What an exciting and music-filled summer! I have travelled across the UK from Edinburgh and Crail in Scotland to Brighton, London, Winchester and Yorkshire performing in beautiful settings to appreciative and attentive audiences. An exhilarating and inspiring musical journey.
The summer tour began with a return to Crail Festival in Fife, Scotland. I gave a concert here last summer and was delighted when the organisers invited me back. The venue is framed by the rolling waves of the Atlantic and a rugged East Fife coastline – both provide an inspiring backdrop. Many thanks to the everyone’s kind hospitality and enthusiasm. The post-concert highlight was of course visiting the famous fish and chip shop in Anstruther!
Edinburgh is buzzing during the Festival and it is always really exciting to be performing in the city at this time. St Mary’s Cathedral with its austere expansiveness is a place that can provide escape from the city bustle. It was lovely to see my very first violin teacher, Jennifer Willmer as I started the violin with her at three and a half and she has always been very supportive. She showed me how exciting the violin can be and we have been good friends ever since my first lesson. I shall not forget when I played the Shostakovich Preludes as this was accompanied by the sound of gunfire eerily echoing around the church. I was slightly alarmed before realising it was the canons being fired at Edinburgh Castle. Possibly, strangely reminiscent of the sounds Shostakovich heard in 1941 when he wrote the defiant Seventh Symphony during the Nazi invasion of Leningrad.
It is such a delight performing lunchtime concerts in London. When I performed at St Pancras Church in Euston the diverse audience included lost tourists, music-lovers, weary office-workers, commuters, builders etc. Lives not likely to meet again yet hopefully momentarily connected through a single experience of music. Such is the power of music to speak the language of all.
One of the great things about concerts is the chance and privilege to perform in some stunning architectural spaces of which, amongst England’s finest, surely must be Winchester Cathedral. It was exhilarating to play in front of 700 hundred people during the August season. Daunting also as within Vitali’s ‘Chaconne’ my string broke, every violinist’s nightmare! Thankfully the audience treated the unexpected entertainment with great humour.
Receiving a standing ovation is every violinist’s dream and this happened at the end of my next concert in Brighton for St Luke’s Music and Wine Society. There was a really wonderful rapport with the audience.
Crail, Fife, Scotland
Another wonderful cathedral that I performed in a couple of weeks ago was at Ripon. Set in the intimate Quire, it was lovely to see a fabulous turn-out for performance. Afterwards, I got to spend some time in Yorkshire and visited the stunning RHS Harlow Carr Gardens. Spectacular colours and textures being soaked up by the changing season and of course, just enough time to drop into the famous Yorkshire establishment – Betty’s Tearoom and sample some ‘Fat Rascals!’ Delicious!
And finally, for the most exciting news of all… after a recording session at Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead in April and a long but rewarding journey of mastering, editing and manufacturing, my second album ‘Violinista’ has been released and is now available to buy. It is a collection of stylish works that reveal the beauty and virtuosic spirit of the violin and includes pieces by Wieniawski, Sarasate, Debussy, Granados and Bazzini.