Greetings from Hannover airport, where I am returning to Birmingham after a successful audition to study my MMus with Prof. Elisabeth Kufferath! The past two weeks have been incredibly tough, with audition preparation being top priority alongside other concerts and journeys. I must apologise for the length of time between my writing becoming longer and longer – this seems to be linked to my schedule, which is becoming increasingly packed!
In March I had the privilege of being an artist at the Wye Valley festival, where I performed alongside musicians Daniel Tong, Simon Crawford-Philips, Alice Neary, Kay Stephen and Alinka Rowe. It was an eye-opening experience performing with these wonderful musicians. A few days later, I received an email from Lawrence Power, inviting me to join his ‘Collegium’ ensemble for a performance live on BBC Radio 3.
A few weeks later, I was called on again to record for BBC Radio 3; Joe Cutler’s ‘Slippery Music’ for piano quartet was performed and recorded as part of the college’s Thallein Ensemble. This was a slightly more stressful situation as we had little time to rehearse, but rewarding nonetheless.
This term has proven fruitful in many ways. My major project was a great success (this project constituted a large portion of my fourth year credits). I performed octet by Mendelssohn and Enescu in the CBSO Centre as a fundraiser for ARCO. The project was the result of months of careful planning, managing, and rehearsing, and it was incredibly gratifying to deliver a professional performance; particularly of the Enescu, a work rarely performed due to its complexity and scale. I’ve been inspired to implement a similar project in Cape Town later this year… more below.
I also worked hard towards my final recital. I formed a duo partnership with Cypriot pianist Orestis Magou, and we duplicated our programmes, performing them for each other’s recitals. Both recitals were incredibly well received, and we were lucky enough to receive a scholarship, awarded for ‘best piano and violin duo’.
Two weeks ago, shortly before my first audition, Orestis and I took part in the Delius Prize; a competition held once a year; each year at a different college. We placed second and, frankly, were over the moon with this result! We’d selected Delius’s second sonata – infamously lengthy and unstructured – and had only given ourselves 10 days to learn it. In the end we enjoyed the performance very much, and will be performing it in several recitals over summer.
More recently, last weekend I performed Brahms Double Concerto in Kent with cellist Tom Pickles and the Cranbrook symphony orchestra. It was such a wonderful concert – and lovely to play with orchestra again! Tom and I had only 24 hours to put our parts together before the first rehearsal: a day after my flight from Berlin.
Orestis and I have five recitals planned in Cyprus in September, thanks to his careful planning and links to the Cypriot music world. Thereafter we plan on performing the same programme in Birmingham in October. I will be joining the college string ensemble for a special project.
Finally, the next few weeks have plenty in store. The Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival looms and will be an exhilarating 10 days. Shortly afterwards we’ll begin rehearsals for the Mendelssohn/Strauss project I have planned. I’ve put together a group of my colleagues and we will present Mendelssohn’s Octet and Strauss’s Sextet from Capriccio in a one hour recital. This means a lot to me in the sense that I will be getting to make chamber music with friends, whilst bringing this rarely-performed music to Cape Town. Concerts include engagements at the Youngblood gallery in Bree Street, Erin Hall in Rondebosch, Bouchard and Finlayson (Hermanus music society) and also the Stellenbosch Concert Series at the Endler.
I will also be performing several solo recitals around the cape with Tertia. Brand new repertoire – should be a blast!
As my BMus abroad draws to a close, I think it is very important to thank all of you for your continued support of my studies and my living overseas. I have developed and matured immeasurably in these four years, and I feel really passionately about working towards more South African musicians being exposed to the opportunities that I have been exposed to.
My thanks always.