How lockdown inspired me to compose for my own instrument – The Strad

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It was March 2020 and I had just finished a day of recording Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht at Fairfield Halls with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. I left to return to my home in Deal, Kent with the expectation of an early start the next morning, a train-ride back to London and the beginning of a new project with the same orchestra. Before I made it home, I received a text from the orchestral manager with a message amounting to ‘all projects cancelled until further notice.’ And that was that! I was locked-down in a small cottage by the sea with my collection of instruments and a feeling of bewilderment and trepidation. One thing soon became clear; with no colleagues to play alongside, it was time to learn how to accompany myself. 

Having spent almost my whole life attempting to balance my ambitions to be both a cellist and a composer, I had never actually written any solo cello music. What had I been doing for all those years?! Well now was my chance. I had no one else to make music with, more time on my hands than I’d had since I was a baby, a very real need to be occupied with something other than the apocalyptic news and if I couldn’t feel inspired with the sea on my doorstep then maybe I wasn’t much of a composer after all!

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