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Finland next!

Am feeling really excited about travelling to Finland again for another excellent iCON seminar. The last iCON was transformative for me and it looks as though this one will be no less inspiring. I will have the opportunity to work with another group of extraordinary musicians, talented, kind and generous. Most of all, I am looking forward to seeing my dear friend from the RCM days, Mona Julsrud!

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South Africa, here I come!

Thanks to my duo partner’s tireless work, we are about to embark on a mini-tour of South Africa, along with fabulous ‘cellist, Corinne Morris. We will give concerts in Hermanus, Mosselbay, Grahamstown and Pretoria, before returning to the UK. Repertoire includes: Schubert and Ginastera songs.

Interesting times…

It’s been an interesting year for development and creativity. My duo partnership with South African pianist, Nico de Villiers, continues to stimulate me and create an outlet for my great love of chamber music. I have also had some wonderful orchestral singing engagements this year, in particular, Mahler 4 in Romania, which was a great delight.

My singing has developed in unexpected ways, possibly because of the introduction of improvisation sessions to my musical life this year. Continue reading “Interesting times…”

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Mahler 4 in Romania

I am so looking forward to performing the beautiful soprano solo in Mahler’s 4th Symphony. I have been invited to sing it with the Sibiu Philharmonic in Romania, with the wonderful conductor-composer, Marijn Simons, in the beautiful Sala Thalia. More news and photos to follow.

The Symphony No. 4 in G major by Gustav Mahler was written in 1899 and 1900, though it incorporates a song originally written in 1892. The song, “Das himmlische Leben”, presents a child’s vision of Heaven. It is sung by the soprano in the work’s fourth and last movement. In the score, Mahler specifies that the text “be sung with childlike, cheerful expression; entirely without parody!” It is utterly charming.

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Estonia, here I come!

I am thrilled to announce that I have been chosen to represent the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, along with fabulous flautist Philippa Davies, at a 5 day event at the Estonian Academy of Music & Theatre in Tallinn. It will be 5 days of looking at improvisation! Each day will start at 10am and finish with an evening concert. There will be all sorts of other performer-teachers from other international conservatoires and we will be put into varying groups in order to practice and learn about improvisation. The event is led by superb pianist and improviser, Anto Pett, whom I had the good fortune to meet at another event, last year.

When I finished my dissertation on Fearless Performance a couple of years ago one of my conclusions was that improvisation was a key tool in nurturing creativity and presence (i.e. the ability to stay ‘in the moment’ during performance). I made a mental note at the time to look into how improvisation might further aid our development as artists. Now is my chance to find out! Wish me luck! I will post again to let you know how it all went!

Wensleydale Concert Series

I feel so fortunate to recently have been able to visit a beautiful part of England, in order to perform in the Wensleydale Concert Series. I had the added treat of meeting some wonderful people, who formed part of an impressively attentive audience. I know just how attentive they were, because of some of the conversations I had with them afterwards-these people know how to listen! The concert series is held in the stunningly beautiful St. Andrew’s Church, Aysgarth and is run by Carol Haynes. The church acoustics are ideal for musical performance and Nico and I were made to feel extremely welcome by everyone involved. I look forward to a return visit some time.

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Spanish Song and Zarzuela Festival

I am particularly thrilled to be a part of my old friend, Carlos Aransay’s Spanish Song Festival this year. I will be performing a beautiful programme of De Falla, Granados, Viardot, Massenet, Pierné and Ginastera, with my duo partner, pianist, Nico de Villiers.

The concert is happening this Friday lunchtime, 20th Nov 2015, 1.10pm at St. James, Piccadilly. Please come and join us if you are free and in town. Entrance is free.

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Rodenburg and McGilchrist

On Friday, I had the good fortune to attend a most stimulating event. It was a lecture entitled ‘Education and Learning through Ancient Wisdom, Humanity, Creativity and Embodiment, which will explore insights from neurology and artistic practice and how they connect.’ Through discussion and practical demonstration (with 3 recent Guildhall drama graduates) Iain McGilchrist (psychiatrist and author of The Master and his Emissary) and Patsy Rodenburg, Head of Voice at Guildhall School, addressed fundamental questions of attention, empathy and trust, decision-making and leadership, and how these function in contemporary contexts and cultures of learning. McGilchrist introduced some of his essential ideas from his book ‘The Master and his Emissary’ about the paradoxes of the two hemispheres of the brain. Iain and Patsy then entered into dialogue on related themes with demonstrations of how they become embodied in the act of speaking and realising text on stage.

This was a thrilling event, where one really had the sense of being in the presence of two great minds. The demonstrations presented a graphic illustration of how easily one can sense presence on stage, how it is created and also taken away. I urge you to read McGilchrist’s and Rodenburg’s books.

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St Mary’s Church, Barnes next week

Come along to a lovely recital programme I will be sharing with Louise Jones (alto), Daniel Turner (tenor) and Marc Verter (piano). We will be singing songs and duets- composers include: Mendelssohn, Handel, Dodgson, Mahler, Josephson, Sibelius, Holst, Elgar and Schumann.

Thurs 22nd Oct 2015 7.30pm

St. Mary’s Church, Church Road, Barnes, SW13 9HL

Tickets are £15 (£12 concessions)

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Travels abroad

I am looking forward to the new season with much joy. I have received several international engagements, as well as UK engagements and some wonderful new students at the Guildhall and so there is much to be thankful for. Invitations to the Netherlands, Estonia, Romania and South Africa await. With all the tragic events going on around the world and other events closer to home, I realise more and more that we must cherish our lives, be grateful for our health, our families and friends and do what we can to help,support and inspire others. Let us step forward with energy and resolve!

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” (attrib. Goethe)

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