Monday Last week was really quite a special one. Tiring, but special. I started off on Monday travelling back to my second home, Switzerland; or as I like to call it, Swissyland. It had been almost six months since I was there, so felt good to visit my friends and see the fabulous country again.
Tuesday My first job of the week; to take a rehearsal with the Brass and Percussion section for the upcoming concert entitled Rhapsody in Brass. This was on Tuesday morning and evening.
Wednesday, 4am – time to leave the hotel and get a flight to the UK to conduct at the National Television Awards from the o2 arena. The group in question; 50 talented ladies who have vibrancy, excitement, very talkative mouths (!) and most of all, a passion – the Military Wives. This was seen by 29,000 people in the venue and 6 million viewers on television. Besides those extraordinary figures, it was just a wonderful experience being on that stage with those women. It really felt like there was nobody else in the place, until I took my in-ear pieces out to hear the roaring of the audience. Now normally I’d go on and party to the early hours, except, at 5am the next morning it was time to pop back to Swissyland again.
Thursday 6am arrive in Zurich where a car is waiting to take me to Basel to take the rehearsal. I’m very tired, and running on autopilot. Not the most enjoyable of experiences, but I should complain. It’s wonderful to be busy…
Friday Concert day. Have a sleep (finally) and wake up at midday. Well deserved, especially as the rest of the day entails designing the lighting for the venue, taking a short rehearsal, warming up, then conducting the following:
Hommage JFK – Sampson
The Dragons Dance – LeClair
West Side Story Suite – Bernstein (arr. Crees)
and finally, getting my fingers on the Steinway and playing
Rhapsody in Blue – Gershwin.
After this, I went off stage and had to return bow three times, where I finally said; “Ok, lets play the last section of the Gershwin again”. Now, you’d think the audience would be happy with this. But at the end of it, they would not stop clapping! I went on and off another three times and finally, to the chants of “encore”, sat back down at the piano. The room fell silent; sadly so did my brain! “I don’t have anything prepared to play” I shout out, and my mother, always game for a laugh, shouted “play Rachmaninoff 2nd!”
I finally had an idea, to do an improvisation on Paganini’s Caprice. After this, another two bows and I refused to go back on stage. It was lovely, but I thought that was the right time to stop.
And now? Well, now I’m in Bern starting to write a musical with my friend Moritz Schneider. We have found a wonderful subject to write this on, and we already have one song in the bag. It’s a long term project, but I hope 2014 will be the year it appears on a stage near you!
So from my lovely and cold (-15) Swissyland, I bid you a good evening!
January 31st, 2012