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2014 Course

With one of the most stretching programmes yet, our 2014 course was a real triumph! Featuring the Middle Eastern première of Pam Wedgwood’s enigmatic composition, The Captain & the Purple Lady, as well as Heliosphere, a special commission by the locally based composer Joanna Marsh, we truly broke new ground.

We also featured our first solo piece with Bethany Wright, long-time principal clarinettist with AYO performing Weber’s Concertino for Clarinet & Orchestra.

As ever our sincere gratitude is extended to our sponsors, whose kind support has enabled us to build on our successes, year on year!


Conductor - Peter Currie

Peter was born in Scotland, but lives and works in and around London. He won an exhibition to study Conducting, Violin, Piano and Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Whilst at RAM, Peter studied conducting with Normal Del Mar, a regular conductor of the BBC Proms.

In 1982 he became Director of Music at Dulwich Prep School and from 1987-1990 was Head of Music at the Gulf English Secondary School in Kuwait.

He has been Musical Director of the Richmond Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Surrey County Youth Orchestra, regularly directs the Orchestras at Kent Music School’s residential summer schools, was Musical Director of the IAPS National Training Orchestra, works with the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestras of Woking and Maidstone, and the Kent Sinfonia. He was also the inaugural conductor of the Dubai Sinfonia.

Peter has conducted various youth orchestra performances at The Royal Albert Hall including a Schools’ Prom.


Carmen Suite No. 1

   I. Prelude

   Ia. Aragonaise

   II. Intermezzo

   III. Seguedille

   IV. Les dragons d’Acala

   V. Les Toréadors


The Captain and the Purple Lady

Voyage to the Unknown


English Dances – Set 2

   I. Allegro non troppo

   II. Con brio

   III. Grazioso

   IV. Giubiloso

La Forza del Destino Overture



for Clarinet & Orchestra, Op. 26

Soloist: Bethany Wright


Peer Gynt Suite No. 1

from the Incidental Music, Op. 46

   I. Morning Mood



Giuseppe Verdi


Carl Maria von Weber




Edvard Grieg




Joanna Marsh

Georges Bizet








Pam Wedgwood



Malcolm Arnold

Arabian Youth Orchestra Joanna Marsh

Heliosphere for orchestra by Joanna Marsh

In December 2013 the sun’s magnetic polarity reversed, a phenomenon that takes place approximately every 11 years.

The sun's magnetic field exerts its influence in a wide space, known as the heliosphere. The heliosphere stretches well beyond Pluto and is as far reaching as NASA's Voyager probes close to the edge of interstellar space.

The exact mechanism by which the magnetic poles flip is not fully understood by researchers but physicist Todd Hoeksema from Stanford University has explained the north magnetic field moves towards the pole it erodes the existing opposite polarity. He says: "It's kind of like a tide coming in or going out. Each little wave brings a little more water in, and eventually you get to the full reversal."

The structure of this piece is broadly palindromic to reflect the cyclic nature of the subject matter. It starts and ends with a transparent texture rooted in the ostinato figure in the harp and glockenspiel. This moves into a powerful swirling central section building on the turning motive of the opening.

Joanna Marsh is a British composer who has been living in Dubai since 2007. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and was an organ scholar at Sidney Sussex College Cambridge. She later studied composition with Richard Blackford and Judith Bingham. Recent commissions have included “Arabesques” for the Kings Singers, a Missa Brevis, for St. Alban’s Cathedral and a work for choir and orchestra “A bad day for Margaret Horton” for Kent College Pembury.

Joanna is programme curator for The Score, who most recently put on ChoirFest Middle East in Dubai, March 2014.


For more information on Joanna Marsh click here.

Arabian Youth Orchestra Pam Wedgwood

A note from Pam Wedgwood........

On holiday in north Cornwall I came across an inscription on a wooden bench overlooking the sea. It said “To the Captain and the Purple Lady”, with the motto: “The sun is always over the yardarm” Perhaps the Captain must have gone down with his boat “The Purple Lady”? This caught my imagination and I composed a piece for full orchestra using this title – a journey on the high seas.


I am delighted that AYO will be performing this piece, which will be its Middle Eastern premiere, and wish them every success in their course.


For more information on Pam Wedgwood click here.

2014 Sponsors

We would like to thank our 2014 sponsors, without whose generosity and support AYO would be unable to operate.


Click on the logos below to find out more!

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