The launch of the Curate and Player’s Picks videos at our Summer Weekender festival also mark the final moment of Caroline Pether’s tenure as Leader of Sinfonia Cymru; her Curate programme, Spiritual Borderlands, is her final project with us as Leader. It’s sad that the pandemic got in the way of her final year of live performances – I was particularly looking forward to a self-directed programme that would have included Britten’s Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge, alongside a Haydn concerto and Karl Jenkins’ Palladio.
But there is so much to celebrate and look back upon. Unquestionably, Caroline is a superb musician – technically and musically – and the thought that she puts into programme selection and then preparation is evident. I will remember the freshness she brought to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, something we know was shared by audience members, and also the detailed work she put into the recent Richard Strauss concert we did under lockdown conditions for students at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, which included the septet version of Metamorphosen alongside Capriccio. I will also remember how engaging she was when being quizzed by young primary age pupils from Maindee School, Newport prior to one of our regular chamber concerts at the Riverfront. Whatever the programme, whoever the audience, her wholehearted commitment was always the same.
Alongside her work with Sinfonia Cymru, her teaching commitments at Birmingham Conservatoire and various chamber music projects, Caroline was also a member of Manchester Camerata and, last autumn, she was appointed as their Leader. I’m sure it’s a role in which she and the orchestra will flourish.
Sinfonia Cymru is very fortunate to have had someone of Caroline’s calibre as its Leader for the last few years, not only because of her consummate professionalism, but she is also a lovely person and it’s been a sincere pleasure to work with her.
We wish her the very best in her future career.