January 2008

Back from an exhilarating week in Naples doing an intensive italian language course.

I'll be making my debut with the Irish Chamber Orchestra this Autumn, conducting Mendelssohn's complete incidental music to Midsummer Night's Dream, in a new collaboration with the Dublin theatre company Storytellers.

I'm also reading a brilliant version of Peer Gynt written by Bathsheba Doran, which could form the basis for a new chamber version of the play with Grieg's music, to be toured next year to various UK Festivals.

There's a possibility that I could make the first ever recording of Humperdinck's music to four Shakespeare plays, which I found in the British Library last month. A publishing house in Germany is sending me copies of the original manuscripts of the full scores (the music was never published) and I'm talking to a record label and producer about putting together a recording.

The country's first carbon-neutral arts festival Earthly Music which I'm putting together with the producer Jo Paton, is taking shape and I'm bringing together English Chamber Orchestra, some fantastic performers as well as some of the most influential and inspiring leaders from the environmental world. It is incredibly fulfilling to be putting into practice something I've thought about for nearly two decades now.

I'm also putting together the programme for Roman River Music, a weekend of music in beautiful rural Essex.

Andrew Keener is editing the second disc I recorded with the English Chamber Orchestra last year, of some wonderfully fragrant Joseph James arrangements of Rachmaninov piano music. The disc has a pencilled release date of September this year.

Lastly I'm rehearsing the first John Adams work that I've ever been able to programme, with the Kew Sinfonia. It is a huge and exciting challenge which the orchestra is rising to marvellously, and learning it is one of the most intellectually satisfying processes I've undertaken for a long time.