Ensemble Reza: Offering families the thrill of live music

Ensemble Reza
Ensemble Reza

Musicians playing in a first class string ensemble return to Cuckfield next month for their first ever family concert.

Ensemble Reza, a group who are known for their virtuoso style, will perform on Sunday, March 9, from 4-5pm at Holy Trinity Church.

Cellist Pavlos Carvalho is enthusiastic about the event and hopes that it will encourage youngsters to start exploring the complexity and wonder of the musical world.

“There are so many things one can do through music,” he says.

“It’s made my life so, so rich and opened up many kinds of doors, from friendships to different skills that I learnt...and travelling.”

Pavlos stresses that a love of music doesn’t just benefit children but could have a positive effect on our culture in general.

“It’s more than just what the music can do for the children, it’s what the children can do for the music,” he states.

“I think it’s through them that this music continues to be performed. That’s why these concerts are so important. They try to ignite a kind of passion in them so they want to spread this music the way we want to.”

As well as exposing children to the music of Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky, the concert will offer youngsters the chance to have a go at conducting.

Pavlos explains: “We’ll have three or four goes and invite different children of different ages to stand up in front of us.

“We’re going to play a piece of music, probably the Trepak from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, which is quite a fast piece in 2/4. Then I’ll demonstrate what one can do by conducting at fast speeds, slower speeds, showing loud and soft. Then we’ll give them the opportunity to do the same and, hopefully, to feel the excitement of what it’s like to be able to control four musicians and make them play in whatever way they want – even if it’s ridiculous and it completely falls apart.”

Born into a musical family, it’s no surprise that Pavlos’s passion for music was ignited at young age.

“My father was a classical cellist,” he says. “I used to wake up to him playing Bach every morning – different movements from the Bach suite.”

It wasn’t just classical though. Pavlos’s father, who was from Brazil, also had a love for jazz, latin and Brazillian music.

It was a diverse mix and Ensemble Reza’s concert won’t be limited to classical music either.

There will be pieces by Gershwin, as well as some much loved film tunes, although the ensemble hasn’t revealed what they will be yet.

Pavlos likes a wide variety of musical styles too and he gives an amusing answer when asked what his favourite piece of music is.

“Whichever one I’m playing at the moment,” he laughs.

“When I’m playing baroque music then I think ‘this is it’ – the purity of the music and the sort-of simplicity. It’s so cathartic and then you play Tchaikovsky or the richness of Brahms or something as exciting as Arensky.”

He pauses for a moment and continues cautiously:

“If I really had to choose…then something like the Schubert Quintet is a life-changing piece.”

However, Pavlos explains that the real thrill of music comes from seeing it performed live and that it’s not too important what style people enjoy.

He says: “I was playing to a bunch of rock musicians recently who just absolutely went head-over-heels. They simply got carried away by watching the experience of a live musician playing.”

Pavlos continues: “I’ve seen this in young children who don’t necessarily know about Bach and Mozart. Their reaction to watching you play live... it just completely breaks down the barriers of music.

“They become totally enamoured and in awe of seeing musicians’ fingers moving up and down the fingerboards, seeing a group of musicians communicate and working in sync right in front of them and just hearing this immediate sound.”

He adds: “I remember when I was small, seeing one live concert was as valuable as having five cello lessons in a row.”

The March 9 concert costs £8 for adults and £4.50 for 16s and under (and students).

Tickets from Pepperbox in Cuckfield; Wealden Stores, Whitemans Green; Carousel Music, Haywards Heath; and online at www.ensemblereza.com.

Ensemble Reza also hold a regular free lunchtime concert series.

These concerts take place from 1-2pm at the Methodist Church, Perrymount Road, Haywards Heath, on the second Tuesday of each month (next concert March 11).

By Lawrence Smith