be:longing/Shostakovich

I’ve hit the ground running in the land down under and have just spent a week rehearsing with some extremely inspiring musicians for quartet performances as part of Bangalow Festival, happening in Northern New South Wales next weekend.

Following that, I’ll travel with the quartet to Canberra, where we’re co-presenting a concert with be:longing magazine on 22 August. I’m thrilled about this collaboration, which includes several musical heroes and mentors of mine, dear friends, and powerful art. If you’re in Canberra, DON’T MISS IT!!

Tickets available here

Art from the 20th and 21st centuries often has a personal biographical element, immersed in contemporary events, environment, circumstance and questions of identity.

On August 22, this element is common in a unique exchange between authors from be:longing magazine and some of Australia’s most dynamic young classical musicians that tells several stories of varied perspectives, interwoven with the thread of humanity that connects us all.

be:longing, launched in Canberra in 2016, publishes contemporary works exploring personal experiences of migration, cross-culture, nostalgia and belonging, and encourages an inclusive, open discourse on the intricacies of a multifaceted cultural existence.

Soviet Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his 3rd string quartet in 1946, suffering immense compositional and personal pressure to submit to the pressures of a nationalistic political ideology enforced to regulate and resist the influence of ‘external’ musical cultures on Stalin-era ‘Soviet’ music played in the public sphere.

This gathering invites the audience to contemplate the kinds of situations that drive artists to communicate and create in the context of a range of pressures and through media that are born of cultural complexity and collaboration.

Featuring celebrated special guests, cellist David Pereira and violist Tor Fromyhr.

Musicians: Kristian Winther (violin), Ioana Tache (violin), Alexina Hawkins (viola), Thomas Marlin (cello).

Writers: Dunja Cvjetićanin, Vesna Cvjetićanin, Abeir Soukieh, Dejan Stevanović, Anita Patel, Akka Ballenger Constantin.

Presented by be:longing and Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres. Generously supported by Biginelli Espresso.

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eine neue nachtmusik

On 15 July, I’m curating a concert at museum FLUXUS+ in Potsdam, coinciding with the Stadt für eine Nacht festival, which will feature contemporary music (or at least, music written within the past …75 years!). Joining me are Callum G’Froerer (flügelhorn), Jon Heilbron (melodica+) and Jessy Meiser (voice). It’ll be a joy to play a favourite piece of mine, and witness these awesome musicians presenting music they are passionate about too, surrounded by some stimulating art.

Music is by Liza Lim, Cathy Berberian, Brett Dean, John Cage and Jon Heilbron.

Places are limited, so it’s recommended to register for the concert by: calling +49 331 / 60 10 89 – 0, emailing info@fluxus-plus.de or following this link: trybooking.com/qwug

Entry is free but donations are appreciated!

Begrenzte Teilnehmerzahl, Anmeldung im museum FLUXUS+ notwendig! Kein Eintritt, Spende erwünscht. Anmeldung unter Tel: +49 331 / 60 10 89 – 0, info@fluxus-plus.de oder bei trybooking.com/qwug

 

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ORi, Ola, Fluxus

It’s been a hectic start to the year, with some nice concerts in the Musikverein, Elbphilharmonie, Concertgebouw and Serbia (not to mention Berlin and Potsdam!) with the regular bands I’m bouncing around in.

I’m really excited about a couple of upcoming events!

On 15 July I’m curating a 1-hour concert of contemporary music as part of the museum open night at Museum Fluxus+ in Potsdam.

From 4-16 June I’ll be on the road with the Kammerakademie Potsdam, Emmanuel Pahud and Trevor Pinnock, performing in Brazil, Chile and Argentina!

Before all that, on June 2 I am co-presenting a concert with an old and crazy pal from my time at Banglewood, Sarah Goldfeather, at a lovely gallery in Kreuzberg, ORi (I first played here just after I arrived in Berlin, with Ooi). We’ll play solos and duos by Sarah, Andrew Norman, Brett Dean, JS Bach and Bohuslav Martinu.

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Recognised individually for their musical dynamism and passion, the worlds of violinist Sarah Goldfeather (USA) and violist Alexina Hawkins (Australia/Berlin) collided in 2014 at the Bang On Can Summer Festival (USA), and the two have remained friends and collaborators since. On 2 June they join forces in the intimate and colourful setting of ORi Berlin to present music that whispers, sings and cries out, evoking ancient madrigals, cathedrals, conversations and inner worlds.
Entry by donation (suggested 10-15 EUR)

Moon travel & Mozart

Currently I have the joy of being involved in Frau Luna, an operetta by Paul Lincke first performed in 1899 and revamped for a glitzy and great production at Tipi am Kanstleramt this winter. From where I’m playing, in a small ensemble to the side of the stage, I love being able to see the audience because there is so much laughter. The cast are a real inspiration – so spontaneous, funny and twinkle-eyed. The show runs until the end of January and I would highly recommend it – I have to remember to keep playing and not be too distracted by what happens on stage!

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Tipi am Kanstleramt; source: kulturradio.de

I have just returned from a weekend away playing chamber music in some charming German towns, Goslar and Wolfenbüttel. It was so much fun to collaborate with great players who are amusing (but at the same time, deep!) people, and again, to perform for really appreciative audiences. In Goslar (as part of Musikfest Goslar) we played in a gallery, and in Wolfenbüttel in a very large room in a very old house – both settings have, as far as I am concerned, the perfect qualities for enjoyable music-making for this type of music (hopefully for audience AND performers) – the audience is close (seated on picturesque, mismatching chairs!), and the atmosphere is welcoming and visually interesting. Although the music is great anywhere, I can’t help but think that these kinds of settings are much closer to those in which the pieces were originally played (and for which they were conceived) – and that the closeness to the audience, relative informality and, so to speak, raw quality of performance is often lost in modern concert halls.

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Klavierquintett
Marie Radauer-Plank, Marjolaine Locher Violine
Alexina Hawkins Viola
Damien Ventula Violoncello
Henrike Brüggen Klavier

Programm:
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: 
Streichquartett A-Dur KV 169
Klavierquartett g-Moll KV 478
Robert Schumann: Klavierquintett Es-Dur op. 44

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Amongst several upcoming events, I’m currently anticipating the next Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin concert on 17 November in the Philharmonie, which features a gorgeous program including Ligeti’s Ramifications and Britten’s Les Illuminations. I’m also cooking up a couple of new music projects for the new year which I will reveal here soon!

The season ahead

I’ve had ups and downs since moving to Berlin (which just goes with moving to another country, really), but reflecting on my life since arriving at the end of 2014, I am so happy that I have had so many positive experiences here of what being a musician can be.

At the end of last season, I was made a member of Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin as assistant principal viola. Already with this group I’ve played some great repertoire, supported fantastic soloists, travelled to Korea (and Ennepetal!) and felt welcomed and inspired. As well as some great concerts coming up with DKO, as the season begins I’ll also be performing and recording with Kammerakademie Potsdam, as well as spending much of winter in a cabaret tent for Frau Luna, an operetta by Berliner Paul Lincke from the end of the 19th century.

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Musica da camera in Italia

I had always wanted to visit Italy since learning a bit of Italian in primary school, living next to an Italian Australian family, watching the film Much Ado About Nothing (the Kenneth Branagh version is set in Tuscany) tasting Italian food and feeling desperately Anglo. This summer I was invited to play chamber music in Tuscany by a violinist I’m very inspired by, and then by a great cellist friend to join Streicherakademie Bozen (Bolzano) for a summer tour in that region. It was ridiculous.

In Tuscany I was part of a troupe of musicians led by Simone Bernardini at Festival Opera Barga, in its 50th year, which presents concerts in two beautiful places – Bagnone and Barga. We were about 5 days in each place, and spent the days eating, laughing, eating, swimming and rehearsing German Romantic music (some very well-known pieces which I played for the first time, by Brahms, Mendelssohn and Schumann). I made my debut as an oboist, and met many wonderful musicians who became my great friends.

 

After our last concert in Barga, I packed up my things and headed north via 4 trains, a cable car and a tram, finally ending up in a little town outside Bolzano called Lengmoos. Here I rehearsed with Streicherakademie Bozen, a great chamber orchestra started in 1987 by Georg Egger. Bolzano had a different feel from Tuscany, with alpine mountains, a German dialect and a structured rehearsal schedule, but was still wonderful, friendly, and an idyllic setting for a birthday, too, spent with more new friends, and old ones – Mendelssohn, Schumann, Nino Rota and Paganini.

Colourful June

I had 3 big projects in June. On the 7th, I helped launch Lione’s new single 1000 Windows, which includes some lush (!) multi-track viola. At the launch party we were joined by two of my favourite violists – Ooi and Esther Alba Lopèz. You can hear 1000 Windows here via Bandcamp.

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Single launch – 1000 Windows (with Lione, Ooi and Esther Alba Lopèz)

On the 18th with Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, I supported my childhood hero Nigel Kennedy at Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival of music by Jimi Hendrix. The concert atmosphere was pretty WILD and I was reminded of the broadcast of a Nigel Kennedy concert I heard on radio in around 2002, where I was first inspired by what I heard him do in front of a crowd…

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Playing Jimi Hendrix with Nigel Kennedy and DKO at Mecklenburg-Vorpommern festival

Following the show, I flew to Geneva where I spent a week rehearsing, performing, eating and talking with a fascinating group of people in a project directed by cellist and composer Brice Catherin. I worked with Brice, Israeli-born Swedish saxophonist, composer and political activist Dror Feiler, composers Arash Yazdani and Jacques Demierre and saxophonist Laurent Estoppey. We played 3 concerts, in Geneva, Saint Genis-Pouilly (France) and Lausanne.

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Brice Catherin, Dror Feiler and Laurent Estoppey between rehearsals for Hommes Orchestres

In July and August I’m excited to continue travelling – I’ll return to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern with Deutsches Kammerorchester, actor Ben Becker and pianists Lucas and Arthur Jussen, then head to Italy for some music and sun!