I am absolutely thrilled to have another go at performing a vocal work which is very close to my heart, Love Journeys, by talented friend and colleague, Jacques Cohen. The performance will take place on Thurs 17th May, 7.45pm, at Purcell Room, South Bank Centre. It is a beautiful, rich, varied work for solo soprano and string ensemble, with settings of James Joyce (selected poems from his ‘Chamber Music’). I will perform with the Cohen Ensemble and Jacques himself conducting. I have had the good fortune to sing many new works in my career, many of them, as this one, written for me, but this one really belongs in my top 5 list. It is gratifying to sing and listen to, it is written with innate understanding of the human voice, it is both beautiful, intense, light, dark…definitely worth listening to!Do come along if you are free. The piece follows the progress of a young love affair that begins in Spring amid the resplendent Irish countryside and ends in late Autumn out at sea.
There are several other stunning works in the programme: https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/122097-cohen-ensemble-transfigured-2018
One other particular work from the programme which deserves special mention is the premiere of ‘For Angel’, a piece written in tribute to the sorely missed David Angel, who was the leader of the second violins, last time I performed this work. I hadn’t seen David for many years before that concert, and was thrilled to be able to tell him how his words had made such an impact on me when I was young. As a violinist in the Brent Youth Symphony and in one sectional rehearsal I remember David (who was teaching us) being asked, ‘How long should we practise the violin for each day?’ ‘With the violin, or without the violin?’ was his response and his words have stayed with me forever more, as I realised thanks to him, so early on in my development, the power and efficiency of mental practice. ‘For Angel’ commemorates David Angel who passed away last year. Best known as the 2nd violin of the Maggini Quartet, David led the 2nd violins in the Cohen Ensemble for many years and made a huge impact on music-making in this country both as a performer and pedagogue. Based around his initials (DEA) this piece exploits these open strings of the violin whilst the absent principal 2nd violinist (whose chair remains empty throughout) is eventually heard off-stage.
‘Flaunt out oh Sea, your separate flags of nations!…Behold the sea itself’
What a bold and empowering work Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony is. It is mighty! I had my first go at it with the superb Jacques Cohen conducting and his wonderful band of players and singers.
I am thrilled and honoured to announce that I will join the Royal Academy of Music vocal staff. I am much looking forward to it all. I will also continue working at my beloved Guildhall.
Had a fabulous time as part of the Classical Voice Training teaching team, along with Janice Chapman, James Platt, Andrew Follin, Ron Morris and Mandy Demetriou.
On another note, I just saw this lovely photo of my student Sian Dicker (soprano) who won this year’s Voice of the Future Competition at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.
I am feeling very excited about tomorrow’s Voice Training course, being held at the Guildhall. I will be on the teaching team and we will have the honour and privilege to listen to and watch some of the most knowledgeable practitioners connected with voice. They will deal with alignment, breathing, movement, laryngeal mechanics, phonation, resonance, registers, articulation, physiotherapy, emotional motor system, teaching, performance and artistry. I can’t wait!
Well, I did it! I gave a fully improvised concert, along with some superb colleagues from Guildhall- Adrian Brendel, Philippa Davies, David Dolan and Rosie Bowker. Such a privilege to sing with such excellent musicians. We definitely had some fun, with audience members giving us ideas to spark off different ideas and forms. I am finding it fascinating to discover the impact which improvisation has on the performing artist. Speaking for myself, I feel even more present and even more immersed in my performance than when I am singing a pre-composed work. Such a joy to discover this and how this filters into my regular performances.
One of my Guildhall students, Sian Dicker, last night won the Dunraven Welsh Young Singer of the Year competition!
My voice is feeling great, my students are growing and succeeding and I continue to feed my hunger for further knowledge through the superb professional development programme at Guildhall. My current interests lie within the fields of coaching-mentoring skills and musical improvisation. It is interesting to start to realise how the two are related! There is much to be grateful for at this time and some very good news which I will tell you about in one of my later posts. Nothing is impossible, lovely people!
I was very fortunate to have the superb Ron Morris in my teaching studio for today. I always love to collaborate, but it is a special pleasure when it is with someone of Ron’s calibre. Such insights and specialist knowledge! Hurray! 🙂
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!