No-one will be listening harder and urging the Southbank Sinfonia on more tonight at the Rose Theatre than former newsreader and Classic FM presenter John Suchet.

The concert will feature pieces from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Beethoven’s Symphony No.3, ‘Eroica’.

As a Beethoven fanatic, Mr Suchet tells the Surrey Comet: “Every orchestra in the world plays the ‘Eroica’, but I want to hear it attacked fearlessly.”

Introducing the symphony, he will be telling the audience what to listen for, and giving them some background on Beethoven.

He says: “I want to know: was he in love, was he drunk when he wrote it, and I think young people want to know that too.”

The Southbank Sinfonia was established in 2002 and is conducted by musical director Simon Over. It consists of 33 young music graduates representing 17 nationalities.

This year’s orchestra will be accompanied by British actress Patricia Hodge for its theatrical programme.

James Murphy, Southbank Sinfonia managing director, says: “Anybody who thinks classical music is for old people should come and watch them.

“They make classical music very cool.”

The programme will also feature soloist Harvey de Souza, who was leader of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.

Mr Murphy says: “We love The Rose. It is sort of based on an old Shakespearean theatre in the round, but it is also modern.

“We think this is a great match for us, because the orchestra is an old institution of heritage, but it is made up of young people, the stars of the future.”

Southbank Sinfonia at The Rose, Saturday January 26, 7.30pm. Tickets £12-25. Call 08444 821 556.

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