A SPANISH teenager who moved to Gateshead four years ago has landed one of the top roles in British youth music.
Sergio Serra, a pupil at Heworth Grange Comprehensive, has been appointed co-principal cellist of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
The talented musician is now looking forward to a season in which he will perform at the country’s top concert halls, including The Sage Gateshead and London’s Royal Albert Hall during the BBC Proms.
The 16-year-old is no stranger to these venues. He has been a National Youth Orchestra member for the past two years, performing at the BBC Proms and at Glastonbury this year.
But his progression from the back to the front rank of the 19-strong cello section means he will start the 2007/8 season with a new burden of responsibility.
Undaunted, he said yesterday: “There were two auditions, one regional and one in London in front of a panel. But it was OK.
“I am really looking forward to the new season because we are playing some big pieces and we will be working with some renowned conductors.”
Sergio came to the North-East from Madrid when his father, Joan-Albert Serra, was appointed head of vocal and instrumental learning at The Sage Gateshead before the building was completed.
“Coming to a different place and a different culture, I was nervous and excited,” recalled Sergio. “My English was all right but coming to the North-East and hearing it spoken – I hadn’t expected that.”
But music crosses all language and accent barriers and the then 12-year-old Sergio soon made an impact.
He was appointed principal cellist of the Young Sinfonia, the orchestra comprising the cream of the region’s young musicians, in September 2004.
Sergio is currently studying for A-levels in music, French and German but has already set his heart on a career as a musician, having played the cello from the age of five.
Proud father Joan-Albert, who plays trumpet, said there will be four North-East players in the National Youth Orchestra this year, the others being violinists Hannah Hubbard and Lucy Bloxham, and harpist Emily Hoyle.
All of them also play in the youth ensembles based at The Sage Gateshead.
The Young Sinfonia, featuring Sergio and his 13-year-old sister Clara, a violinist, can next be heard at Hexham Abbey on November 10, conducted by Nicholas Kraemer.