Archive for March, 2009

Abu Dhabi Student Success!

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Today saw a wonderful performance of ‘Journey’, a new piece written and performed by 21 music students from schools in Abu Dhabi, and three of the members of Between The Notes. One of our students had brought along an Arabic song that we particularly liked, and we used fragments of it to seed a new, 20 minute, work; taking those fragments, the young musicians wrote there own melodies, bass lines and rhythmic structures, and the piece grew from there. They have been a real joy to work with, and the concentration and atmosphere in the concert were just fantastic. For us it was a new experience to work with the Arabic scale, and it was very interesting, producing some great tunes and harmonies. I hope we get the chance to work in this way again with Arabic music, as we loved it!

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In the Middle East

Friday, March 20th, 2009

I’ve just arrived in Abu Dhabi where I have a kind of residency for a fortnight – doing a solo concert, one with Between The Notes, and also visiting various schools and colleges and helping the festival to coordinate all their education activities.

The festival here is looking very exciting, with Angela Gheorghiu opening tomorrow night, and all sorts of interesting artists coming over, including Karim Said, a fantastically talented young Lebanese pianist, and Naseer Shamma, the great Iraqi Oud player.

As part of the Between The Notes project, I’ll be working with a group of local young musicians which will be interesting – I have no idea what they’ll be like, or where from, or anything!

The recital programme is all the Bach solo suite preludes, interspersed with improvisations on my electric cello – probably the first time an electric cello has been here. Just did that programme for the first time in some French churches last week, and it’s very enjoyable to play; like an hour of meditation.

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