March seemed to be starting so well. I had a whole load of concerts and premieres lined up, prizes to collect, workshops to attend... and then halfway through the month everything was cancelled or postponed. Looking at the bigger picture, it was surely the right move, but purely personally - it sucks.
At the start of the month I got to hear my piece "Laminin" in the final of the London Consort Of Winds Composition Competition 2020. It's written for a mixed group of woodwind & brass, and explores and develops short melodic motifs. Although I carried the players' votes, the audience vote preferred another piece. The ensemble liked it enough to want to program it again in the future, so that's good.
The next weekend saw the premiere of my piece Bacchanal from 2018 with Bromley Symphony Orchestra - the piece was the winner of the orchestra's choice prize for their centenary celebrations. The looming fear of lock-down was hovering over the audiences' heads, but many people braved the virus and came out anyway for the successful and energetic performance of the piece. A big success - I think the orchestra, conductor & myself were all delighted with the performance.
March also started well with regard to my music for strings. The amazing Ligeti Quartet (pictured above) work-shopped my new string quartet piece "Pulsationsteps". The quartet are just amazing musicians. It's been a dream to work with them - fingers crossed it will be the start of a working relationship! Also there were performances of my pieces "Janiman" for solo viola and "Beyond the Gates of Dawn" for viola & 'cello in Clitheroe performed by Aimée Johnson (viola) and Doug Badger ('cello) - I hope to be able to share the recordings of these three performances at some point soon. But here, to keep you going until then, I have a lovely performance of my piece Which Blooms In Winter by American clarinetist Elizabeth Hoerning at i-Clarinet.com:
So, what's missing? My Carnegie Hall performance of Tuphani Rhakasa (Ben Wien -solo piano) was cancelled as the concert hall is shut. Ensemble Black Pencil's performance of my piece "Bursting Out" in Amsterdam also cancelled, along with the whole festival. Premiere of my prize-winning organ piece "Canons & Inventions" at Brixworth Festival cancelled - along with the rest of the festival. Residency at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival on the Peter Reynolds program (along with performances of two new pieces) cancelled - etc, etc, etc... the picture is the same right through to June at the moment. I'm hoping to use the time constructively though - lots of solo pieces for musicians stuck at home, and a chance to get ahead on the things I have commissioned for the autumn and into 2021. Watch this space!
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