Last month, we gathered in the wonderful musical city of Berlin to study with William Coleman, renowned violist of the Kuss Quartet. We prepared the Sonata for flute, viola and harp by Claude Debussy and Toru Takemitsu’s single-movement work …and then I knew ’twas wind, which is influenced by and indeed quotes music from the Debussy sonata. We had performed both works many times before this project, but were very keen to learn more about the musical possibilities of these great pieces.
Due to Rowan’s exile to Strasbourg last September, this meeting was actually our first for a very long time, and though perhaps there was some uncertainty about how things would be after so long, we were relieved to find that we were still basically in order! Our time with William Coleman (4 sessions at the beginning of the month, and 1 at the end) made a deep impression on us. His approach was very harmonious with our vision as an ensemble, and he challenged us in a way that has significantly affected our awareness while playing together and our way of listening and examining the music we play. It was a privilege to be able to work for such an extended time with such a tenacious and imaginative (and busy!) musician.
Between kebabs, wandering through the Turkish markets, losing vitamin D by the minute in our bunker/practice studio, and hearing some incredible live classical music, we also met up for a coffee with Doreen Ooi (http://www.iamooi.com), an Australian violist who moved to Berlin a couple of years ago (retrace our steps!!! Concierge Coffee) . This led to an unexpected and wonderful performance opportunity which we had not foreseen – Doreen offered to produce a concert in which we would perform our two trio works, as well as some solo pieces, and collaborate with her. We ended up putting on 2 shows, which happened on 23/March at 2pm and 6pm. It was so exciting to perform for new, friendly and interesting people, as well as to be part of such a cool production (named Circumambulation after the solo flute piece Rowan played). Thankyou Ooi!!!
Our next confirmed project is a while off, but we are excited none the less. We will undertake a residency at the Centre Intermondes, La Rochelle, France in August-September, performing music by Debussy, Takemitsu and Australian composer Barry Conyngham, as well as learning some new music (some of which may not have been written yet). Then we’ll head north to the town of L’Aigle, where the ever-fabulous Ooi has organised a repeat performance of Circumambulation on 13/September in the village chapel. More details of this exciting (and no doubt idyllic) French chapter to follow!