Long overdue update!!
It's been a few months since my last news update...sorry!! It's been a busy few months in the meantime with lots of exciting projects, and here's a few bits n' pieces I've been up to in the meantime:
I was really lucky to be involved in this amazing production at the Royal Opera House. Based on the Shakespeare play, choreographed by Chrisopher Wheeldon and with music by Joby Talbot, there was lots of involved percussion writing...and a tonne of gear too! You can see from the pics below that Joby writes for a variety of unusual percussion instruments including tuned gongs, 'kitchen percussion' (upturned Balti dishes!), rain sticks and a bass drum with a rute (a handfull of twigs, basically) on it. I was playing two parts: the tuned gongs and then a small set up with snare drums, crotales, windchimes and bass drum. Joby was there for all the rehearsals and for a lot of the performances too, so it was amazing to work closely with him. He also wrote for an on-stage band which was really effective - 2 percussionists (Rob Farrer on log drum and Jez Wiles on Surdo and frame drums), accordion, cymbalom (Greg Knowles...amazing!) and ethic flutes....cool! I hear that the ROH has commissioned him for another ballet in 2019 - great choice!
Elgar's 2nd Symphony:
I did a great tour of Elgar 2 with the Philharmonia and Ed Gardener. The orchestra sounded amazing (as always!) and it brought me back to my days of 'yoof', playing this piece as a 19 year old with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. Good times!
Arensky Chamber Orchestra
I played an amazing reduction of Götterdammerung by Wagner for 15 ACO players by Iain Farringdon. It was a kind of 'greatest hits' of the opera. It's such incredible music and very special to play because at the moment my wife, Stephi, is currently doing the complete ring cycle with Opera North, so we could compare notes! The ACO is a fantastic orchestra and well worth checking out. Please do take a look at our website, particularly at the 'St Petersberg' section, which let's you know how you can be involved.
I gave a masterclass for the percussion section of the Young People's Symphony Orchestra from California a few weeks ago. It's a fantastic orchestra and they were in London as part of their European Tour. The students were awesome, and we spent an afternoon looking at Elgar's Enigma Variations and Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances. We also randomly talked at length about the 'funny taste' of London's tap water...! Important stuff!