Category Archives: Cello

Cello Dreaming

My next solo concert is at the Holywell Music Room in Oxford on Sunday 27th September at 4pm. I will be performing with pianist Alan MacLean. Tickets will be sold at the door: £10, £7 concession, £20 family.

The music I have chosen is very personal to me, including some Fauré short pieces: Romance, Après un Rêve, and Papillon; Saint-Saëns’ The Swan; the Sonata for Cello and Piano by Debussy; as well as Australian music by composers Peter Sculthorpe and Carl Vine. I will also be performing the cello solo from Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time: Louange à l’éternité de Jésus.

I have called the concert ‘Cello Dreaming’, as the music explores aspects of fantasy, dreams, and the inner life, from the Aboriginal ‘dreamtime’ to French romanticism.

For more information, please view the event listing on

Draft Hollywell poster with Alan Maclean photo

Rachmaninov and Daniil Trifonov

Daniil Trifonov gave a great performance today of Rachmaninov ‘ s Piano Concerto no.3 with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Vladimir Askenazy in the Royal Festival Hall. Wonderful to be part of this performance.

Strauss, Metamorphosen for 23 Solo Strings

In Chelmsford tonight playing with the Philharmonia strings in Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen for 23 Solo Strings.  It is powerful, germanic music, written towards the end of World War II.  Strauss was in his 80s and mourning the terrible destruction of the war around him.


Chelmsford Civic Theatre

Souvenir de Florence


The Courtyard, Hereford

Last night’s concert with the Philharmonia included Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence in a version for string orchestra, at The Courtyard, Hereford. I absolutely love the music and the full, luscious sound of the string section really works for this piece.


Papa Jo Jones drum solo:

I was shown this clip of Papa Jo Jones today in my lesson with Pedro de Alcantara. This is footage of a musician totally relaxed with himself, joyously at one with the music.

Pedro de Alcantara is a multi-talented cellist, composer, author, Alexander technique specialist. See his website for more details:

It must be at least 15 years since I had a cello ‘lesson’ as such, so it was interesting to experience again the pressure of potential criticism at close quarters.

What I have taken away from this lesson is a challenge to free my head and neck from the ‘tyranny’ of watching my fingers as I play. The youtube clip shows Jo Jones with an open and free posture and he never bends to look at the mechanics of what he is doing. He is relaxed and having fun with his music.

Something fascinating to me is that the actual sound changes with excess tension in the neck. The string doesn’t respond as well, producing a thin, nasal tone. In the course of the lesson, when some tension had dissipated and my head felt free, I finally found this fuller, warmer sound that I want.

Thank you Pedro for a wonderful lesson and for your patience with my nervousness.