Saint-Saëns bassoon sonata

I was introduced to Saint-Saëns’ charming sonata for bassoon and piano years ago while studying in Melbourne and living with a very fine bassoonist, and it melted my heart from the very beginning. Sometime after moving to Berlin, I was listening to it again, and the seed of desire grew in me to play it myself. As the new corona way of life showed signs of being here to stay, I decided to finally try to see if it would work on the viola.

I have just made a video recording of the piece with the wonderful pianist Petya Hristova, which was recorded by a fantastic sound engineer (and surprise bassoonist), Justus Beyer. I think I have accepted that the piece’s heart may always belong to the bassoon 🙂 but it was a joyous process, and I am shyly but lovingly sharing the audio version here. It will be nice to return to this musical gem in the future and remember the things happening in my life during this strange moment in history, which I am privileged to say has (so far) offered me much inspiration in my artistic life, along with the gift of time and space.

zooming in

I was honoured to be invited as a guest on a new interview series “Zoom in with Baron”, created by my friend, the very awesome jazz trombonist Baron Arnold. We had a conversation about being freelance musicians during the current COVID-19 situation, and outside it, touching on some things I find very interesting with regards to quality of life. The episode was published a couple of days ago, and can be seen here!

in manus tuas

A couple of days ago, I spontaneously recorded this beautiful piece by Caroline Shaw, which has been in my repertoire since just before I moved to Berlin 5 years ago, and has had a special place in my heart since.

in manus tuas is based on a 16th century motet by Thomas Tallis. While there are only a few slices of the piece that reflect exact harmonic changes in Tallis’ setting, the motion (or lack of) is intended to capture the sensation of a single moment of hearing the motet in the particular and remarkable space of Christ Church in New Haven, Connecticut. in manus tuas was written in 2009 for cellist Hannah Collins, for a secular solo cello compline service held in the dark, candlelit nave.”

Caroline Shaw

Chaconne

Back in September, I made an [unedited] recording of J. S. Bach’s monumental Chaconne from the Partita for solo violin (on viola), BWV 1004, which I had been working on as a personal project. This is a piece from which I will continue to learn throughout my life, which has such profound meaning, evokes the wonder of the natural world, the universe, the breadth of the human heart and spirit, the gravity of harmony…

The Chaconne is for me one of the most wonderful, incomprehensible pieces of music. On a single staff, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and the most powerful feelings. If I were to imagine how I might have made, conceived the piece, I know for certain that the overwhelming excitement and awe would have driven me mad.

Johannes Brahms to Clara Schumann

 

Visceral

On 29 November, I am super excited to be part of the launch of Anna Morley‘s new album, Visceral (on which I also had the privilege of recording some viola sounds), along with a very spicy band, and a dancer!

Anna Morley – vibraphone, piano, keys, vocals, melodica
Petros Tzekos – percussion
Artem Zaytsev – electric & bass guitar, vocals
Xina Hawkins – viola, vocals
Shingo Masuda – qanun
Adéle Meta Morphosis – dance

Friday 29 November, Blo-Ateliers – Kaskelstraße 55, 10317 Berlin.
Doors: 20:30 // Showtime: 21:00 // Tickets available at the door.
Facebook event here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/248291982725205/ 

How Musicians Work

While I was in Australia in August, I had the pleasure of chatting with Sophie Chapman, a funky trombonist and the creator of an interesting new podcast, How Musicians Work. Our conversation is available here (along with the ones she’s had with other musicians)!

Time capsule

Some personal projects and highlights of 2019 so far, slotted in between touring, recording and performing in the usual places I play… no rest for the wicked!

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JANUARY: Phoenix Trio in Dublin, Berlin and Potsdam.

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FEBRUARY: Playing with oudist Marwan Alkarjousli. Photo courtesy of Mohamed Ibrahim.

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MARCH: W. A. Mozart Serenata Notturna with Guy Braunstein, Theo Dann, Jochen Carls and the Neues Kammerorchester Potsdam. Photo courtesy of Mohamed Ibrahim.

hear now berlin at meike-lu's

APRIL: hear now berlin rehearsing for our second concert, at Donau115 on April 3.

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MAY: J.S. Bach, Goldberg Variations (for string trio) with Hildegard Niebuhr and Edward King in ORi.

Teresa Bergman ElbJazz Carsten Christians

JUNE: ElbJazz (Hamburg) with Teresa Bergman and band. Photo: Carsten Christians.

 

And coming up…

2019 Phoenix Australia dates

Phoenix Trio

I feel very blessed at the moment to have the chance to play chamber music with people I love, admire and respect! The next project is the debut of a new trio with Lina Andonovka (flute) and Harold Gretton (guitar), named after the legendary Phoenix Pub in Canberra, the city where we all met and played together as students at the ANU School of Music in 2008.

Lina and Harold are travelling from Ireland and Australia for two intimate, powerful chamber music concerts in Berlin, featuring music by JS Bach, Francesco Molino, Leo Brouwer, Elena Kats-Chernin and Dusan Bogdanovic.

1. June, 20 Uhr (doors 19.30). ORi – Friedelstr. 8, 12047 Berlin
Entry by donation.

2. June – salon concert in Berlin-Neukölln; Erster Internationaler Neuköllner Kultur- und Debattier-Salon. Doors open 19.30. Entry by (home-cooked/not packaged) food donation. RSVP: Martina Rummel, mrummel@t-online.de

 

Lina_Harold_Xina

Andonovska/Hawkins/Gretton (Phoenix Trio) come together for this concert of new and old, reimagining some chamber music masterpieces alongside recently penned compositions for the combination. Collectively, the performers have performed with some of the most acclaimed ensembles on the globe including the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Kammerakademie Potsdam and the Deutsches Kammerorchester and individually have growing reputations as international soloists and chamber musicians. The trio formed in 2008 when they were all students at the Australian National University. After parting ways for a decade, the trio have come together to perform a series of concerts around Europe and Australia during the 2018/2019 season.

Klavierquartett

Demian

In May, I will be playing with Elena Rindler, Edward King and Bertan Balli in a house concert and then at the Spiegelsaal in Clärchens Ballhaus, Berlin Mitte. I first visited the Spiegelsaal for a concert while travelling through Berlin in early 2013 and dreamed of playing there ever since – it is an ideal setting for chamber music, and I can’t wait to collaborate with these musicians again!

19 May, 16.30 (details and RSVP: http://www.hauskonzert-berlin.de)
20 May, 19.00 
(tickets online or at the door, http://www.sonntagskonzerte.de)

A. Schnittke – Klavierquartett in a-moll
W.A. Mozart – Klavierquartett in Es-dur, K. 493
J. Brahms – Klavierquartett in A-dur, Op. 26

coloured bubbles/fathomless night

I’m really excited to have been invited to perform a solo and chamber music recital in April, as part of BKA Theater’s fantastic weekly series, unerhörte musik. I’m extra happy that two of my great friends and favourite collaborators, Elena Rindler (violin) and Edward King (cello), will join me for two pieces.

I’ve chosen an eclectic range of music that bursts with colour and intensity, as well as that which immerses the listener in a deep, dark sound world. I was inspired by Rabindranath Tagore’s Fireflies, and the epigram therein:

“Days are coloured bubbles that float upon the surface of fathomless night.”

 

coloured bubbles/fathomless night at BKA Theater
17 April, 8pm

Information and tickets: http://unerhoerte-musik.de/Dienstag_15_2018.html

Program:

Marcos Balter Vision Mantra for string trio
Brett Dean Intimate Decisions
Nicoleta Chatzopoulou Continuum II
Samir Odeh-Tamimi SOLO
Lisa Ilean Lightsense for string trio and electronics
Peter de Jager Stars from Metaphors

I will post more information about the music and recital here soon. For now, here is Peter de Jager’s enchanting Stars, performed in 2015 by Beth Condon, Greg Daniel and Will Clark, as part of my ANAM Fellowship recital.