Britten Sinfonia musicians talk Saffron Hall

Britten Sinfonia musicians talk Saffron Hall

Ahead of the start of our first season as Resident Orchestra at Saffron Hall we spoke to some of our musicians who live locally to the venue about what it’s like to perform at the concert hall and what they’re looking forward to in our first season.


Sarah O'Flynn (c) Peter Austen

Sarah O’Flynn (c) Peter Austen

Sarah O’Flynn – flute

There’s nothing more frustrating for an orchestral musician than arriving at a concert venue to find that the acoustic is far from flattering . It can feel like such a disappointment to turn up for the gig and discover that all the fine tuning and attention to detail applied during rehearsals is somewhat offset by a performance space where the sound feels dull, unresonant, or just not loud enough.

Not so with the marvelous Saffron Hall! What a fantastic space, with an acoustic where your instrumental sound really sings. Whether in an orchestral blend, or solo line, the sound rings beautifully, and feels great! What’s more, the proximity of the audience, on all sides, makes for an intimacy that is sometimes missing in more capacious settings.

On seeing a Saffron Hall gig in the diary, I have to confess to a certain sense of smugness. As a Bedfordshire resident I am long used to early morning trains (at crazy peak hour prices) into central London for rehearsals, and late night Lattes at (the thankfully now much-improved) Kings Cross, waiting for the last train home after a gig. So, imagine my glee on a Saffron gig day. No travel stress! Just a gentle, cross-country drive, with a guaranteed parking space on arrival. Magic!


Nicola Goldscheider (c) Thomas Skovsende

Nicola Goldscheider (c) Thomas Skovsende

Nicola Goldscheider – 2nd violin

I’ve been playing with Britten Sinfonia for over two decades in the second violins. Over the years we have been lucky enough to play in some of the most amazing venues in the world. I have to honestly say that Saffron Hall is up there with some of the best!

Not only that,it’s not far from where I live. When we found out that Britten Sinfonia had secured a residency there we were over the moon. It has everything a musician could want – fantastic acoustics, great facilities…. And I’m really looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and hopefully lots of new ones in the audience! Really can’t wait to play in our first concert there on Sunday 16 October.




Clare Finnimore

Clare Finnimore

Clare Finnimore – Principal viola

Performing at Saffron Hall is a local gig for me- I live only 40 minutes away. It’s a journey through beautiful quiet countryside, at the end of which is this wonderful, huge, state- of-the-art concert hall!

I am delighted that Britten Sinfonia will now have a residency here. Saffron Hall is a fabulous place to perform and we have given many concerts here, the highlights for me being Bach’s St John Passion directed by Jackie Shave, a live screening of ‘Psycho‘ with the original Bernard Herrmann score, and family concerts with artist Ed Vere led by Hannah Conway. We now have many more exciting concerts planned for the future!

I have a regular connection with Saffron Hall as a teacher and coach at Saffron Centre for Young Musicians which happens every Saturday. I’m also on the Saffron Hall mailing list and have attended some fantastic concerts  including a piano recital by András Schiff and a Jazz concert with US based ‘James Farm’ with sax player Joshua Redman – who Britten Sinfonia has played with, on tour with Brad Mehldau.

I am very fortunate to live so close to Saffron Hall. Here’s to the next season!

Find out more about all of our musicians in the Meet the Orchestra section of our website