After the busiest week I’ve ever had, I made my home in Newcastle, at the Sage Gateshead for a whole week. One can simply not complain about this gorgeous hall…

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The first time when you collaborate with fellow musicians is a wonderful process but an emotional one also. You never know whether you’re going to get on with those people on a human level, never mind on a musical one. Well, this time I had nothing to worry about! Alexandra Soumm (violinist) and Jakob Koranyi (cellist) were some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. They exuded joy, optimism and we got on like a house on fire! We spent the entire week spreading the joy around the concert hall, having breakfast, lunch and dinner every day together, happily practicing, talking endless hours about music & life, going for walks and eating quite a huge amount…and the Beethoven Triple concerto rocked as a result!

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We also had masterclasses with children between 8-18 as part of the education work the Royal Northern Sinfonia does around their concerts. I love getting involved in these sort of projects so I was thrilled when I got asked to teach 6 pianists, all hungry to learn.

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The concert itself was part of the BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival- more info here http://www.sagegateshead.com/event/rns/ and it was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. The programme of the evening was a beautiful celebration of some of most beloved works, which went down a storm with our audience:

MOZART – Overture- The Marriage of Figaro
BEETHOVEN – Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano
BRUCH – Concerto for Viola and Clarinet
PROKOFIEV – Symphony No.1

Before the concert I played a little Szymanowski prelude on the In Tune programme, live with Sean Rafferty in front of a little audience of 100 people. This took me by surprise, as when I normally go in the studio, there’s moi, a (beautiful) piano and Sean. Then ran to the rehearsal with the fabulous Royal Northern Sinfonia and we got ready for the concert.

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As it was Halloween, we decided to do something a bit unorthodox in a classical concert hall and we dressed up for the encore. Before we sat down to play the Haydn’s Gypsy Trio, we shouted Trick or Treat which got us a a big round of applause and a lot of smiles and giggles from the audience…and the orchestra 🙂

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BBC Radio 3 picked up on it also and Petroc Trelawny, who was commenting live was quite amused, shall we say…The concert was of course followed by dinner with our brilliant conductor Alexandre Bloch, Dionysis Grammenos (clarinetist) and Lise Berthaud (violist). All in all, one of the most spectacular weeks ever, with so much to learn from each other, great plans for the future and JOY!

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