Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

This has been a good month. Kicking off with a recording session for the music of the official boxing yoga instructional DVD really set the tone for the following few weeks. Can’t wait to see the final cut with music from my new group The Future Ancients (alongside my talented pals Nikola Kovacevic, Giovanni Cacioppo and Alok Verma – big names!).

The following weekend I was back in the studio (missing the sun again, curse you fortune!!!) with The Guastalla Quartet. We’re going to release the resulting album in a couple of days. Very excited for this one! Gotta love a bit of Beethoven and Shostakovich. We messed around a little at the end of the day and came up with this fun Super Mario cover…

After an appearance with Kate Simko and The London Electronic Orchestra (featuring Mainly Two’s début performance whoo yeah!), it was back into the rehearsal room before a full-on recording session with The John Garner Quartet. Can’t wait to get these tracks mixed and out there (will be funny to see people’s reaction to jazzed up versions of Pearl Jam tunes and such).

The John Garner Quartet @ Konk Studios

The last week of March was mental. Three jazz gigs in one week? Too many note choices to make… It was a great start to the Guildhall Jazz Festival for me with The Interplay Series, spearheaded by Kate Williams and William Goodchild. I had a great time leading the orchestra on stage with The Kate Williams Trio. The music of Bill Evans like you’ve never heard it before! Had a great time on the 26th with a small group performing some vintage jazz (nothing from 1940 onwards allowed). We scratched and scraped our way through some bawdy classics.

Interplay Series Orchestra

Vintage Jazz Group, Guildhall Jazz Festival 2014

Finished off the month in a great way with a live video session with Polaroid 85 filmed by rising stars Flyotw Film. This is going to be a smashing video of a new track.

Next up BBC Symphony Orchestra recording with Sir Andrew Davis and a tour to Switzerland with Sakari Oramo!

Night night Diary! xx

Park Quartet in Paris

Bonsoir mes amis! Je suis retourné de la France après un bon voyage avec mon quatuor à cordes.

If you have French friends, make sure they don’t judge me too harshly for the above sentence. After a long hiatus in news, I am back to recount some recent adventures and exciting online developments.

Firstly, the gypsy jazz Hot Club Ensemble, with which I play, has recently launched its website in all its pristine and just-out-of-the-box glory. Click here to take a look; pour yourself a glass of red wine and enjoy the ambience of 1930s Paris. . . . . . . . . .                     (and then head to the contact page and book us for your birthday party)

Another, slightly bigger, group with which I also play has just launched its website as well, and it looks very impressive indeed. There are some incredibly exciting performances planned for the coming year, including screenings of Amelie, Henry V and Nosferatu, accompanied live by the full orchestra. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for this group! Visit the Live Film Orchestra website here.

Lastly, my quartet and soprano Anna Rajah were delighted to be involved this week in a ProQuartet project in the beautiful city of Paris. Alongside the Gémeaux Quartet, we put on a concert of music by composers including Georg Tintner, Egon Wellesz and Kurt Weill at the Goethe Institute. Singing Songs in a Foreign Land is a research project focussing on music and emigration, with which the Royal College of Music has been involved. It was a great experience in such stunning surroundings, although not without its ups and downs! We owe a debt of gratitude to Heime Müller and Norbert Meyn for their inspiring and valuable input whilst discovering these fascinating works. Here are a few snaps from our trip:

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BBC Symphony Orchestra Pathway Scheme

Today I found out that I successfully auditioned for the BBC Symphony Orchestra Pathway Scheme, a project created thanks to the special relationship between the Royal College of Music and the orchestra, usually reserved for postgraduate students. I will have the chance this year to work with some amazing conductors including Oliver Knussen, Josep Pons, Andrew Litton and Thomas Dausgaard.

On a lighter note, some videos have emerged from a couple of Wailers tribute concerts last year in which I was lucky enough to be involved. Here’s Lloyd Brown and co. performing Zimbabwe:

Hymn for Him

Here’s a Submotion Orchestra cover (excellent band – check out their début album). This is a wonderful tune featuring beautiful strings on the original. I made my best attempt at sub-bass on a violin – you’ll need more than your laptop speakers to hear it! I’m away from real-life for the next four weeks, so this is my last offering for awhile. Sayonara!

Lamberhurst

On Saturday, I was doing a gig with a group of RCM string players in the beautiful village of Lamberhurst in Kent. I thoroughly recommend a visit there if you’re nearby. It’s my end-of-year recital examination tomorrow, woe betide me. However, Wednesday will see me taking a holiday in Amsterdam. The perfect end to an exciting term!

Lamberhurst, Kent

Orchestral time-lapse

Here’s a quick late-night post. I secretly filmed a couple of hours of my orchestra rehearsal today with the Royal College of Music’s Symphony Orchestra. Here are the resulting time-lapse movies:

Dusapin rehearsals under way

I’m currently immersed in the music of Pascal Dusapin, the new composer-in-residence at the Royal College of Music. We’re performing an hour of his music next Thursday, under the direction of conductor Franck Ollu. The music is incredibly challenging, but we’re getting there!

RCM Symphony Orchestra between Dusapin rehearsals

Page from Dusapin's 'Reverso'

Polaroid 85 supporting Hidden Orchestra

Today it has been confirmed that my band, Polaroid 85, will be supporting the mind-blowing Hidden Orchestra in London’s XOYO on May 6th! This is a dream come true. Hidden Orchestra has certainly been one of my favourite bands since I first heard them. For tickets, please click here.

Hidden Orchestra supported by Polaroid 85