Enchanting time at MAMO conference in June at St Andrews, where my paper on Judith Weir's use of Perotin certainly hit the spot; followed by a magical recital in Brinkburn Priory with my Leeds Guild of Singers in July. Both of these were high spots indeed!
Then it was on to HISS in August - my summer school, where I was exploring Gesualdo and some Italian styled English madrigals, amongst other things. This was the 3rd one and was a huge success with 90% return on feedback, with a 95% commenting on great tutors, great time and great course! I think this has really arrived now!
Around this I was conducting Leeds Methodist Choir in their 50th anniversary season - with a few extra singers! And a concert in September of choral lollipops, opera choruses, and finally a "Last Night of the Proms" style party selection - with flags and poppers agogo! Lots of fun was had by all (see pic!) and is was an unexpectedly tremendous success, with a large and highly appreciative audience! Bring on the next one!
Nikiya is cat no 2. Sadly we lost Monty, cat no 1, over Christmas to old age and multiple organ failure. Nikiya is in "gorgeous" pose - ask if she's feeling gorgeous, and this is what she does! I, on the other hand, don't have time to feel gorgeous, let alone strike any pose!
There has been much to do this month. Coming up are performances with Huddersfield University Chamber Choir and New Music Ensemble - they include first performances of new works, and some classic contemporary scores - more news anon! The first few days of the year included working with Matt London and Dave Howard, who were recording my Kaito, for sax and piano - which Matt originally played at the World Saxophone Congress in Bangkok in 2009. Again, more news later when the CD is due out!
November and December have been whirlwind of catching up with work, travels, meetings and writing! Talk about a life in the day of . . . here's a quick run down of things done: secured arrangements for HISS early/folk music summer school, which will be at Scarborough next August; concerts with my Leeds Guild of Singers, ranging from Morales Requiem to G&S Trial by Jury - just as a pre-run before some 14 carol services/concerts across West Yorkshire; played for poetry and song evening at short notice; took on 2 new students; meetings all over Northumberland, mostly setting up projects for 2013; fascinating meeting with the composer David Blake, some of whose I'll be playing at Swaledale Festival; collecting keyboards from a variety of places - hence pic of Kilwinning Abbey (Glasgow!); 3 gigs with my "community" choir based at Leeds University; wrote a chapter on Judith Weir - for paper at a conference in St Andrew's next year; then, after a year for catching up with old friends, colleagues and acquaintances, was suddenly thrust back into the world of brass bands! Working with the excellent Lindley Band, and contacted by Tony Lidington, with whom I wrote the musical Velvet & Brass back in 1990 about Lister's plush mill in Bradford, which featured the factory's brass band - it may get another outing! The world gets ever smaller - happy new year!
bread and butter concerns the past couple of months - work, eat, pay the bills, find time to write - both words and music!
New choir and new intake to Leeds Guild is inspiring, and working with new instrumental group - all invigorating. Just need to arrange for a few extra hours fitted in to each day in order to complete all the tasks I have set before me! So, not much time for a proper blog, again! Maybe next month . . . .
just so much to be done - all the time! and in so many directions. HISS may have finished, and been highly successful only the 2nd time out, but it now begs questions as to how to develop for next year - which needs answers, and trends setting in place now! Then a call reminds me to think about various planned festival gigs for next summer - that needs action now, too! And a proposal for a paper to write, autumn concert programmes to fix, sort music for someone's wedding, an article to write, oh, and a piece to write too! Ah, the life of a musician! And when ever do I get a chance to do some practice . . . . ?
August is HISS time - Historically Informed Summer School, and this is only the second, but twice as big as last year's. Overall - thumbs up! Big success and lots of happy punters. Already it's a success story, with an international dimension this year - but that also means a lot of work to keep it growing next year, and the biggest challenge is keeping the informality, friendliness, approachability and almost family feel, whilst still ensuring tight and efficient organisation. There'll have to be a few changes for next year . . .
Another exciting venture is about to keep me busy, though! That's taking on the position as Director of 20,000 Voices- singing all over Northumberland and the north east
Well, we're in the run up to the premiere of Bakolo Drom, my violin concerto on gypsy themes. Harriet (Mackenzie) is enjoying working on it, and hasn't asked for any re-writes! Interest in it is growing, and a couple of interviews lined up. Very much looking forward to working with the great players of Skipton Camerata again, and also re-visiting Schnittke's Moz-art a la Haydn - a clever little piece both of music and music-theatre.
So, it's almost March, much done, so much to do!
At least the violin concerto, after much re-thinking, has taken shape - just a case of dotting the odd i or crossing a t or two! Still some fundraising to do - any offers? Please?
So here we are - and it's February already - and the snow has arrived! The desk is piled high . . . violin concerto, bibliography, more work on Comedian Harmonists, and can i find any published versions of Willaert's masses? Lessons to prepare, marking to be done . . . so itgoes on