Nicholas Collon conducts the Aurora Orchestra in performing a Beethoven work from memory at the 2022 BBC Proms. Photograph by Mark Allan.

In Wednesday’s (8/30) Guardian (U.K.), Nicholas Collon, principal conductor of Great Britain’s Aurora Orchestra, writes, “Ever since Igor Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring burst into life on a balmy Parisian evening in May 1913, it has … rightly earned its title as the watershed moment in 20th-century orchestral music…. So it gives us a small thrill to think that this week Aurora Orchestra will achieve a new first: performing the work entirely from memory. Back in 2014, I had the idea that the orchestra should experiment with performing a piece by heart. The orchestra was well versed in thinking outside the box about how we presented concerts, players were used to moving while playing, or creating segues between pieces to join the program into a long arc of storytelling, sometimes improvising or even memorizing small chunks of music…. Almost a decade later, and Aurora has given well over 100 performances of more than 15 memorized pieces … The orchestra performed a flawless run-through [of The Rite], no sheet music in sight…. It was as thrilling as any music-making I’ve been a part of…. We have been much less interested in the ‘feat’ of memorizing for its own sake than the possibilities–musical, theatrical, even educational–which the approach opens.”