Musicians are performers and communicators. We are also resourceful and inventive! We missed performing and put our heads together to work out what our response to the pandemic could be.
Concert On Your Doorstep was the result and it has been an amazing experience to see our project grow. We are proud to be able to bring live music to many people who are isolated or lonely due to the pandemic. To date we have performed 58 concerts, entertaining over 600 individuals and families across Bath and the South West. Our work has been featured twice in the Guardian, in the Bath Chronicle and on Bath Radio. We have performed livestream concerts for Wiltshire Rural Music on Facebook: a new experience! We are delighted to continue to work for Arts Council funded charity Celebrating Age Wiltshire, taking our concerts into isolated rural communities
Thank you for your musical cheer!Hawthorn Court Extra Care, Keynsham
What got you first interested in music?
I was given the chance to have free violin lessons at primary school in the early 1980s, which was a really fantastic opportunity. My real passion for playing the violin began when I was 16 and joined a local orchestra run by an enthusiastic and inspirational lady in her living room! I discovered how exciting it was to make music with other people and made some great friends too.
How did you train to be a professional musician?
A level music helped qualify me to study music at Royal Holloway, University of London. After graduating I spent a year at Guildhall School of Music and Drama then worked in London as a freelance violinist, learning my trade. Some years later I went to Trinity Laban as a mature student to do a Masters degree in performance. My formal training took 6 years, but musicians never stop studying: every time I practice I aim to increase my skills and knowledge.
What instruments do you play and what is your favourite?
I play violin and viola – mostly violin! My favourite depends on my mood. Sometimes I really crave the darker sound of my viola.
What has been your most memorable performing experience?
That’s a hard question! I’ve had so many wonderful experiences working as a musician. Its hard to beat the feeling of playing Verdi Requiem in the Albert Hall with a choir over 2000 for example. Performing with Roni Size and drum and bass collective Reprazent in Bristol was electrifying. Not many classical musicians get to play at a rave!
How has the pandemic affected your career?
March 2020 was a watershed moment for most musicians. All our future work was cancelled within weeks and our careers effectively put on hold for the foreseeable future. We are still working out how to proceed forward from this, but I hope that in the future the work musicians do in their local communities will be more valued.
Why did you start playing music?
My earliest memory is playing in a recorder group when I was five years old. I was always trying to work out new pieces and when I began playing piano aged 6 I had that same curiosity. I imagine I was drawn to instruments because I had dancing lessons and loved moving to music!
What happened next?
Once I started playing the violin, I found it a thrill to be part of an orchestra but the recorder became my main instrument. When I was 17 I had the opportunity to be a helper at the Haslemere Festival of Early Music. I lived with the famous Dolmetsch family and that was a life changing and inspiring experience.
Where did you train and how long did it take?
I studied at the Royal College of Music for 5 years. After music college I still wanted to learn and had lessons with musicians I admired and found inspirational. I am still training and draw on my knowledge, experiences and instincts everyday.
What is your most memorable performing experience?
There are so many! A great memory is playing for Ballet Rambert for the reopening of Sadlers Wells with Darcey Bussell performing. One of my first performances as a soloist with a chamber group was broadcast live from St John’s Smith Square to 22 different countries on BBC Radio 3. Also, recording in the famous Abbey Road Studios for a Harry Potter soundtrack is something to remember.
Where has your career in music taken you?
I’ve been lucky enough to tour with period instrument orchestras and ensembles all over Europe and the Far East and have examined for ABRSM in Europe, Hong Kong and China. I’ve really enjoyed playing for UK music festivals and performing for British music clubs and societies is a great way of exploring this wonderful country.
What is your favourite thing about performing?
Losing a sense of self and just becoming music. That is my favourite thing.
How has the pandemic affected your career?
Everything has had to change and technology has become incredibly important. My teaching and examining is now online. We are even trying out zoom concerts…who would have thought!