Rising star conductor Jonathon Heyward has earned rapturous acclaim for his BBC Proms debut on 7 August. Leading the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and violinist Nicola Benedetti.
The Arts Desk’s Boyd Tonkin applauds, “Heyward’s assured, even audacious, direction.” He writes:
“Heyward coaxed the NYO into some ravishing exchanges with the silver filigree of [Benedetti’s] tone. The glorious andante, as an almost jokey tick-tock Baroque motif answers the gossamer beauties of the violin melody, unrolled like fine silk threaded through with strands of bitter wormwood. …Heyward made sure they sounded playful and poignant all at once. He kept up the disciplined cohesion of sound that marked the evening – quite a feat for him, and them.
“…It’s hard to imagine a tougher test than the “Eroica” Symphony for a youth orchestra disrupted by 18 months of emergency shutdowns. …the result moved, excited and most of all uplifted us. …Heyward played it cool. He let in sharp contrasts of light and shade, of frenzy and stillness, gravity and geniality. Here was no naive wham-bang stampede but a sophisticated reading that called for, and got, sophisticated playing at vital turning-points. Mellow, well-paced and balanced strings in the opening Allegro; suspenseful shifts in tempi both there and throughout; a refusal to rush or to shout: Heyward brought out the NYO’s capacity for polish as well as passion. Firm, rich horns dazzled in the scherzo; oboe and clarinet and other woods added their nicely refined contributions; the funeral march rose slowly, even slyly, up its hill of mourning. Heyward wasn’t afraid make us to wait, and to listen.”