YORK violinist Jacob George will perform as a soloist under his father Alan's baton for the first time when the Academy of St Olave’s chamber orchestra marks George senior's tenth season as musical director on Saturday.

Jacob will play Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in the beautiful setting of St Olave’s Church, Marygate, York, on his return to the York orchestra, for whom he played previously within the ranks.

"Being conducted by my dad in an orchestra is something I'm used to, since I played in the Academy of St Olave's for many of my teenage years," says Jacob. "We've also performed chamber music together, but I've never worked with him before as a soloist."

Jacob, who is studying for an MSc in urban planning at Newcastle University, is the son of musical parents: father Alan George is the long-standing viola player in the Fitzwilliam String Quartet; mother Lesley Schatzberger is a clarinettist with an honorary doctorate at the University of York.

"I've been lucky to get plenty of musical influence from both of my parents, and when we work together our performance styles often match up well. Equally, having a close family relationship with a fellow performer, we feel particularly comfortable to engage in –mostly civil! – debates around disagreements of musical interpretation, which can be fun. I certainly feel at home performing with Dad, and it will be exciting to explore a new performing relationship as conductor and soloist."

A car accident in July 2017 left Jacob with a badly injured right hand – crucially his bowing hand – and consequently temporarily unable to play but, thankfully, he has since made a full recovery.

"I'd like to express my enormous gratitude to the outstanding teams of NHS surgeons, physiotherapists and occupational therapists at Leeds General Infirmary, who really did the most incredible work to aid my recovery," says Jacob, who had to be airlifted to hospital by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance for significant surgery to his hand. "Yorkshire Air Ambulance need all the support they can get. They are a charity without state funding, and the Academy of St Olave's recently did a concert to support them. They are professional, compassionate and committed people who deserve much recognition."

Reflecting on his ten years with the Academy of St Olave's, Alan plays it down by saying: "That's nothing compared with my day job with the Fitzwilliam String Quartet! We formed sometime in the October in my first year at Cambridge [University] and our first concert was in March 1969, so we'll have a big blow-out at Fitzwilliam College with a concert on the exact anniversary day, March 2."

Academy chair Christine Smith expresses her gratitude for Alan's decade at the helm."When Alan auditioned among the other candidates, it was clear that he was going to be able to offer something special to us. Being a chamber player, he could encourage his players to play more 'soloistically'," she says.

"As an orchestra we were happy if we could play notes nicely and in time, but Alan aims for so much more than that and gets it; he gets people to play out of their skins. Now there's a queue of players we can't accommodate."

York Press:

Family gathering: musicians Lesley Schatzberger, Jacob George and Alan George

So much so that the string section tends to rotate to "give everyone a go", says Alan. "We can have five cellos, so Saturday's concert is going to be a bit of a squeeze!"

Christine suggests another reason for Alan's musical forces so enjoying working with him. "Alan's primary career is as a performer, not a conductor, so he thinks from that perspective. That means there is empathy," she says.

"Some conductors rule by fear, but that wouldn't work for us," says Alan. "Fear can destroy people, but what matters to me is learning from seeing other people at work, and I've been lucky enough to come into contact over the years with some of the greatest musicians."

As for Alan's ten-year tenure with the academy, he says: "I did suggest that maybe ten years was enough, but John Hastie did it for more than ten years, and while there is a danger of over-familiarity, I am aware of that too, so I try to bring something different every time to being the musical director."

Christine concurs: "Technically we are supposed to appoint each year, but we are delighted with Alan, so we never think of anyone different."

In turn, Alan enjoys the opportunity. "It gives me an outlet, so on Saturday I will finally have directed all the quartets and Beethoven symphonies in my ten years with the academy – I've already played them all – and I'm nearly 70 now; it keeps me fit!"

Saturday's concert is particularly meaningful for Alan because of Jacob's solo involvement. "It's a miracle that he can still play after the crash as he nearly lost his hand. He's just been discharged from surgery after seven major operations and we're really thrilled he's going to do the Sibelius concerto with us," he says. "He's chosen not to be a full-time violin player for all sorts of reasons, but he's exceptionally good, and though he wouldn't say it himself, he makes an amazing sound. There's no way in the world I can play like him and create that sound."

Jacob will be doing so on an 18th century Venetian violin formerly owned by his grandfather, but although he will be in the solo spotlight, he is very much a team player.

"My greatest pleasure in performing music is the collaborative aspect, I have never found another activity which brings people together in the same way," he says. "Through intense and detailed co-operation in rehearsals, to the outward collective emotion expressed in the resulting performance, I believe orchestras to be one of the most social environments you could find."

Tickets for Saturday's 8pm concert cost £14, concessions £13, students and children £5, at academyofstolaves.org.uk, on 01904 550099, in person from Visit York, Museum Street, York, or on the door. Proceeds will go to Lesley and Alan's charity, Jessie's Fund.