In this time of deep political and social unrest and pain, I decided to put a set together in the form of a 30 minute, ‘Words and Music’ a meditation on the theme ‘GRIEF AND HOPE’. Sitting in the key of A to hold this stream of thought, I chose some stunning folk tunes from Sweden that I’ve been working on during lockdown from Erik Rydvall (Nickellharpe player) and some old favourite pieces / tunes from friends Feargus Heatherington, Badinage ensemble, Alehouse Sessions and Fra Fee. Folk and Baroque seem so close as genres anyway, but with four texts to tie it altogether, it feels even more natural as a medium, with the text illuminating the music and visa versa. It has also been a great joy to sing and improvise again and I look forward to developing this more in the coming months.
Ollie Mansfield’s series ‘FRONT ROOM CONCERTS’ on Facebook seemed like a great platform for what I wanted to achieve. I threw open the doors and windows and told a few neighbours to listen outside if they strictly socially distanced. The seagulls even joined in.
Here are some of the scenes… and to hear the set, go to my Listen page!
I’m thrilled to have recently received Arts Council Funding to support my work. The first of my proposals has just come to fruition! It is a project about Freedom in aid of Refuge, the charity against domestic violence for women and children and involves 26 performers using spoken word and music.
In October 2019 I was lucky enough to be funded to take some time to compose uninterrupted in a residency setting. I invited cellist Zosia Jagodzinska and percussionist Michaela Antalová to join me for this creative period and we went over to ‘Madstun’ in Norway, Jon Balke’s stunning spot in the hills. The results are nearly ready but in the meantime, here is a snippet of one of my poems we worked on.. Above you can see us with some students that we worked with in a college not far from Madstun.
It’s great to be leading ETO again for their Spring Tour 2020 with the Old Street Band!
Handel’s Giulio Cesare (revival)
Bach’s St. John Passion (immersive semi – staged)
Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte (in English)
Education Show: ‘The Extraordinary Adventures of You and Me’ (written by Ruth Mariner and composed by Omar Shahryar)
Beyond the crazy schedule, some challenges include playing viola d’amore for the John Passion, ‘changing hats’ for the SEND education show which I helped to devise with National Star College in Cheltenham in the autumn and, for the main shows, quickly switching between baroque and classical styles (and pitches). I consider my role within the orchestra to be twofold: to encourage as high a quality of playing as possible but also to promote a great deal of camaraderie amongst colleagues so that we feel – as our name suggests – like a band. As usual, it is a pleasure working with the energetic and passionate Jonathan Peter Kenny, and this time it’s great to be getting to know Holly Mathieson from New Zealand, whose wonderful balletic gestures bring a fantastic lightness to Cosi fan tutte… See my ‘upcoming’ page for a full list of dates.
Greetings from Oslo! Some good news: I’m very happy to announce my new associateship with the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM). The award is for students who have: ‘distinguished themselves in the music profession and made a significant contribution to it in their particular field’.
Heartfelt thanks to all those who have supported me over the last 9 years since graduating. Here’s to the next 9 years!
2 months in Norway!
March – early May will be an intensive period with Barokksolistene and members of the Alehouse Sessions at the Oslo Opera House. As per the Opus award we won last year: ‘Klassik ohne Grenzen’, we will pushing at the boundaries of traditional opera and playing: on stage – from memory – one per part – in costume, with dancing, singing and acting!
We will then work with choreographers Cina Espejord, Melissa Hough, Garrett Smith & Liam Scarlett for a new project of baroque music and contemporary dance. http://barokksolistene.com
ETO news …
After a fantastic autumn season, I am thrilled to be invited back as leader of English Touring Opera for the baroque tour in Spring 2020, with works by Bach, Handel and Mozart. We will venture to new pastures such as Truro and also across to Ireland. http://www.englishtouringopera.org.uk
This July I will make my first appearance with Il Gusto Barocco from Stuttgart in Ansbach, Germany. We will perform the Bach Triple concerto amongst various Bach cantatas and finish by recording all the Brandenburg concerti – a dream come true! https://www.halubek.com/ilgustobarocco/
L.O.G.A.S. (Laboratory of Gesture and Sound)…
Last year the seeds were sown for a project with David Watkin and the Brodsky Quartet at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and this exciting project will come to fruition at the end of June 2019. I will be working with the students on some of the Beethoven string quartets in movement and trying to start a revolution in conservatoire training!
We are very excited that our French street songs project, curated by Jonathan Rees, has received funding from Cambridge Arts and Humanities Impact Fund to develop our work. Watch this space! http://www.badinagefolkband.wordpress.com
New chamber music collaborations … on a new violin!
In May, I will be doing several concerts in London with Gavin Kibble and David Gerrard exploring French baroque music including Couperin and Rameau. I am very excited to try out this repertoire on my stunning new violin made by Arnaud Giral in Bristol in 2017. http://www.arnaudgiral.com
A new venture is mentoring tutors for the Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama which is giving me the opportunity to reflect upon good pedagogical methodology in Dalcroze and Kodaly.
Next week I will be exploring Arianna in Naxos with Rachel Stroud, Zephyr Bruggen and the Rites Ensemble in Cambridge… think: strings connecting the streets, modern and baroque instruments, improv, Monteverdi, all in the Round Church on Sunday 6th May at 8 and 10pm. #nosocialmedia so watch this space!
A big new project coming soon called ‘LOGAS’ .. all to be revealed in due course.
Some highlights from 2018 so far:
It was wonderful to play Handel’s Teseo at the London Handel Festival with La Nuova Music recently and see up-and-coming talent from Royal Academy of Music.. they did a stonking job! Look out for Gluck’s Orfeo with La Nuova Music next month featuring Iestyn Davies and Mary Bevan. www.lanuovamusica.co.uk
A great challenge but with extraordinary rewards was learning a whole Purcell programme from memory for a new project with Bjarte Eike & Barokksolistene, ‘Purcell’s Playground’ in Norway. We tried it out at a church in Gran and will be developing and touring it this year including to the St. Magnus Festival, Orkney on June 25th. Working with Steven Player was a particular highlight.. http://barokksolistene.com
I am thrilled to be leading some workshops with the Luton Roma Trust and World Beaters in Luton. This is alongside my father who has worked intensively with the Roma community for the best part of the last 20 years. First stop will be performing in a care home on May 16th!
In February and March, alongside my playing work I decided to squeeze in a side-ways step… to explore MIME – as in, Etienne Decroux style – and where else? But in Paris of course! This was a demanding experience and I look forward to sharing my reflections in due course. Many thanks to the Ann Driver trust for helping me to fund this.