The Rehearsal Orchestra does invaluable work on the quiet and with the minimum of fuss. An extraordinary number of British musicians have worked in it, and I myself was a timpanist with the orchestra for a time. It gives musicians an invaluable opportunity to work and learn music at the speed they will have to reproduce in their professional lives.

Sir Simon Rattle, RO Patron

I loved my weekend with you all. There is a tremendous spirit and enjoyment about everything that enables wonders to be achieved. Long may you thrive!

Sir Mark Elder

Music Colleges in the late 1960s did not provide the sophisticated orchestral education current now and so the two summers I spent in the Edinburgh Rehearsal orchestra under the direction of Harry Legge were the best preparation I received for my subsequent orchestral career. I particularly remember playing Shostakovich 8 and Mahler 9. I also had a very good time!

Meyrick Alexander, Head of Woodwind, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama; Principal Bassoon, Philharmonia Orchestra 1980 – 2010 and London Chamber Orchestra 1985 – present.

Priceless moments with the RO, such as passed down traditions in orchestral violin playing techniques, continue to help me for example when I'm involved in the coaching of youth orchestras like The National Children's Orchestras, and I expect such youngsters to eventually play in the RO & pro bands too – full circle, job done, top organisation!

Adrian Charlesworth, Freelance Violinist & RO Alumnus and Trustee

I played trumpet in Beethoven 9 with the Rehearsal Orchestra during my first term at music college, and the high standard was an eye-opener. I met people who gave me good advice and and I heard some inspiring players. During the next few years, the RO built up my orchestral knowledge and experience in a way no music college could. When I came to play the pieces in a performance context I was so thankful to have played them with the RO first. I recommend the RO to anyone looking to learn orchestral parts in a professional-style environment. It's so well run it feels like sitting in a professional orchestra but the conductors always smile! The students and young professional players of the future should be able to enjoy the same opportunities I have had with the RO.

Jo Harris, Freelance trumpeter and Concert Manager & RO Alumna

It was good to work on orchestral works and get them up to a good standard in a short space of time. It was valuable to sit next to professionals and learn from them. It's a good opportunity to learn the repertoire, and in a friendly environment. Rehearsal Orchestra was really well-organised and welcoming.

Violin postgraduate student, RNCM

A hugely beneficial and enjoyable experience. I have discovered two new works which I might otherwise not have come across. Sitting amongst the principal string players is a hugely valuable learning experience, allowing me to realise the issues I should be considering and discussing in student-led ensembles. My desk-partner was very welcoming and I really learnt how the part should be played without having to be told through words.

Violin postgraduate student, RNCM

The Rehearsal Orchestra was a very pleasant and beneficial experience. The friendly atmosphere allowed me to settle in with my fellow musicians very quickly and not feel pressured if I played a wrong note. I was able to gain key [orchestral] experience that will help me as I progress towards my goal. I learned how to work well within my section and also experience being at the very front of the section.

Viola undergraduate student, RAM

Thank you so much for including me in last weekend's programme. I had so much fun playing with such wonderful and kind musicians. As someone who wants to be an orchestral musician, having the opportunity to work through great repertoire in a leadership position is an incredibly special and exciting thing. I've had a great time and everyone has been lovely.

Cello postgraduate student, RAM

I found [the experience] massively useful! Everyone was very friendly and sharing a stand with [the principal] was really interesting. It was lovely to work on something without having to perform at the end (even though the run-through was pretty good!).

Double bass postgraduate student, RWCMD

... the Edinburgh Rehearsal Orchestra, which is, I think, one of the most significant things that has ever evolved out of the Festival.

The Scotsman, 28.8.1957

There was no pampering because they were amateurs. They had to go in at the deep end, like professionals.

Manchester Evening News, 14.6.1958

The orchestra is democratic... but standards are sharpened, players improve, music is learnt... even if it were done with less taste and refinement, the sheer consumption of music would be the orchestra’s greatest usefulness.

Times Educational Supplement, 1958

I have always thought and still do that the RO plays a vital role in bridging the gap that exists between college student orchestras and professional orchestras. The large repertoire the orchestra gets through and the completely professional approach in rehearsals are rewarding and beneficial to all. I personally gained invaluable experience in leading the orchestra.

David Nolan, former RO leader, later leader of the London Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Orchestras, 1982

The experience gained with the RO made my transition to the professional world of the London Philharmonic a smooth and confident one. The invaluable help and the discipline given to us students by a practising orchestral musician, namely Harry Legge, has been to the benefit of all the major orchestras throughout Britain.

Jim McLeod, former RO leader and prize winner, 1982

I would like to thank the Rehearsal Orchestra for the assistance they gave me when I was preparing the Bartók Second Concerto. It was very helpful to have the opportunity to run through this piece with the Orchestra, knowing that it is one of the most demanding pieces to put together. I hope the Orchestra will continue to be able to provide such a valuable service for other artists in the future.

Kyung Wha Chung, 1982

I think the Rehearsal Orchestra has given a great many people a lot of really wonderful experiences, and I include myself in that blessed band.

Moray Welsh, cellist, 1996