A hot Monday evening, 17th July 2017 saw the Tees Valley Youth Orchestra play to a packed hall One at the Sage Gateshead. The first half, Romeo & Juliet Suite No2 by Prokofiev, provided a worthy curtain raiser to the main event, the Shostakovitch 10th Symphony. This work, premiered just after Stalin’s death, has been described as “the musical embodiment of oppression”. The young musicians were augmented by some returning alumni for the occasion, making a 120 strong orchestra that spanned the entire stage of this excellent venue. The audience loved it and showed as much with a fully committed standing ovation. Maestro Nick Nowicki lightened the mood for the encores (from Shostakovitch Jazz Suite & Borodin, Polotsvian Dances), delivered with gusto and no small measure of humour that left the audience smiling all the way through another ovation.