First of all I’d like to wish everybody a very happy Easter and please feel free to eat an extra Easter Egg as I’m not allowed any chocolate!!
March was a busy month and I thought I’d just give a few updates on some of the happenings before moving onto April.
The piano shows in Buenos Aires with the orchestra and choir were fantastic and certainly the highlight for me was being allowed to perform at the Teatro Colon, which is one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world.
I had visited the opera house before, but only as a paying member of the audience when I went with my live sound engineer Ian Barfoot, to see Romeo and Juliet 17 years ago!
I was made extremely welcome and to “preserve” this one-off event, we recorded it and hopefully it should see the light of day in the not too distant future as part of a special limited edition collection.
The live recording at Lincoln was so special. The most wonderful setting with the only slight negative point being that it was freezing cold!!!...not the nicest thing for a piano player!
I have seen some of the footage and heard some of the recording which Erik Jordan skilfully put together, and it certainly is a great memento of the Piano Portraits year.
On the 16th, I had the pleasure of performing at another beautiful opera house, this time in Spain, in the town of Elche, where I had Valentina Blanca as my special guest and who sang beautifully.
On the 24th I performed in Naples at the Archaeological Museum as part of their festival. Again, the most stunning surroundings and a very inspiring place to play.
So as March came to a close and I thought I might just have a little bit of time to recharge batteries before the ARW/YES rehearsal and concerts start, my manager completed an agreement with Sony Classical / Masterworks for a new album and suddenly the diary filled up!
Although untitled as yet, the album will be piano pieces of variations on some classically inspired music, some contemporary music and some original music but sprinkled with a string orchestra and choir to add more colour. Not all the pieces will have this treatment as some will simply be piano, whilst others will have just choir or strings and a few will have both.
I have already started on the choice of music and have made a short list of 60 pieces which I will whittle down to 20 and then record them all, choosing the 14 that I feel work the best. It is very possible that 2 of the original compositions will be 2 that I have written for 2 wonderful Moon Bears. Rocky, who was so important as one of the first bears to be saved, and of course our beloved Cyril who we lost in February. The piano will all be recorded at the Granary on my favourite piano and the orchestra in a London Studio.
Then next month it’s into the studio for a few days to record the strings and choir before the music is mixed and delivered for mastering.
Amongst all of this, I will be preparing for the ARW/YES tours and rehearsals and also I have a few piano concerts to do as well as a special event for my great friend Bill Bruford and another for my beloved Moon Bears.
On Tuesday 10th I will be filming a short piece to camera for the wonderful Lifelites charity and then immediately off to an interview for Japan. It’s 2 miles between these two places and, as part of my new regime, I shall be walking it, rain or shine. (I will now allow a few minutes for you all to recover from this shock).
On the 21st I will be doing something rather different with my great friend Peter Egan. A very kind and generous friend of Peter’s has donated a very large sum of money to the Moon Bears....in exchange for myself and Peter to perform at his house for him and few friends on his birthday......now there’s a first and almost certainly a last!
On the 26th and 27th, I will be doing piano shows at Boston Spa Methodist Church and that pretty much brings to a close live performances until ARW/YES kicks in, but more about that in the May GORR.
Finally, I’d like to mention the Rushton Dog Rescue which I was introduced to by Mim Grey, who in turn was introduced to me by son Adam......if you get the chance please check out the work that they do......there are so many places like this that help give me faith back in the human race.