It's Sunday so technically it is the beginning of a 'new' week or for normal folk, the end to a restful weekend. But, I'm at the final stretch of a 10-day marathon, jam-packed with fantastic music, people, lots of travel and some interesting destinations!
Working backwards, today and tomorrow I am rehearsing Haydn Concerto No. 1 in C Major with Ensemble de Bruxelles and Maestro Jacques van Herenthals for our concert at Palais des Beaux-Arts this Tuesday March 3 at 20:00. This concerto was a childhood favorite so I'm happy to be revisiting and performing it several times this year. It's also a pleasure to be performing on behalf of the Belgian National League of Multiple Sclerosis in their annual gala to raise funds for further research and treatment, and awareness for their cause. It's also not everyday your warm-up room is...a gymnasium. Weird circumstance, but at least it was sunny!
Going back a bit further and to a very different kind of scenery, I was in the gorgeous mountains of southwestern Switzerland from Thursday to Saturday, in the heart of the Swiss Alps and French-speaking part of the canton of Valais, performing with friends and musicians at the Crans-Montana Classics. I swear, I felt like I was in the movie 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' as we were making our way up to the top of Crans-Montana and arrived to our hotel (minus the crazy concierge and bell boy). The views were absolutely breathtaking and maybe it was the high altitude and fresh air, but we gave a high-octane performance of Schumann Piano Quintet with violinists Michael Guttman and Liya Petrova, violist Marie Chilemme, and pianist Ashot Khachatourian. There was also Massenet, Franck, Beethoven, and 5 of the 8 duos for violin and cello by Reinhold Gliere. If you are looking for some romantic pieces for this particular pair, these duos are a real gem!
Disclaimer: all photos of the mountains were taken by my iPhone (a.k.a. pae-phone) and yes, believe it or not, there is #nofilter
It's hard to believe it was a week ago, but on February 22, I returned to Festival de Stavelot at the Abbaye de Stavelot, a major heritage of Wallonia and one of the oldest monastic foundations in Belgium, for a concert program featuring works for mezzo-soprano (Sarah Laulan), piano (Nathanael Gouin), and cello. This is the first time we three collaborated together on stage but it was also the first time I had a chance to really discover repertoire for this instrumentation. Beautiful music. I have always loved vocal repertoire (even more so during the last 4-5 years) so it was a pleasure to be part of that synergy and also work from a different musical perspective with the song's text. Our program included works by Franck, Berlioz, Duruflé, Brahms, Borodine, and solo works for piano and cello by Brahms and Schumann. We are doing this program plus songs with violin in a program called 'Violons Dans Le Soir' in Holland on March 15 at Schiermonnikoog Festival.