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. After being immersed in an improvisation project in Estonia early on in the year, I have since had fairly regular meetings with the superb pianist and improvisation teacher, David Dolan, who leads sessions with myself, Philippa Davies (sensational flautist) and Adrian Brendel (superb ‘cellist). It is a privilege and honour to work with these great musicians, while I slowly find my way through the creative paths to improvisation. This work is particularly satisfying because it is directly related to the dissertation I wrote on fearlessness in performance; in order to improvise, one has to be extremely present and ‘in the moment.’ This work is exciting, terrifying and liberating, all at the same time. It is quite a thing to become a novice again, but I am loving it! It has also led to a happy reunion with a very old friend, from my RCM days, the beautiful Norwegian soprano, Mona Julsrud.

In 2 weeks I will attend the third ‘Singing and the Teaching of Singing’ course, run by Janice Chapman, Ron Morris and James Platt. This vocal pedagogy course is run with professionalism and insight and has grown dramatically this year. It will take place at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and I will be involved in leading one of the small break-out sessions each day, and am looking forward to adding to and consolidating my knowledge for the rest of the week. This course is of the highest quality and it is a great pleasure and honour to be involved.

My teaching has also been enriched by the superb mentoring-coaching course offered to all interested staff at the Guildhall. This has done so much to challenge me, question my ideas, and help me to understand more about human interaction. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

In August, I will once more pick up my viola, for the first time in 20 years!! I will attend the London Suzuki Group’s annual summer course at Bryanston, which my daughter will attend as a violinist. There is (as usual) a lack of viola players and so I have been cajoled into boosting the viola section in one of the orchestras!!

Finally, I look forward to a mini-concert tour in South Africa in early September, with internationally renowned ‘cellist, Corinne Morris and my superb duo partner, Nico. Following that, is the next concert season and the new term at Guildhall. Much to look forward to, as well as a well-earned break. Happy holidays to you all!