and helped her fellow second violinists work through certain difficult passages, as well as being “a friendly face for anyone in the section to come and talk to.”

“I was absolutely honoured to be given the role of principal second violin,” said Sakura, who names fellow violinist Nicola Benedetti CBE and saxophonist Jess Gillam MBE as her musical role models, having played in concerts with them while a member of the National Children’s Orchestra.

“I was very excited for this challenge and although it was quite nerve-racking at first, it was great to meet so many new people and I really enjoyed it.”

The winter course concluded with a concert at Warwick Arts Centre in which the NYO performed Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances, Gabriela Lena Frank’s Three Latin American Dances and Dawn, a new work by British composer Thomas Ades, before rounding off with an encore of Panda Chant, a rhythmic vocal piece by Meredith Monk. There was also a piece by Florence Price, performed by a quartet, of which Sakura was chosen to play first violin.

Sakura, who has been involved with the NYO since 2020, said: “All of the pieces were very nice dances and some were quite joyful, but there were also some slower movements which probably reflect what we’ve been going through over the last couple of years.”

During the NYO concert last summer, she was chosen to introduce the second half of the show and perform a solo piece fittingly called Sakura in the Royal Festival Hall.

A multi-talented musician, Sakura also plays piano and trombone, achieving Grade 8 on both last year, but violin will always be her first love as an instrument.

She said: “You can play pop, rock and folk on the violin and I like being able to explore different styles, but because it is a traditional classical instrument, there’s also so much wonderful repertoire.

“Music is always going to be part of my life and I know I want to continue playing violin because it’s something I love and I’ve put a lot of effort into it over the years.”


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