From One to Seven
Before I go into the numbers game, a few words about my record label Turquoise Coconut: we have recently signed two new artists!
Firstly, we have signed American composer and tenor Steven Ebel, who is highly acclaimed across the globe for his strong voice and his gripping compositions. He recently recorded his début album The Seeker together with pianist Philip Dahlem and speaker Marko Bärtel, which we will be releasing on our label on December 9th. Keep an eye on our Facebook page or on Twitter for the release details, and check out our new Instagram page for little teasers.
We’ve also signed the Tobie Carpenter Organ Trio. Tobie’s group is an exciting organ jazz trio, also featuring David Ingamells on drums and Jamie Safir on organ. We can’t wait to release their début CD next year. Watch this space for details to come!
Now, starting with one for soloist: Last week, I finally found the time to watch the 2014 film Stop At Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story. The main reason why I wanted to watch the film is because I recorded solo violin for its soundtrack by Samuel Sim. I meant to listen critically to my playing throughout, but the film is so good that I kept forgetting to do so. Highly recommended watching (and listening)!
I also recorded solo violin for Puy Du Fou‘s latest show Le Dernier Panache earlier this year and since then, it has earned a number of awards; most recently, the THEA Awards for Best New Show in the world. Very proud to be part of this and congratulations to composer Nathan Stornetta for the wonderful music!
From solo to duo, Mainly Two performed a couple of concerts in the past month. On November 9th, we played at St Guy’s Hospital for the Riot Ensemble. The concert featured a very special treat: the artist Marcus Stefanelli was stood behind us and created a Remembrance Day painting in reaction to our music. Watch a little time-lapse of the concert here…
And three days ago, we went to Handel & Hendrix in London. It really was an incredible experience to see Handel’s house and Hendrix’s flat above it. It was quite moving to perform new music in Handel’s old music room… I urge everyone to go visit the museum! We filmed some of the concert which will go online soon, but for now here is a small excerpt from John Garner’s “Summer”…
Adding one, it brings us to my piano trio. The Sequoia Trio has always incorporated embellishments into performances and improvisations are a big part of our rehearsals. At the Fringe Festival in Spain last summer, we made our improvisation début by improvising a bridge between Beethoven’s and Shostakovich’s first piano trios. Yesterday, we had a pleasure of giving a concert at the Finchley Progressive Synagogue. In that concert, we performed Haydn’s “Gypsy” Trio and Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 1, but we also improvised a prelude into Haydn as well as interludes between the movements and a bridge into Shostakovich. It’s such a refreshing way of performing and creates a new kind of connection between performers and audience! At this point, I would like to mention pianist and classical improviser David Dolan, who has been a fantastic mentor for the trio over the last two years!
Adding another one, we come to the Guastalla Quartet. We recorded on a boat! This was definitely a first. Now the Grand Cru Studio, Pete Townshend converted the barge into a studio in the 70s, and we were absolutely thrilled to record for the British rock band Ocasan. Watch this space for details about the release!
One from the archives, we have now made available our live recording of Bach’s chorale ‘Nun Komm Der Heiden Heiland’, arranged for string quartet by our very own John Garner. It’s up on SoundCloud as well as YouTube:
Smoothly jumping up to seven (I couldn’t possibly have a quintet and a sextet as well…), the Guastalla Quartet’s current collaboration Four Plus Three performed at this year’s London and Cambridge Jazz Festivals. At the 606 Club, we were joined by the brilliant Gareth Lockrane and Mike Outram, and we launched the vinyl release of our eponymous début album which you can purchase at CD Baby. Our next live show is on January 16th at London’s PizzaExpress Jazz Club. Meanwhile, here is a little clip from our gig at the London Jazz Festival…
Going from one seven to another seven, we get to Ensemble Nova Luce. This group has been rather busy with concerts this month. On the 8th, five of us performed Dvorak’s String Quintet No. 2 at St Bride’s Church, and three days after that, four of us performed at this month’s Wonder Foundation Charity Ball. On the 23rd, six of us performed at St Botolph-without-Aldgate and two days earlier, we all gave a concert at St Martin-in-the-Fields. The benches were packed with audience members, and I thank all of them for coming! As a performer it is of course rewarding to come out on stage and see so many people sitting there waiting for you to play to them. It means so much more than that though… Every day, technology becomes more advanced; digital stores and platforms become much more popular; and the need and wish for live music becomes smaller. Still, there is nothing that can replace music being played and listened to live. Just, unfortunately, more and more people forget that, and so it is even more important to try and support live music wherever and whenever you can. St Martin-in-the-Fields was a beautiful venue to play in and we had a great time performing Reger and Haydn. We also had the very talented Skins Elliott come and take some photos of us beforehand. On Facebook, we’ve put together a little album. Click on the photo below to browse through it!
Now I’ll leave you to your evening and just want to point out that all those friends that you’ll be telling about my really interesting newsletters can sign up for it on my contact page or now also on my Facebook page.
As ever, below are my upcoming dates (December is occupied by the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Christmas). Thanks for reading and good night!
December 6 at 7.30pm, Hexham Abbey: Royal Northern Sinfonia – Baroque Christmas by Candlelight
December 10 at 7pm, Sage Gateshead, Newcastle: Royal Northern Sinfonia play Messiah
December 13 at 7.30pm, St Cuthbert’s Church, Carlisle: Royal Northern Sinfonia – Baroque Christmas by Candlelight
December 15 at 7.30pm, St George’s Church, Newcastle: Royal Northern Sinfonia – Baroque Christmas by Candlelight