Corona Strings, launched in 2012, is a clear winner with audiences in Oxford. Their most recent concert Russia with Love began with the exuberance of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik played with passion and commitment, setting the tone for the entire concert. Guest soloists Steve Bailey (trumpet) and Viv McLean (piano) featured with the orchestra in the Shostakovich's Concerto No 1 in C Minor for Piano, Trumpet and Strings. Bailey played with a clarity that launched the piece into its musical journey. Corona's performance took the audience to a completely different place, one which was reminiscent of a Russian escapade. The impressive intricacy of McLean's performance added another layer to the challenging work. It was like encountering a colourful cinematographic soundtrack.
The acoustics are wonderful at St John the Evangelist Church; a combination of hard surfaces gives the best possible condition for this ensemble. Corona Strings perform at a level that other orchestras take many years to perfect. They really understand what it means to be an ensemble and connect as one under the inspiring leadership of Janet Lincé and leader Katherine Leech. Audiences are always appreciative of such wonderful programme notes as the ones written by conductor Lincé.
The concert's finale Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings Op.48, is an iconic work for strings and Corona showed its real strength in tackling this work. Through gestures, glances and smiles the players were engaged with every note. Such vibrant and enjoyable music making should be experienced by music lovers everywhere. It is a privilege to have such an accomplished orchestra in our county.