And We’re Off! What’s Going On: January 2020 (and a bit of Feb)

Life moves so bloody quickly these days, I felt the need to take a moment, perhaps every few weeks or so, to collect myself together in a post about what’s going on and what’s coming up in my line of vision (metaphorically). I have a romantic idea that I’ll look back at these short articles and feel somewhat satisfied and content, that there was a point to it all at the time. Well, in any case, I hope it will help me to catch up with myself, and maybe others too!

Concerts and Projects
January sprung right into action on day one with a lovely chamber music concert for me plus two new colleagues (in that they were new to me), playing works by Mozart and Beethoven to a packed and enthusiastic new year’s day audience. It was really a pleasure to work with musicians who gave me absolute liberty to play as I wanted – this is so very meaningful to me. I may soon be posting some short extracts from the recording of this concert to my social media pages so keep an eye out for that if you are interested.

Next on the docket is a piano trio concert on January 17th, in Green Valley’s Presbyterian Church, where I will be joining two more colleagues for Mendelssohn’s first piano trio amongst other works (more info here).

From January 18th to February 2nd, I am so excited to be joining the Arizona Opera Company for the first time in their production run of La Bohème. This will be my first time ever performing this opera in full, and my first opera since playing viola in the on-stage band for Don Giovanni at the Mozarteum 6 years ago! All information on performances and tickets to be found here.

The following week, February 4th to 6th, I will be working together with Renée Fleming and the Tucson Symphony, performing Strauss’ Four Last Songs. This will be a very meaningful experience to me I am sure, not just because I adore Renée Fleming and cannot wait to share a concert with her (absolute bucket list moment!), but also because this was my Grampa’s favourite music and I am still feeling his loss greatly. There surely won’t be a dry eye in the house. Information on this concert can be found here.

Finally, for now, I wanted to mention that I will be playing a concert on February 11th with a very dear friend of mine and superb violist, Hannah Nicholas, who will be joining me in Tucson for a concert at the ASA. We are putting together a really interesting programme, full of little gems of duos and solos. If you would like to come to this or any of my other concerts, all info is on my Calendar page, and I would love to see you there!

What I’m Reading/Listening To/Generally Consuming
I’m currently reading Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved‘ and loving every word. Perhaps it is shameful for me to admit that it probably took her death to inspire me to start reading her works, but better to start reading them now than not at all and, as Ann Friedman said, there are so many people who are wishing they had not yet read anything by her, so that they could have the joy of discovering her books for the first time once again. So really, I feel lucky! She just has such a beautiful and unique way of posing ideas and forming language into stories – every day a new sentence or passage strikes me, and today it was this:

It was lovely. Not to be stared at, not seen, but being bulled into view by the interested, uncritical eyes of the other. Having her hair examined as part of her self, not as material or a style. Having her lips, nose, chin caressed as they might be if she were a moss rose a gardener paused to admire.

From ‘Beloved’, by Toni Morrison

What an amazing way to write about being looked at!

My podcast subscription box has not changed very much over the past few months, but I wanted to mention an old favourite, ‘Call Your Girlfriend‘ (hence the reference to Ann Friedman above), which is a really smart, fiercely feminist, commentary between two women on social, political and personal issues. I also enjoy ‘The Cut podcast on Tuesdays‘, which always brings to light one of those ‘unseen’ news stories that get easily lost in today’s whirlpool of world news chaos. I am always looking for more podcast recommendations so please let me know if there are any that you have loved (although no true crime please!).

Health and Activity
As you may have seen by my last post (read here!), hiking is really one of my great loves, fueled even more so by living in Arizona. I’m no crazy hiking buff, and certainly not an expert, just love to do it! A few days ago, we went on a superb out and back trail in Picacho Peak State Park, and were very pleased to reach the summit – something I was nervous about as I get quite bad vertigo in some situations. We took the less popular Sunset Trail to the top, which was about 5.9 miles long altogether. For about 2 miles, not a lot happens, except that you get to wander through the beautiful desert landscape, surrounded by noble saguaros and many other kinds of cacti, and look out on the stunning vista. However in the last half a mile, there is a 1700 foot elevation gain – many places with just sheer vertical rock and cable lines to pull you up. I’m feeling pretty proud of myself for conquering this one. Our next hike will probably be Blackett’s Ridge in Sabino Canyon, and I can’t wait to tick this one off.

One other thing I wanted to mention here, is that I recently began meditating. I don’t want to say too much now as it is still relatively early days and not quite yet a real habit, but I have found an app that makes sense to me in a scientific and well-researched way, and that is most accessible for me to fit into my life. I have already noticed a difference when it comes to difficult or challenging situations but will talk more about it once I have a real firm case for it!

In The Works
It’s time to travel. I’ve got a few trips lined up in the coming months but I need something bigger, more of an adventure. I’m working on a trip at the end of the year, hopefully will have more to say about this in the next one!

I’ve also started (very late) to plan my marriage party, to take place later this year. You might know that Logan and I got married last year but haven’t celebrated it yet. There is so much to think about and it is hard to know exactly what one wants… I think I have found a beautiful, laid back place, outdoors (which will be gorgeous in the Tucson Fall), and am really excited to start sending out the message.

I have several of my own project-irons on the fire right now too, and I would be SO happy if in 2020 I could manage to get one or two really going. I’m getting close, and my aim is to spend a couple of hours a day when I can working on these. Sounds do-able. This post must hold me accountable!

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