Monthly Archives: February 2012

St Andrews Opera and Lentfest 2012 with James MacMillan

A couple of exciting things have come my way recently which I wanted to share:

  • St Andrews Opera, run by the Michael Downes, the director of the music centre at St Andrews, will be staging a version of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews from June 14th-16th, and Michael has asked me to play in the orchestra (which will include single strings – effectively a string quartet). The production will be directed by Kally Lloyd-Jones (who has worked for Scottish Opera among others) and include singers from St Andrews and Bloomsbury Opera. More details can be found here
  • Secondly, I have been asked to play for an event in Glasgow University’s Memorial Chapel on 7th March, in which I will be part of a string quartet playing James MacMillan’s string quartets. This event is part of Lentfest 2012 and will consist of an introductory talk from the composer himself illustrated with musical examples, followed by a concert including the first movement of quartet No. 1Visions of a November Spring’ , and Quartet No. 2, ‘Why is this night different?’ Details of the event can be found here, and the facebook event is here

Other than that, I will be helping out this wednesday at a local community orchestra in St Andrews called St Andrews and Fife Community Orchestra (StAFCO) which is run jointly by the Music Centre and the SCO, so that should be fun!

 

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Guardian music blog: ‘String quartets: til death do us part?’

I was just browsing the Guardian’s Music section when I came across this article written by Toby Deller on the dynamics between players in a string quartet and what happens when one of the players moves on. The issues it raises are strangely apt for me at the moment, as my plans for starting a new quartet are starting to take shape and evolve into something more concrete – really exciting but I can’t say more a this moment!

I’m also currently reading Vikram Seth’s book An Equal Music, which is about the players in a fictional quartet called the Maggiore Quartet, and the complex personal and musical relationships between the players (if you scroll down to the bottom of the article to the comments, the second one mentions the book!). I’m about half way through it; initially, I wasn’t that keen on it as I didn’t find the descriptions of rehearsals and more technical details very convincing*, but now that I’m further into it the personalities are becoming more central to the plot and I’m really enjoying it…

*Wikipedia informs me that Seth himself is not a musician, but the book was inspired by his then partner, the French violinist Philippe Honoré, which perhaps explains this

Moving forward…

I’m slowly getting back on track with everything after the hiatus of moving house, Christmas, and spending 2 and a half months temping in Edinburgh (which was only part time, but commuting to edinburgh meant I had to get up very early – not my favourite thing if you know me – and get home pretty late, making for very long days), as well as preparing for the Clarke concert which took up a lot of time.

At the moment I’m trying to figure out what I want to achieve as a musician and how I want to go about it. I’ve decided some things already, and trying to take the steps to make these happen, but sometimes it is slow progress as emails are often slow in being answered etc. I want to try and get back to blogging regularly, as I think it will help me keep a closer eye on how things are going and hopefully provide me with a way of structuring what I’m doing and a record of the things I’ve done so far, which will be good for me as it will give me a sense of achievement. I’m in the process of adding a page for events and concerts to this blog so it’s easier for me and others to keep track of what I’m up to.

Anyway, here are the projects I’m currently working on and their progress:

Community music and teaching

I’m very interested in doing more community music, as a direct result of my experiences of working with nursery children while I was doing my course in Glasgow. Ideally, I’d like to find some paid work as a community musician, but I’m aware that I don’t have all that much experience. So, at the moment I’m open to exploring avenues which will give me that experience such as working in schools/nurseries or hospitals and care homes. All the major orchestras and ensembles in Scotland have to do some outreach and education as part of their funding contract from Creative Scotland, so I’d also like to get involved with these projects if I can. I’m also investigating the possibility of doing short courses in Orff or Kodaly training (possibly through NYCOS).

Concert of Bach in Holy Trinity Church, St Andrews

This is a collaboration with Tom Duncan, the organist and choir master of Holy Trinity Church in St Andrews whom I have known since my time as a student choral scholar there. We are planning a concert mainly of Bach but which will also include a Buxtehude Cantata. I’m meeting Tom tomorrow to discuss the details and dates etc, so I’ll keep you posted as we sort out the details!

Chamber Music

Since I left RSAMD, I’ve been very keen to find a good outlet for my love of chamber music. I am really keen to start a quartet, but the problem has been finding people that are both like minded and able to commit to the time it takes. My friend Ros, the cellist from Rusalka days and now English PhD graduate (congrats!) is still in St Andrews and also keen to do some chamber playing, so now it is a question of finding some violinists in the area, and we will hopefully be meeting one soon who might be a possibility. Fingers crossed, this might be the beginnings of something 🙂

And finally…

For those of you who didn’t see this, it is a credit to viola players everywhere (although initially the BBC mistook him for a violinist, pah!)

Programme notes from Wednesday’s recital

 

Apologies for the delay – here are the programme notes from last Wednesday’s lunchtime recital. It went quite well, which was a relief, as we’d been working on it very hard since we started rehearsals back in December. I’ve also been working part time as temp in Edinburgh for NHS Education for Scotland, which has been taking up a fair bit of time recently, but which has allowed me to visit Audrey and rehearse with her after work. We also moved house on Dec 15th, so as you can imagine, I haven’t had all that much free time since Christmas!

Please, if you wish to use any of the text, contact me first

Anyway, here they are and hope you enjoy them 🙂

Programme notes from lunchtime recital 1.2.12