Charles recalls fond memories of playing in an orchestra

Laura Elston, PA Court Reporter

The Prince of Wales has recalled the joy he experienced playing as part of an orchestra.

In a virtual chat with some of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s 80 members across the world, Charles said he loved the “wonderful sensation” of being part of an “immense whole” with other musicians.

The heir to the throne used to play the cello and performed with the Elgin Orchestra in 1967 and the Trinity College Orchestra while studying at Cambridge University.

Charles listened to a virtual performance of Schubert’s Octet by the Philharmonia, of which he is patron.

Sharing his lifelong love of music, the prince said during the video call: “I find the whole experience of being with the orchestra, or listening to it in a wonderful great hall, is extraordinary because the sound completely surrounds you.

“And there is nothing to substitute for that, I think.

“I remember, in my own small way, the joy of playing in an orchestra is that wonderful sensation of being part of an immense whole.”

The prince, who learnt the piano and later played the trumpet in Gordonstoun School’s orchestra, talked of his “wonderful” first music teacher who had the “unlikely name” Miss Hilda Bor.

Miss Bor taught Charles and his sister Anne to play the piano and visited Buckingham Palace twice a week, giving the children lessons in the nursery.

Charles added: “Those sort of early lessons were very important, I think, and I joined the orchestras and I had great fun and I loved it, and that’s how I got more and more interested of course in classical music.”

The prince became patron of the Philharmonia in 1980.

“It’s been one of the most enjoyable and special aspects of my life,” he said.

“I feel enormously proud of what is a really great orchestra, so to be asked to be patron of such a great orchestra was of course a huge honour.”

The prince, who has long been a champion of the performing arts, previously raised concerns about how orchestras and theatres will survive the coronavirus crisis.

The Government has unveiled a £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund for the arts.

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