Archive for October, 2008

A feast of Swedish Cellists!

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

I had a great afternoon today, working with 23 young Swedish cellists in a town near the Arctic Circle called SkellefteÃ¥ (I’m so pleased I found the key that makes a little circle above the ‘a’). I loved flying in here over the pines forests, and as soon as you disembark from the plane you smell the clear air, so perfect.

They were really delightful students in a very impressive music school, and we had a good time learning some difficult rhythmic exercises. It was also very good to see so many of them at the concert afterwards, in a hall with a very good acoustic.

And that brings my Swedish tour to an end. Many thanks for your emails and wonderful comments and so many presents (linen, metalwork, chocolates, and even a piece of cheese!), it’s been great to meet you all – I look forward to next time, when I may be able to say a few more words in your very shtrÃ¥nge länjgskuage.

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Hammarö

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Played last night in Hammarö, which was a delightful experience – such warm people! I gave a masterclass in the afternoon for three talented cellists, which was a good experience; they were all so dedicated to the cello, and eager to play a learn. The concert was in a hall with a great acoustic – not too resonant which is perfect for this programme – and enjoyed myself thoroughly. Sometimes playing in smaller places can be the most rewarding as the audiences seem to just love music so much. Köping tonight – can anyone tell me why that is prounounce with a ‘sh’ sound for the K?

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On The Road

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

I’ve just started my On The Road tour in Sweden in the Dieselverksteden just outside Stockholm. It’s a very nice venue, and had a lovely crowd, many of whom were young cellists who had come to my workshop in the afternoon. The Swedish audiences are quite quiet, both when listening and when clapping – I think they liked it!

It was a milestone for me, as it was my first full length completely solo recital since my shoulder problems, and a full solo evening is the ultimate test. The shoulder was a bit sore by the end, but basically great as it didn’t bother me while I was playing, so I’m very relieved. It’ll be fun driving up and down Sweden with all the Autumn colours. Full tour details here.

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Kings Place

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Wow – the new Kings Place is the most brilliant concert hall! I was part of the opening celebrations at the weekend, playing a recital with Stephen de Pledge on piano (Schumann, Britten, Matthews), and was blown away by the acoustic. I prefer it to the dear Wigmore Hall (which is still wonderful), because it is so clear, even when the piano is playing really full and loud, and you can create so much colour. It’s like being inside an enormous musical instrument. What a treat – I’m looking forward to a mini residency I have there in September next year. It’s also great in that you can really feel the audience in a good way, they don’t seem distant at all.

With its prime location just next to King’s Cross, I think this is going to become a very popular venue – and it’s also got everything right backstage, and in the foyers; great art exhibits, excellent restaurants etc etc. It’s so refreshing when it turns out right!

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John Metcalfe

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

I have just been checking out John Metcalfe’s latest album, A Darker Sunset. John is one of my favourite composers and collaborators, and this CD is so inspiring – he has such a clear voice, and is a master of the electronic medium, while keeping all the tenderness of acoustic strings and voices, with the most extraordinary drummer (Andy Gangadeen) underpinning it all. Go and get it!!!!! John Metcalfe’s website

The album features his version of Constant Filter that I commissioned in 2006 for the On The Road tour, and it’s gorgeous. (I’ll be playing that all round Sweden next week.)

And I’m looking forward to recording and performing several more pieces that John has written for me that I had to postpone this year…this is contemporary music and it’s full, rich, heartful, sophisticated etc. I’m so excited when I find an album I love!

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