Archive for December, 2008

Aldeburgh Young Musicians Rocking the Crowd…

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Back home after an inspiring weekend with 15 of the Aldeburgh Young Musicians: they are an exceptionally eclectic group of youngsters ranging from serious post-punk rock guitarists, to avant-garde composers and upcoming star instrumentalists. We spent our time looking at ways to enhance their solo performances, as well as exploring group improvisations (they did some truly wonderful playing in this arena – radiant textures, totally locked in the groove together, great listening), and learning some impossibly difficult Indian Tihais with master tabla player, Sanju Sahai. It was a deep pleasure to work with such a committed group of teenagers who are dedicated to their music making, and also are keen to think in depth about their art, and what it is for. One can only feel positive about the future after spending time with this lot.

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Schumann World Premiere!

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Last night was the first performance of my arrangement of Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Chamber Orchestra. It was a charity gala raising money for Leonard Cheshire Disability and was a lovely warm and Christmasy occasion. The gorgeous Katie Derham was compering, and in the midst of all the carols, we played the Schumann – it’s one of my favourite concert pieces to play with piano, and I wondered recently how it would sound with a string orchestra accompaniment, and it worked well. The only problem was that the parts were very hard, and being a gala show we didn’t get quite as much time as we needed, but the orchestra were great. I also did an improvised introduction to, and then played along with the London Philharmonic Choir’s beautiful rendition of Silent Night – they are such a good choir. The audience visibly got excited when they heard I was going to improvise and I’ve seen this before; as soon as the crowd know that you’re making it up, they sit up, I think simply because they know that something could go wrong! It becomes more knife edge, and I really like that atmosphere!

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