Performing at the West Cork Festival in Ireland

Some time ago I was delighted to get an email from the West Cork Chamber Music Festival inviting me to come perform this July. I didn’t know anyone there yet and hadn’t been to that part of Ireland before. It was a great joy to visit, to make some new friends and colleagues, and to connect with a new and wonderful audience.

I played six pieces on concerts spread throughout the week, and went to as many of the festival’s fantastic events as I had time for. I also did a video interview  and gave a masterclass, in which I coached a promising young Irish group on the Prokofiev String Quartet No. 1.

I was especially gratified to get such a spontaneously excited reception from so many people to my playing there of the Six Caprices by Salvatore Sciarrino and of a world premiere solo piece by gifted Irish composer Sam Perkin. I played these on the first two concerts of the festival and, right afterward and the rest of the week, I received warm and delighted feedback from people who’d been there, it was just wonderful. Some of my most satisfying concert interactions recently have been performing new/recent music for audiences who were not necessarily looking to hear new pieces or new musical languages. For me it just confirms my gift and purpose to communicate on my instrument – to all kinds of people – how very enjoyable, beautiful, interesting and multi-dimensional new music can be. 

It was a lot of fun to be part of performances of Sextets by Penderecki and Brahms with such terrific players. I had not played much of Penderecki’s music and, in addition to the brilliant Sextet, I also got to play his Sonata No. 2 with Finnish pianist Joonas Ahonen. Joonas and I had a great time and we worked to make dramatic shape of the piece during our rehearsal process. After our performance, someone came backstage and said that she’s a musicologist who has done work on Penderecki’s music and that she had never heard the piece played so great!

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