2016...what a year that was! The year of Brexit, of Trump...when Fake News became Real News and when certainty became not so certain at all. Whatever your thoughts on 2016 were, it was definitely a year of change and prospect.
Speaking of which, I saw in the new year (in a very stormy Scotland, by the fire with wife, family and Roly, our family whippet) reflecting on what was, and looking forward to what will become. 2016 for me was full of interesting and challenging work; concerts with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Opera House and Arensky Chamber Orchestra; Old Dirty Brasstards releasing their debut album; masterclasses in Japan, for the Young Person's Symphony Orchestra of California and Lancing College and adjudicating for the Perse School; teaching at the Junior Academy and education projects with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Arensky Chamber Orchestra. After auditioning in November for the Principal Percussion vacancy at the NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland, I'm down to the last 3 people and will start a trial there next month. My trial for Principal Percussion with the Philharmonia Orchestra continues on into 2017 as well.
2017 brings many interesting projects; January sees me starting a new project for Celtic Connections with Scottish Harpist Fraya Thompsen, in February I begin Sleeping Beauty at the Royal Opera House and travel to Poland for a Bernstein programme with the NFM Philharmonic, in March the Arensky Chamber Orchestra has it's first UK tour with a programme of Debussy's La Mer and the Britten Four Sea Interludes as well as another return trip to Poland for Mahler 5 with the NFM Philharmonic. In amongst this, Old Dirty Brasstards continue to be as busy as ever and Will Kundhart (Arensky Chamber Orchestra's Artistic Director) has asked me to come on board as Collaborative Director, and so I'll be working hard to increase the orchestra's profile over the coming months.
Who knows what we will say of 2017 in the future, but I for one am going to be mindful to stay positive, keep an open mind and listen to others...especially those with whom I share opposing views! Mark Kermode (one of my heroes) said in a podcast last year that he believes in meliorism - the idea that the world can be made better by human effort - and that's going to be my mantra for the year. Here's to us all being meliorists in 2017!