The last few weeks have just flown by and I have been having a fantastic time performing in some of Europe’s greatest concert halls with Alasdair Beatson (piano) as part of our European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO) Rising Stars tour. We started in Hamburg, where we were given a very warm welcome at the Laeiszhalle Elbphilharmonie. We were playing in the Kleiner Saal, which seats up to 640 people and is gorgeous with preserved 1950s design and a very sonorous acoustic. It was fun to chat to Dorothee Kalbhenn about my career and that evening’s programme in a very relaxed pre-concert talk and it was also the world premiere performance of Charlie Piper’s ‘Kokopele’, which added extra excitement to the event. It was also lovely to meet and hear some up-and-coming young flute players at the Jugendmusikschule Hamburg. Our next concert was at the truly amazing Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. It felt wonderfully intimate, making my spine-tingle playing in the beautiful Recital Hall, as you feel so close to the audience in the oval setting. It was amazing to receive a standing ovation whilst being handed a very beautiful bouquet of flowers and this very special concert is one that I’ll never forget. We then travelled to Brussels where we were playing at the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in the magnificent Henry Le Boeuf Hall. It was so exciting to play in this huge hall! Despite it’s large scale, it seats around 2200 people, the acoustics are so fabulous that it still managed to feel beautifully intimate in a chamber setting and the audience were extremely warm and attentive. We couldn’t leave Brussels without visiting some of the haute chocolate shops and came back with some amazing Pierre Marcolini treats! Our last concert on the first leg of this tour was a bit closer to home, at Birmingham’s Town Hall. It was particularly special for me to play here, since I grew up nearby in Warwick and so have been going to Birmingham both to play and listen to concerts at the Town Hall and Symphony Hall all my life. We really enjoyed playing some great chamber repertoire in the generous acoustic and it was lovely to meet lots of audience members afterwards over a glass of sherry.
The next concerts in our ECHO Rising Stars Tour are not until March, but February looks busy both with Royal Northern Sinfonia concerts and also concerts with Ensemble 360, including our our first ensemble performance in Doncaster’s new performance space, CAST tomorrow, with the World Premiere of Charlotte Bray’s ‘Shadow Games’, for soloists and orchestra.