We’re delighted to announce the appointment of Mel Le Breuilly as APO’s assistant music director. Mel has been APO’s leader since October 2018, and a member of the orchestra for many years before that. Explaining the decision, APO’s music director, Andrew Taylor, said, ‘Mel is more than the excellent leader you see ‘from the chair’ during rehearsals and concerts. She provides leadership in a more general sense and I have found her counsel and support invaluable. We have a shared understanding of the challenges faced by APO’s string section, and how this fits in with the wider musical objectives of the organisation.’
In the role of assistant MD, Mel will take a more active role in directing string workshops and rehearsals. She will also encourage a greater sense of collective responsibility on the part of the string section leaders for each concert. To support this, APO will also be formally appointing string principals, which is a natural progression of the culture that has been developing under Mel’s leadership.
String principals will be identified from players who put themselves forward and meet two criteria: a) they are of sufficient standard and confidence to lead their section (and in the case of the violins, the orchestra), b) they have routinely played in most APO concerts and the majority of APO rehearsals over a significant period, and plan to continue this trend.
Although they will often lead their section, string principals will not lead in each concert; these duties will continue to be shared, and indeed some front-desk or even leader chair positions will be made available to non-principals. The principals will provide support moving through the section during rehearsals, supporting those in the leaders’ chairs and increasing the confidence of players requiring development. Expect to see the principals sitting at the back of the section as much as anywhere else within them!
Any APO string players interested in becoming a string principal should contact Mel, in the first instance.