French frolic

I’ve just returned to Australia following a month in France with my trio, Petrichor, preceded by my month in the US. We held a residency at the Centre Intermondes for 3 weeks, which we spent learning challenging new repertoire, presenting 2 concerts, and getting to know local artists, as well as our fellow Artist-In-Residence Kornkrit Jianpinidnan, a photographer, whose images were projected during our first concert. La Rochelle is a beautiful port city, full of limestone buildings that glowed golden in the wash of the sunlight by morning or evening. We lived in the 16th century manor where the Centre Intermondes is based. This meant that on some evenings, I would hear a wooden flute playing the music of Marin Marais below my window, played by a women in 16th-century attire, and that occasionally a bat or two would fly into the chamber I shared with the harpist of my trio, Jess. Every evening was spent at local ice-cream sensation Ernest le glacier, sampling all kinds of exotic and delicious flavours. All in all, it was an incredible setting in which to study particularly the French pieces in our repertoire and I am happy to have such a fond connection between our time in the city and the music we played while we were there.

My harpist, Jess, beside the stage for our courtyard concert at the Centre Intermondes
Our harpist, Jess, beside the stage for our (windy!) courtyard concert at the Centre Intermondes
Petrichor on l'Île d'Aix
Petrichor on l’Île d’Aix

We left La Rochelle for L’Aigle, a very small town in Normandy, near the Belgian border, where we met our friend Doreen Ooi. Doreen had organised for us to perform in collaboration with her in La Chappelle Viel, a nearby hamlet, reworking a program we performed in Berlin in March. It was great to see the countryside of France, with its humming green paddocks, winding roads and fruit-laden trees (not to mention a 24-hour fresh pizza vending machine in downtown L’Aigle!). Our concert, which happened by candlelight in a very old church, was a really special occasion, and we were delighted to have a very large, attentive and welcoming audience.

I am so grateful to the amazing hosts we had in both towns – it was such a joy to travel to these places as independent musicians and their gracious hospitality was extremely humbling. We made some fascinating friends, including Spaniards, Belgians, dancers, dogs and a horse.

In Oz, I’m back behind bars (literally, and not figuratively!) doing a few shifts at my local supermarket before heading to Melbourne for some very exciting concerts in October and November – stay tuned for more details!

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