At the tail end of July, and as written about at the tail end of my last newsletter, I traveled to Boston to perform with pianist, Jillian Zack as part of the y3 Duo.
Jillian and I met at Juilliard in 2011. We started playing together under the auspices of Juilliard’s collaborative piano department and performed regularly on the school’s Sonatenabend series. When we graduated, we wanted to find a way to continue working together, which is when we formed the y3 Duo.
Jillian continues to live in my old New York neighborhood of Washington Heights, and I live in sunny Sydenham (why is raining like this in August?) so naturally, we work on project basis.
Our latest project is a cello & piano recital of folk inspired pieces. We constructed our programme to be a journey through different countries. Our recital starts east and works it’s way west, from Hungarian & Czech music by Leos Janacek and Bela Bartok, all the way to the Argentinian tangos of Astor Piazzolla.
We played this concert at the Sherborn Inn, MA on July 31st and have decided to bring it to London for concerts on 18th + 20th September. On Saturday 20th September at 7.30pm, we will be playing at St Bartholomew’s Church, Sydenham (SE26 6QR). The church has a beautiful Fazioli piano, and a wonderful acoustic. If you are conveniently located to this venue, we’d be delighted if you’d join us! Tickets are available online here, or on the door.
Summer for me has always involved a lot of traveling, and this year has been no different. Here is a round up of the past few months. Firstly, if you have a moment, check out this blog that I wrote in June for Piano Lobby There will also be an interview coming soon to the blog, The Shipping Forecast.
Over Easter, I went to Snape Maltings & Aldeburgh in Suffolk for a project with the Britten Pears Orchestra. We played two all Mozart programs, which celebrated many of the composer’s extraordinary works from the year 1786. Christian Zacharias led the orchestra from the piano in the C Major Piano Concerto K. 503, which was a wonderful way to experience the piece – and felt more like playing a huge piece of chamber music, rather than accompanying a soloist. (He was also very nice to the cello section throughout the week – and even posed for a shame-facedly proud cello section photo…)
Back in South London, I took part in another Multi-Story Schools Tour around 10 schools in Southwark. For this tour we played: Mozart Marriage of Figaro Overture, Moonlight from Britten’s Four Sea Interludes, and Short Ride in Fast Machine by John Adams – ten times each! It’s so inspiring to be part of these Multi-Story projects, on many levels. Not only is the music making always of a very high quality, but we are also able to share the music in a completely different way, with a different audience.
June was a month of chamber music all over England. It started with a lunchtime concert at St Martin in the Fields with the London Chamber Collective, to a tourist packed audience. In the middle, there was a trip to Vaughan Williams’ childhood home to play.. cough… Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven string trios with the Perks Ensemble (no offense Vaughan Williams). Followed by Schubert and Francaix Octets in Surrey with Maiastra. And in proper style, June ended at the marvelous Lewes Chamber Music Festival. Now in its third year, LCMF spreads over 3 days includes no less than 8 concerts – a terrific achievement by artistic director, Beatrice Philips.
Although this is not professionally connected, I feel I can’t write a round up of my travels this summer without including a reference to trip I took to Peru with my family. This really deserves a blog all of it’s own, but in the meantime I’ve included a picture of epic, lost Inca city: Macchu Picchu.
I’m very happy that the end of this newsletter reports from New York, my other home. I’m currently in the states working with pianist, Jillian Zack as part of the y3 duo. We are playing a recital of Bartok, Vaughan Williams, Schumann, Janacek, Dvorak and Piazzolla on 31st July, 7pm at the Sherborn Inn, MA. If you are nearby – come along!
Best wishes for a wonderful summer,
Thank you so much to everyone who came along to the Jacob Barnes Scholarship Fundraising Concert for MusicWorks chamber courses on Sunday 23rd February. The evening was so special, and stonking performances of works by Dvorak, Strauss and Gliere went down a storm! It gave all those of us who were lucky enough to know Jake a reason to come together to play, and to remember his inspirational spirit. The concert has raised nearly £2000 for this year’s scholarship – deepest thanks to everyone who contributed.
Since September, I’ve started working with the London Chamber Collective. Made up of Amy Tress, Alanna Tonetti-Tieppo, Felicity Matthews, Paul Beckett, Auriol Evans, Anyssa Neumann and myself, the ensemble currently comprises a complete string sextet and piano. This gives the possibility of covering a vast majority of the chamber music canon. Our first concerts in autumn 2013, focussed on works by Brahms and Schumann. Currently we are rehearsing a programme of Russian music. Anyssa and I will be playing Shostakovich Cello Sonata, followed by Amy and Anyssa with Prokofiev Violin Sonata No. 2. Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence takes up the second half, a piece of epic and ebullient proportions! This concert has its first outing at Pushkin House, London on Friday 14th March, with further dates on March 26th at the Norden Farm Arts Centre, Maidenhead and on May 9th at the Vera Fletcher Hall, Surrey.
The ensemble has had a terrific inaugural season so far. Later in the spring and early summer we’ll be playing at St Martin in the Fields, Blackheath Halls and The Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall, and the ensemble will be in residence at the Sevenoaks Music Festival in June.
I hope you can join us for some of these concerts – rain or shine!
Happy New Year!
It was a great way to end 2013, and an even better way to start 2014, working with other chamber musicians brought together by the Maiastra project. Maiastra was started by Aidan Woodcock in 2006, and consists of short and long courses in which to study and play the core chamber music repertoire. The brilliant thing about the courses is that they’re specifically aimed to help young musicians at the start of their careers. In December, I returned to Maiastra for a 10 day string quartet project, led by Arisa Fujita, and joined by Henry Tong, Louisa Tatlow.
As Benjamin Britten’s 100th birthday had been in November, we started the program with a Suite for string quartet which the composer wrote when he was a teenager. This was followed by Beethoven Op. 18 No. 4, Philip Glass Quartet No. 2 “Company”, and Dvorak Op. 96, ‘American’.
It was particularly enjoyable to learn the American quartet for the first time, partially because it gave me a good excuse to listen incessantly to the Bohemian Quartet’s 1928 recording of the piece. If you haven’t already heard it (or even if you have), I recommend it!
After several days rehearsing in Surrey, we performed in Twickenham, Somerset and Leatherhead. (The views in Ilminster and the church in Twickenham were especially picturesque!)
In a few days time, I’m joining a different formation of Maiastra players: Akiko Ono, Henry Tong, Tetsuumi Nagata and Elaine Ruby to play Purcell Chacony, Brahms Clarinet Quintet and Mendelssohn String Quartet, Op. 44 no. 2. Details for these concerts in Claygate and Stoke D’Abernon can be found here. I hope you can join us!
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