Happy New Year !!
I hope you all had a relaxing Christmas and New Year. I am back from my adventure in Paris and am enjoying the NZ summer weather. Vicki and I went for our first swims of the season at Takapuna beach this afternoon. The water was perfectly still and it wasn’t too cold either!
In Paris, Vanessa and I were very well looked after and thoroughly enjoyed being apart of a French family (okay, so they did all speak perfect American as well…but it was heaps of fun!). We went for bike rides along the Seine, went to concerts, local markets and explored the castle and grounds of St-Germain-en-Laye and Chateau de Vincennes. Our chamber music and orchestral concerts/rehearsals went really well. We made lots of friends among the players. Highlights of the trip were…
1) Attending an evening soirée in the Marais where people informally performed while others ate, drank, talked and listened.
2) The string quartet was in a wine cellar! The acoustics were great and a lot of fun was had after while we mingled and ate delicious nibbles.
3) Of course, it goes without saying that hearing my piece performed and rehearsed was a definite highlight. The conductor Elizabeth Askren was thorough and patient in getting everything to sound just right.
Nigel Keay has organised a web page with photos by Stéphane Ouradou. Click here to view them.
Back to reality now – I’m working on my CMNZ commission which is going really well!
Bonjour! Vanessa and I are being billeted with a lovely family living in Le Vésinet. It is a western suburb of Paris known for its wooded avenues and bourgeois mansions…it’s just so beautiful here. We are enjoying the last of the autumn colours and having been taking bike rides along the river near our house in our spare time.
We’ve been to two concerts so far. The first was in informal soirée where anyone can get up and perform while the others drink, eat and chat. The second was a concert, by Naccara, of six harps, percussion and double bass. They memorized the full 1 ½ concert and even added theatrical elements – moving around the stage, swapping instruments and using their stools and harps as percussive instruments.
We are in the middle of preparing for our two concerts. The first is a soirée for the France – NZ Association on the 30th November. Vanessa and Charmian are playing in Daniel Rémy’s String Quartet. I have been watching them rehearse Haydn’s ‘the emperor’ Quartet and Bartok’s Violin Duos to name a few. It will be a great concert! The rehearsals for the second concert will kick off tonight. In this concert a string orchestra will perform Shaker Loops by John Adams, Serenade for Strings by Nigel Keay and my own dans la nuit. The performance is next Thursday the 7th Dec. Yesterday, I met with the conductor Elizabeth Askren to go through the score which went well. Fingers crossed that there aren’t some horrendous mistakes in my parts or something like that!