November 7, 2020
It was wonderful to be able to make a CD recording with the violinist Fenella Humphreys last week at the beautiful Cedars Hall in Wells. Over two days we recorded five sets of pieces by Sibelius in addition to his youthful ‘Andante Cantabile in G major’ with our brilliant producer, Matthew Bennett and sound engineer Dave Rowell. This Sibelius recording project with Fenella had been several years in the planning and after two postponements we were all very relieved that it could finally go ahead in late-October. A truly inspiring experience, all the more keenly appreciated with so few concerts being able to go ahead this autumn.
May 1, 2020
After more than a month of lockdown measures and social-distancing, life has changed for everyone as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and tragic loss of life here in the UK and around the world.
This has put all the usual, day to day hopes and anxieties of a musician such as myself into clear perspective when there are far more important things to be concerned about than preparing for the next concert – whenever that may be.
That said, I feel really fortunate to be a pianist in these strange and challenging times because music has that special power to uplift, to absorb us and to communicate our innermost feelings. Fellow pianists have humorously pointed out that the situation of being at home working in virtual isolation is not so very different from what pianists generally do anyway. Similarly, my piano is a reassuring sight and always there for me despite becoming increasingly out of tune, but not unbearably so!
So it may seem like an unlikely time to be putting the finishing touches to a new website, but I was lucky in getting this project underway back in mid-February with the designer Jon Jacob – it seems like a different age when we met up at the South Bank Centre about a month before the lockdown to have an initial chat about the new site and put a plan into action.
I am delighted with the results and hugely grateful to Jon for completing this new site over the past few weeks – thankfully all achievable through working
In the meantime, I’ve been practising up programmes which may inevitably get postponed this summer but haven’t been quite yet, exploring more Sibelius (no surprises there) and getting adjusted to the world of online piano teaching via Zoom and Teams. A quick update about summer courses – the Benslow Music piano duet course with Waka Hasegawa has been postponed until 2021 but plans are being discussed for a possible online course next month, and a further announcement about the Wells International Summer School in late-July is expected at the end of next week.