Vivaldi in Venice and Museo della Musica

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A battle between music and anxiety


The orchestra are tuning up and I’m settling in to my seat. It’s been a busy week, a busy month, but I’ve finally found time to take a break. I don’t really hear the first piece but maybe that’s just because I’ve not calmed down from the day. I’m here for the second piece anyway. The music begins but it’s hard to listen and I’m starting to feel hot. I’m trying to pay attention and focus in on the music, but I’m sure I’m going to be sick. I need to cool down but it feels like I can’t control my arms to take off my jumper, and the room is starting to spin. I manage to pull myself together enough to run outside. I have no idea if the door slammed on my way out. All I know is that music usually helped me to relax, but now my body felt like I was under attack. Continue reading

Mariinsky, music college, music street


There’s been a lot of Russian connections this summer. Some fun – football, playing some Rachmaninoff at my latest concert. Some not so fun – basically everything else. With everyone jetting off on holiday and the news looking particularly scary, I’ve been trying to remember some of the cultural and musical moments from my trip to Russia last year. During our stay in St Petersburg I, of course, wanted to visit as many musical spots as possible, and luckily a whole bunch of them are collected together in one handy place! Continue reading

Mahler’s Fourth Symphony

IMG_5176I always felt, perhaps strangely, that I discovered Mahler for myself. I’d never even heard of Mahler before I went to study Music at University (thinking back, weirdly I didn’t really know very much about classical music at all…). Back in Leicester during the University holidays, I went to see the Philharmonia perform Mahler’s Fourth Symphony (for just £4) and fell in love with it instantly. Continue reading

Bernstein’s 100th birthday

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I haven’t posted much recently because I’ve barely had time to blog. One of the reasons is that I’ve been working towards a concert with my amateur orchestra. I’m on the committee so there’s been lots of organising, and lots of rehearsals with lots of practice in between doesn’t leave much time for writing. However I did manage to find some time to write the programme notes for the two pieces, Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, and Mahler’s Fourth SymphonyContinue reading

Wales Millennium Centre



I went to my first opera aged 24 and I was convinced I would hate it (I’d already produced some student performances and played in some orchestras, but this was my first audience experience). I was studying for a postgrad in performance at music college and our very sensible tutors were very keen on us developing ‘portfolios’ just in case those careers as professional musicians didn’t quite work out. One of our tasks was to have a go at writing reviews, but being a poor student meant I wanted to find the cheapest event possible. With a friend we discovered £5 tickets for Welsh National Opera, so we toddled over to the Wales Millennium Centre to settle in for a performance of Puccini’s ToscaContinue reading

Peace in Hiroshima

IMG_3891 Itsukushima Shrine

The shrine on Miyajima / Itsukushima

I’m not sure if Hiroshima would be a tourist destination had 6th August 1945 been different. Maybe it would just be a place to stay to easily get to the sacred island of Itsukushima, and I don’t think I would’ve heard of the city. But in 2016 the city received 2 million visitors, and it was one of the ten city stops on my around-the-country tour of Japan. Continue reading