Variations! Back by popular demand

After the great success of the original “Variations” project four years ago, Stratford-upon-Avon College have asked me to collaborate with them once more in Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s “Variations on a theme of Paginini” for Cello and Rock Band.  In January, the rock band (consisting of students from Stratford College) and myself will perform the original 1978 album version of Lloyd-Webber’s progressive rock classic in four concerts.  The college media department will also be filming the events.


It has been brilliant working with the students who have such infectious enthusiasm for the piece, bringing new energy and ideas.  The concerts will also include a student vocal group and arrangements for cello and piano of Elgar – Nimrod from Enigma Variations, Bach – Goldberg Variations and Trio by Lou Harrison; all of which illustrate the variations idea.  These pieces will be performed with Chris Long on piano who is music lecturer at the college and responsible for putting the whole project together.

Stringfellow Cartel make a welcome return

Stringfellow Cartel

Throughout the nineties, myself and violinist James Dickenson were members of the infamous “Stringfellow Cartel”.  Almost a decade later we are planning an exciting come back tour for next season, performing Brahms – Double Concerto.  We already have one date confirmed with Richard Laing conducting the Leamington Chamber Orchestra.  We will also be performing and rehearsing the piece with conductors and tutor Michael Rose in one of the Olney Conducting Workshops

Spirituoso invited to be Resident Ensemble at Handel House until the end of 2010

It has been such an exciting journey over the past few months for Spirituoso.  After appearing at the Dublin Handel Festival, we were featured in the Arts 21 documentary “Handel Fever” made by television company Deutsche Welle.

There followed an amazing summer of concerts including performances at the Academia de Musica Antiga de Lisbon and St. Celia’s Hall in the Edinburgh Fringe.  Lisbon was brilliant and awarded us the opportunity to consolidate and rehearse intensively for the best part of a week.  We stayed in the inspirational Convento de Cristo in Tomar, it was amazing to live and work in such beautiful and spiritual surroundings.

Publicity Shot

We have been building a fantastic audience for our concert series at Handel House, performing a mixture of recitals, family concerts and dance workshops.  Our residency offers some really exciting projects for the year to come, including a composition scheme in partnership with Sound and Music.  The scheme involves four shortlisted composers who will each create a new work for Spirituoso to perform as part of Handel House’s 2010 concert programme.  The chosen composers are Richard Bullen, Ophir Ilzetzki, Yuko Ohara and Nina Whiteman.  An introductory workshop was held for the composers in November, where we performed and demonstrated our instruments.  The session was facilitated by Handel House’s Composer-in-Residence Duncan Macleod.


Cellist at Large