September 27, 2014
First concert of the season is always a new start for me, a new programme, this time a new country and of course a new dress. I’ve been on the move ever since I can remember, so here is my newest journey!
Allow me to tell you how my 14/15 started. First concert was last night in Rokiskis, a beautiful town in Lithuania. It took me 12 hours to get there. I flew from Stanstead, after taking a bus and a train, then flew to Vilnius, followed by a 3 hour car journey to Rokiskis. The driver got lost on the way there, silly GPS, but we got there eventually! Stanstead airport is being renovated. So no shops, people on top of each other, not much space to fight through the crowds for a cuppa. Internet was very poor so I phoned Mother, who read out loud about Lithuania’s history- lots of Polish, Germans, Russians make the population which is only 3mil, comparatively to London’s 7mil and Romania’s 21mil). Mother always knows better where I go, she follows me on the map and Googles the places I go to, and because I always rush home or to another concert after I finish playing, she gets to see more than I do. One of those things!
The concert was a cultural collaboration between Romania and Lithuania and I got invited by the Romanian Ambassador in Lithuania to inaugurate a new recital series in memory of Livia Maiorescu- Dymsza, a well known pianist and the daughter of the Romanian statesman and cultural activist Titu Maiorescu. I was welcomed with so much warmth, generosity and enthusiasm. I played Szymanowski and Shostakovich Preludes, a few movements from the Nutcracker Suite (which went down a storm) and the Chopin Scherzo no 2. I introduced the whole programme as I normally do and it was very much appreciated. Talking to an audience always bring the performer and the audience together. After all, music is about sharing and communicating. I got a standing ovation. And lots of flowers. And I made a new fan 🙂
We had a wonderful reception with lots of delicious traditional cheeses and meats, where the Mayor of Rokiskis welcomed around 100 guests. It doesn’t happen very often, but I had a day off today and I spent it visiting lots of the beautiful churches in Vilnius, which are like jewels spread all around the city. The fan kept following me!
I learnt a huge amount about Lithuania, its gorgeous people, Parisian streets and Russian influences, its history, food and I definitely want to go back. In fact, the most rewarding thing that can happen after a performance is to get re-invited for the following season. Which I did. All in all, a wonderful start of the season and a very happy Alex 🙂
Many thanks for reading, till the next one! A