One of the first things Simon Rattle did when he took the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic was transfer his education team over from Birmingham. Throughout his tenure, education has been at the forefront of his programme and on Sunday a full and markedly younger-than-usual Royal Festival Hall audience were treated to a shining example of this work. Off-beat and well-established chamber ensemble the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic, alongside French Horn player and educator Sarah Willis, led an energetic concert of short works designed to take children on a tour around the world whilst introducing them to the versatility of the cello.

The group was founded in 1972, inspired by a radio production of Julius Klengel's Hymnus for twelve cellos. They have since enjoyed international recognition and a considerable legacy on disc, whilst also commissioning new and exciting works from Iannis Xenakis and Wolfgang Rihm, to name a few. This concert was aimed at younger children in particular with the exploration of the instrument firmly focused on basic concepts such as the different sounds it could produce as opposed to its role in an orchestra or in the repertoire. This is something I feel could have been pushed further, and the concept of the cello having played a prominent role in music for over 400 years could have been gently highlighted.

With such a young demographic in mind, the pieces were brief; all lasting under five minutes and all interspersed with equally brief yet engaging interactions from Sarah Willis. Aside from a rendition of two arrangements from Purcell's The Fairy Queen Suite, which worked well, the remaining pieces were all composed within the last 100 years. This was an understandable decision given the target demographic. The pieces were tightly arranged, brisk and most featured gimmicks, such as the imitation of an organ grinder in Scotto's Sous les Ponts de Paris, but I would have found it a more enjoyable experience had the programme been slightly more challenging. The advertised programme which included an arrangement of Schumann's Kindenszenen was a more attractive prospect to me as a regular concert-goer and a fairer balance of repertoire might have made for a more mutually-engaging concert.

That said, the bright enthusiasm of Sarah Willis, who played the maracas and conducted the audience through the Pink Panther theme, kept me involved. The interactions with the cellists, most of whom were sporting Union Jack socks for the occasion, were also amiable. If audience reaction is anything to go by, the sound of a cello making farmyard noises is amusing at any age. After what felt like a concert of encores, the actual encore, of Bare Necessities was anti-climatic and couldn't quite get the audience to its feet, singing along as intended but the good behaviour of the audience throughout suggested they had both concentrated and enjoyed themselves. For a child under 10, the concert would serve as a great, accessible introduction to the world of orchestral instruments. With some slight pushing of the boundaries and more diverse programming choices it could be something for the whole family.