How is your summer going?
Since our last newsletter in March we’ve performed 11 concerts in the UK, Italy, and France, and are excited to share our news with you!
Handel in May
In May we took our new Handel programme to St George’s Church, Southwark and to the Foundling Museum in London, where we had been asked to present a programme inspired by the museum’s current exhibition on Handel’s opera Giulio Cesare. We paired up two trio sonatas with an arrangement of the overture to this opera, alongside some improvisations from 18th century London and a recorder sonata and violin sonata by Handel.
Back to Oxford…and our first trip to Pavia!
As a trio, Fatima, Florence and Johan performed a new programme of music by Antonio Vivaldi and improvisations first at St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church in Oxford, where we played our first concert as a quartet last year!
Then we flew to Pavia, Italy, for Ghislierimusica’s Barocco Fuori festival. It was Improviso’s first time performing in Italy, and we had a wonderful time at this unusual and engaging festival staged outside all over the town!
Having started June in Italy, we came back to London and performed 4 more concerts throughout the month in London, Oxford, and Harwich.
First stop was the Chelsea and Westminster hospital, where we were pleased to have the opportunity of playing as part of their lunchtime concert series, and later to visit and play on the older people’s wards and children’s wards.
That evening we also played at the Stroud Green Festival’s Winner’s concert having been selected for the festival’s new ensemble scheme, which will entail a concert in the 2019 festival and a year of mentoring and support.
In Oxford it was a huge delight to perform our ‘Badinage’ programme at St John the Evangelist, as part of the SJE Arts Next Generation series. We had a lot of fun with Couperin, Leclair, and English and Spanish improvisations, and also met up with the French composer Alain Goudard with whom we would work in France later on in July.
Finally, we returned to the Harwich Festival where in fact we had all played as members of the RCM Baroque orchestra in 2015! It was an immense joy to present an evening programme including two big French works: François Couperin’s ‘L’Espagnole’ from Les Nations and Jean-Marie Leclair’s Deuxieme Recreation de Musique.
EEEmerging residency: Ambronay
We’ve just returned from 11 days at the Centre Culturel de rencontre d’Ambronay in France, where we had our first residency on the EEEmerging (Emerging European Ensembles) scheme. It was a truly wonderful period for us and a fantastic opportunity to work intensely together as a quartet. The residency started with a photoshoot with the photographer Bertrand Pichene, and some time working on a community music project with Alain Goudard. This ‘Graffiti’ project involved blank sheets of music paper left around Ambronay for members of the local community to draw, write, or compose on. Our job was then to improvise a piece/pieces on what we saw on the sheets!
We also had training sessions with Catherine Jabaly and Pierre Bornachot on communication and booking matters as an ensemble, and an afternoon workshop on posture with Xavier Mallamaci.
We were also really privileged to have coaching sessions with Ashley Solomon, in which we worked on J.S. Bach’s Organ Trio Sonata BWV 529, Dario Castello’s Sonata Duodecima, and on aspects of space and staging in improvisation. This was a real highlight of the residency for us and has given us so much to think about and work on!
While in Ambronay we also did an open rehearsal for children, and got to perform in one of the centre’s Impromptu concerts, to a wonderfully enthusiastic audience! It was such a delight to be in residence at Ambronay and we can’t wait to go back and play in the Festival d’Ambronay at the end of September.
What’s coming up in August…
We’ve been selected for the International van Wassaener Competition in the Utrecht Early Music Festival, where we’ll be performing in the semifinals on August 30th at 14:25!
If you’re based in London you can still support us - come and hear our programme the day before at St James’s Piccadilly on August 29th at 1:05pm!