Panoramic preview in Paleochora, Crete

Any mention of the Greek islands conjures up unforgettable images of clear blue skies, deep Mediterranean waters, and sunbathing on the sandy beaches. Half a lifetime later, I return to Greece once again, no longer alone but with a Dutch guitarist, an American photographer, and an American film maker to the largest of all Greek islands: Crete. Joining us from Belgium is a Norwegian artist, also curious and brave enough to make something creative in the one week we have together. The theme of this year’s project is WIND. What can you do with an acoustic classical guitar without amplification?

Advertisements

Any mention of the Greek islands conjures up unforgettable images of clear blue skies,  deep Mediterranean waters, and sunbathing on the sandy beaches. That was my memory of Mykonos, Naxos, and Corfu when I first ventured here as a college student.

Half a lifetime later, I return to Greece once again, no longer alone but with a Dutch guitarist, an American photographer, and an American film maker to the largest of all Greek islands: Crete. Joining us from Belgium is a Norwegian artist, also curious and brave enough to create something in the one week we have together for a possible exhibition in a museum in Brugges early next year.

Panoramic view from top of Paleochora Crete
Panoramic view from top of Paleochora Crete

Months ago when we as a duo first decided to participate in the Levka Ori project, we had sought in vain to find a venue with a piano in the ancient village of Paleochora, sometimes spelled Paleohora. Without it, any concert (if at all) would be solo guitar. And so I left my music behind in Utrecht but brought my laptop to record this journey and enjoy the last days of summer with the 2,000 inhabitants of this peninsular paradise.

On Saturday 22 August 2009, Fernand, the founder of the Levka Ori project in its 14th continuous year, introduced us to several high altitude areas in this southwestern part of Crete. We scaled various mountain tops to embrace the breathtaking panoramic views and test the acoustics only to be blown away by the strong and deafening Cretan wind. [For current conditions of temperature, wind direction and speed, check the real-time updates.]

The theme of this year’s project is WIND. What can you do with an acoustic classical guitar without amplification? We brainstormed numerous ideas: concert for guitar and wind, mosaic of guitar with wind, the wind playing the guitar, and fantasia for guitar with wind. While the other participants walked around the “Magnesia” site formulating their plans for the rest of the week, the guitarist walked from stone to stone, peak to peak, experimenting with his guitar and that fierce and unpredictable entity called the Cretan wind.

By late afternoon, we conceded that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to compete against the wind. We drove downhill and stopped at a lone Cretan church for a rest.

Cretan church above Paleochora, Crete
Cretan church above Paleochora, Crete

While inhaling the 360-degree view from this plateau, I heard the beautiful sound of solo guitar floating from the church. I posed for a memory and joined the others in the small white-washed building.

Anne Ku next to church above Paleochora, Crete
Anne Ku next to church above Paleochora, Crete

The romantic sound of nylon strings plucked against wood free from the wind welcomed us into that small space. Natural light acted as spot lights on the old mosaic floor. The guitarist stopped. He was only experimenting with chords and harmonics.

“Please play something I like,” I requested.

Outside the wind continued its roar. But inside the clean space of the Cretan church, I enjoyed a private concert of solo guitar.

Robert Bekkers in a Cretan church above Paleochora, Crete
Robert Bekkers in a Cretan church above Paleochora, Crete

William of Rotterdam

I told 7 year old William that we wanted to share our music and interesting stories with the world. His father said that he drew comic strips in his spare time. Trilingual in English, Dutch, and French, William is more likely to experience different points of view than someone who is monolingual.

I made good use of the three hour train journey from Paris to Rotterdam by changing and updating the Piano Guitar Duo concert page based on suggestions from a supportive reader. While at it, I also changed the blog page of the site.

As soon as the Thalys train crossed the border into the Netherlands, I called my friend who lives in Rotterdam but loves Paris. I couldn’t wait to tell him about my 4 days 5 nights in this incredible city.

He brought along young William, to whom I was introduced in March at the Effusion house concert in our Monument House Concert Series in Utrecht. William had begun piano lessons while the other young guest Riley had just begun violin lessons. It was good to see young people enjoy a concert of new music.

I told 7 year old William that we wanted to share our music and interesting stories with the world. Our photos don’t always do that. Neither does audio and video recorded music. This blog is meant to fill the gap.

But something is still missing.

The human touch of a hand drawn interpretation? With narrative?

His father said that he drew comic strips in his spare time. Trilingual in English, Dutch, and French, William is more likely to experience different points of view than someone who is monolingual. Perhaps he also sees the world differently.

Talking to young William, who has natural entrepreneurial tendencies, shed light on new ways of looking at piano and guitar. Youth offers the freedom of imagination that age has forgotten.

No sooner had I arrived in Utrecht, 40 minutes away, did I get an e-mail of a scanned copy of his first interpretation of our piano guitar duo (below). [Click on the image for the 800 x 600 version.]

First work for piano guitar duo by William of Rotterdam
First work for piano guitar duo by William of Rotterdam

Before I had time to react, he already churned out yet another.

Second work for piano guitar duo by William of Rotterdam
Second work for piano guitar duo by William of Rotterdam

Suppose he comes to one of our concerts, would he then draw differently? Would it fuel his wild imagination or stifle it? Are there more ingenious ways to react to a concert other than the obvious expressions and words?

Could William add to my collection of Music on Canvas in Paris?

I have asked several artists before him to draw our piano guitar duo.

William of Rotterdam, I shall call him, is the first to do so.

To-date, he is the only one to have done so.

ADDENDUM

I am told that William is 7 (not 8 as I had written yesterday). Checking the blog statistics, I’m pleasantly surprised to see it jump six-fold, i.e. twice the previous daily high reached. Obviously William has many fans, perhaps even more than we!

Music on canvas in Paris

I decided to see the Museum of Modern Art for the second time. Has anyone else written music about art? How about paintings about music or musicians or music instruments? Below are paintings of guitar, piano, violin, and music scores that I found in the modern art museum in the Pompidou Centre. Can anyone guess the painters?

Outside the George Pompidou Centre in Paris
Outside the George Pompidou Centre in Paris

By chance while signing the guestbook of the Brancusi sculpture exhibition yesterday, I noticed a ticket for the George Pompidou centre lying nearby. Somewhat had deliberately left it. I decided to see the Museum of Modern Art for the second time. On the way up the escalators, I couldn’t resist taking pictures and videos of Paris.

Why is this worth a blog?

I am a musician not a painter. Mussorgsky composed “Pictures at an Exhibition.” Has anyone else written music about art?

How about paintings about music or musicians or music instruments?

Below are paintings of guitar, piano, violin, and music scores that I found in the modern art museum in the Pompidou Centre. Can anyone guess the painters? Help me put the correct title and painter to each of these untitled images.

First an abstract of a guitar on a table.

Title 0
Title 0

And then you see the guitar….

Title 1

And the guitarist….

Title 2
Title 2

Probably the most famous painter ever:

Title 3
Title 3

More guitar paintings….

Title 4
Title 4

And this

Title 5
Title 5

Still more guitars…

Title 6
Title 6

Enough guitars! How about sheet music?

Title 7
Title 7

And another….

Title 8
Title 8

Don’t forget the piano!

Title 9
Title 9

Or the violin!

Title 10
Title 10

….and the violinist!

Title 12
Title 11

Finally a painting in pure blue that reflects the photographer and blogger! C’est moi! Merci beaucoup!

Title 12
Title 12

Paris in one day

Returning to Paris brought back many memories of previous visits. I was not the insatiable culture vulture I am now. With aching feet and suntanned backs, we made our way back to the Marais district.

My Finnish friend, who has sightread piano music with me in London, Mannheim, and Bussum since 1993 when we first met, showed me the clavinova he’s renting during his six month sabbatical in Paris.

“Had I known you’ve got a piano here, I would have brought some 4-hand duet music!” I exclaimed with regret. How could I not have guessed that he could not do without his piano?

His one bedroom, 48 square metre apartment sits on the 5th floor in the Marais (4th arrondissement). There is no lift but rather a painful 94 nontrivial steps to climb to what-is-equivalent of the 6th floor in the USA.

The 94 non-trivial steps to the 5th floor flat in Paris
The 94 non-trivial steps to the 5th floor flat in Paris

“That’s why Parisian women look so good,” mused Robert the Dutch guitarist. “They have to climb a lot of stairs.”

Right this moment (Sunday 16 August 2009) I am struggling to capture the incredible action-packed day since our arrival on Friday night into Gare du Nord. While Robert and my friend are running 12 km on this Sunday morning, I am sitting on a small wooden stool facing the balcony. The distant bells of the Notre Dame chime of noon. My stomach cries for sushi.

Returning to Paris brought back many memories of previous visits.

“I came here for a job interview on a sizzling hot day in 1995,” I reflected yesterday. “I’m pretty sure it was in August. The company was located in that part of Paris famous for Japanese restaurants. Maybe it was here. There are so many sushi places in the Marais.”

“Why didn’t you take the job?” Robert had asked.

“I would have been an energy economist if I had. I didn’t like the high taxes I’d have to pay as a single woman.” It seemed a lame excuse for rejecting Paris.

I had brought my father here in 1998. I was not the insatiable culture vulture I am now. Notre Dame. Fruit de la mer. The Louvre. China town. That was about it. He had injured his foot and couldn’t walk far. But I did visit my Korean/German friend, who has been living here since. I will see her Tuesday for lunch in the 8th arrondissement where she works.

The Notre Dame in Paris: cleaner and whiter than ever!
The Notre Dame in Paris: cleaner and whiter than ever!

Yesterday my Finnish friend led us on a walk to Place des Vosges, the oldest and most perfect square in Paris. According to my “Paris for free (or extremely cheap” guidebook, it set the model for urban construction throughout Europe. We walked diagonally across the park toward a jazz trio playing outside one of the art galleries.

There was simply too much to see, even after traversing the 20 rooms in the Picasso museum. We were overwhelmed by the enormous output of Pablo Picasso in his life time. A staff member told us that there was more in reserve, i.e. in storage, than on display. The museum was closing for two years at the end of the month for refurbishment, and the displays would go on tour, starting in Helsinki.

We were told that Pablo Picasso had five official wives and countless number of mistresses and affairs. You could say he was a chaud lapin— a hot rabbit — a womaniser. My guidebook mentioned that the museum contained that largest collection of Picasso’s art in one museum. Apparently his art was given to the French government in lieu of death duty payments, after a long court battle with his heirs.

After a light lunch on the pavement of one of many restaurants near his home, my Finnish friend suggested that we have a picnic in the evening on the banks of the Seine.

The spot where we would have our evening picnic later on Isle St Louis
The spot where we would have our evening picnic later on I'sle St Louis

The day grew hotter as we walked along the “strand” along the River Seine. This was a sandy area for pedestrians and cyclists only. Under each bridge staged a different act, from a clown making animal balloons for kids to an operatic high soprano drawing crowds for the “Queen of the Night.” It felt like carnival on the beach, except it was in the centre of Paris.

Beach in central Paris: the Strand on the Seine River
Beach in central Paris: the Strand on the Seine River

We made way to the Museum of Modern Art in the Pompidou Centre. Strange that I had never been inside, after numerous visits to Paris. The escalators offered a brilliant panoramic view of Paris as we ascended to rooftop level. What awaited us in the three remaining hours of the day inspired us beyond imagination. This was possibly the biggest collection of modern art we had ever seen. If only we could do this for modern music! People flock to see modern art but why not modern music?

The view from the George Pompidou Centre in Paris
The view from the George Pompidou Centre in Paris

With aching feet and sun soaked arms and legs, we crawled back to Le Marais district. The live band at Hotel de Ville was still pounding away, threatening to boycott our plans of having Robert play guitar under a bridge (without amplification).

Hotel de Ville in Paris
Hotel de Ville in Paris

Nonetheless we had the bottle of 2007 Shiraz from South Africa (that we got from our concert in Rotterdam the previous day) and some very very old Dutch farmer’s cheese waiting to be consumed. Just add some qualite superiore sausages and fresh salad from the local grocery store, and we’re off to join the rest of the young generation on the banks of the Seine.

The marathon to Paris

“Are you musicians?” he asked, pointing to Robert’s black guitar case.

“Yes! In fact we are on our way to Rotterdam to give a concert. And then we’ll go to Paris from there.”

After getting comfortable on the intercity train from Utrecht to Rotterdam, I noticed the T-shirt of the man sitting across from us. It said something like

Swiss marathon: 350 km from Geneva to Basel

I motioned to guitarist Robert Bekkers next to me. He was looking out the window when I got his attention.

A half-marathon is 21 km. A full one is 42 km. But 350 km? How many marathons is that?

“Did you actually run 350 km?” I blurted out.

“Excuse me?” the dark-haired man in his early 50’s awoke from a reverie. “Oh!” he pointed to his T-shirt. “You mean this? It was 7 days in the Swiss alps.”

“But that’s 50 km a day! Still more than a marathon!” I exclaimed.

Robert began talking to him in Dutch.

The man looked like a long distance runner, with a lean and subdued body of zero percent fat. He explained that it was a small marathon consisting of 50 runners who woke up at 7 am every day and ran until 3 pm with an average speed of 8 km per hour. It’s important to keep a steady tempo because of the long distance and the mountains.

I asked if he had run in the Bordeaux.

“Medoc!” He knew the marathon. “No, I don’t like wine,” he replied in English.

I continued in Dutch. “Our running club coach in Bussum told us it’s the most amazing and sought-after costumed marathon with the best wines, champagne and oyster. He said he could get us in. But we never made it past the half-marathon. I’ve done 5k and 10k only.”

“That’s pretty good,” he said in English.

I pointed to Robert. “He has run several half-marathons but his body is more like that of a sprinter.”

“Yours too,” he said in English.

“Are you not Dutch?” I asked after his insistence upon speaking English.

“No, I’m French.” A Frenchman who does not like wine? Now that’s a curiosity.

“Oh! We’re going to Paris today. My Finnish friend is taking his sabbatical there. He just started running a year ago and already he’s won a silver medal. Robert is going to run with him.”

The Frenchman revealed that he ran for the scenery and atmosphere, not for competition. He said that the hardest moment was the second day. We agreed that once you get over the hard part, it was plain sailing.

“It’s asymmetric,” I drew a graph in the air.

“Are you musicians?” he asked, pointing to Robert’s black guitar case.

“Yes! In fact we are on our way to Rotterdam to give a piano guitar duo concert. And then we’ll go to Paris from there.”

“I am also a musician,” he smiled and waved his right hand. “I’m a conductor and a singer. I conduct seven choirs.”

“Really? What a small world! I graduated from conservatory last year.” I began enthusiastically to tell him about the two choral pieces in my second chamber opera “Culture Shock!”

“I got my friend Nicky, the alto soloist playing the part of the foreigner, to write down what the Dutch train conductors said on the train. I then used those words in the libretto.”

“Dames en heren! U kunt hier overstappen….” I sang.

The French conductor chuckled.

“You wrote the libretto yourself?” He was impressed. “Have you ever thought about writing an opera about a marathon?”

“No, I haven’t,” I pondered. “I like to work with musicians and singers to develop a composition. But that’s an interesting idea.”

I could almost hear his brain switch into dream mode. “The choir will wear shorts and run and pant. Hoo, hoo, haa, haa!”

Robert laughed. I giggled at the thought of a choir doing a marathon on stage. We exchanged email addresses and promised we’d explore the possibilities.

The train was getting close to central Rotterdam station.

“What will you do in Paris?” he asked.

“I wish we could give a concert. We want to perform wherever we go,” I said.

“You can play under the bridge,” he pointed to Robert’s guitar.

“Which bridge?”

“Any bridge. It’s beautiful.” He meant that Robert could busk under any bridge and collect money for it.

“I should have brought something sexy to wear,” I mused, imagining my role in getting the onlookers to donate their coins.

“No need. Don’t wear anything.”

It took me a second before I understood what he meant.

He was French after all.

Risks in concert performances

One way to control risk is to reduce the number of moving parts. This year we decided to stick to one programme with minor alterations, unlike the previous year of changing programmes every month and nearly custom-tailoring to every venue and occasion. As a pianist, I feel more prepared if I know what kind of piano to expect.

The uncertainties we encounter as performers translate to the risks we face and manage on the spot. Before arriving at the venue, we have no idea how we will sound and how the audience will respond to our music. Getting to the venue poses other uncertainties, particularly if the journey is susceptible to traffic congestion and delays.

Musicians who bring their own instruments have one less uncertainty to worry about compared to those who rely on the instruments provided. By this token, pianists have to get used to a lot. Other surprises have to do with room acoustics, audience, and technical adequacy.

One way to control risk is to reduce the number of moving parts. This year we decided to stick to one programme with minor alterations, unlike the previous year of changing programmes every month and nearly custom-tailoring to every venue and occasion. By restricting ourselves to a fixed set of duo works, we were able to focus on the way we play together rather than tackling each piece individually.

As a pianist, I feel more prepared if I know what kind of piano to expect. The top models such as Steinway, Bechstein, and Borsendorfer grand pianos give me confidence that I don’t have to exert extra effort to “control” the instrument. An unknown name or an upright piano gives me an added worry that I’d have to get used to how it sounds, whether I’m able to play repeated notes, if I will need extra pedal control, if it would go out of tune, and how I should sit so that I can still see and hear the guitarist.

Recently I played on a Steinbeck upright. The name rings a bell. It sounds like Steinway — could it be a relative?

Steinbeck upright piano in Deventer
Steinbeck upright piano in Deventer

The guitarist observed that it was Bechstein in reverse. That’s why it sounds so familiar!

Unfortunately the piano did not behave like either a Steinway or a Bechstein. It was not evenly tuned, making it difficult to play with another instrument in this chamber music setting. Worse, it got progressively out of tune the more I played.

Pianists have a prejudice when it comes to their instrument. Grand pianos look and sound better than uprights in general. The well-known models are more predictable (and reliable) than the unknown ones. Uprights are usually used for rehearsals and not considered instruments for solo or chamber music performance. Equally black is favoured over brown.

Unlike the pianist, the guitarist, who always faces the audience, feels the full impact of audience attention and reaction. Restlessness, movement, and noise can unnerve a performer’s concentration. With my side or back facing the audience, I can choose to ignore such distractions more easily than the guitarist who is more exposed.

“All that glitters is not gold.”

The stage in Amsterdam viewed from the back
The stage in Amsterdam viewed from the back

We thought it would be a good concert this afternoon in Amsterdam when we saw the Yamaha grand piano and raised stage. After we sat down to warm up, we noticed that only the treble notes of the piano were resonating. The bass notes drowned almost as soon as they were played.

The guitarist gestured to sit more closely together. He pointed to the floor to ceiling and wall-to-wall glass windows and doors. We were surrounded by glass on three sides. The low system ceilings further dampened the sound.

It was an acoustically challenging situation, not helped by the piano feeling rather new. The action did not allow me to play fast runs or repeated notes.

“We’ll have to take it easy,” he said. “Slower tempos.”

The one hour concert (without intermission) was further exacerbated by the restless audience. Ten minutes before the end, we heard the foot steps of a staff member wheeling a resident out the door. It was so loud that it sounded like a third instrument, only off stage.

We took our bows and walked quickly to the windowless dressing room on the side of the stage. We were exhausted from having to cope with elements incompatible with what we had hoped for.

Robert Bekkers, guitarist, in the dressing room after an exhausting concert
Robert Bekkers, guitarist, in the dressing room after an exhausting concert

“Come on,” I urged. “Let’s get out of here.”

“I don’t think they’re used to classical concerts,” he concluded. “You have to arrange the opera overtures for our duo quickly. Those are the tunes they’ll recognise.”

We had forgotten that there is risk in the repertoire. Most of the composers and works for piano guitar duo are unfamiliar to most audiences. Perhaps more familiar works or composers would reduce the uncertainty in audience reaction.

I leaned against the doorway and agreed. It’s about time we focus on getting a CD to send to those venues equipped with grand pianos and good acoustics, those that attract attentive audiences who would appreciate our music.

Anne Ku, pianist, at the end of a concert
Anne Ku, pianist, at the end of a concert

House concerts in the Netherlands, Madrid, Houston, etc

The late composer pianist Robert Avalon first introduced the term “home concerts” to me on one of my frequent trips to Houston where he was based. I languished in the triangular logic of “home is where the heart is” and “music is the food of love” and therefore “home concerts” or “house concerts.” It made total sense.

A journalist for a popular monthly magazine in Amsterdam called me an hour ago to enquire about house concerts. It’s a subject I’d like to write about, having personally experienced them in London, North Wales, Birmingham, Houston, Bussum, Utrecht, and Amsterdam.

I should clarify that initially I organised and produced house concerts in London so that I could perform in them. It evolved into a mechanism to play chamber music with interesting musicians that I was meeting in my travels. I’ve also attended concerts in beautiful homes in Houston, Amsterdam, and Utrecht. Nowadays I prefer to perform and leave the organising to house concert producers.

The late composer pianist Robert Avalon first introduced the term “home concerts” to me on one of my frequent trips to Houston where he was based. I languished in the triangular logic of “home is where the heart is” and “music is the food of love” and therefore “home concerts” or “house concerts.” It made total sense.

Robert Avalon and Anne Ku improvising piano duets in Houston
Robert Avalon and Anne Ku improvising piano duets in Houston

After performing in difficult situations, such as against the rattling of refrigerators and restlessness of audiences not familiar with the classical concert circuit, I longed for the silence and stillness of dedicated house concert audiences. They pay anywhere between 8 euros (Funen Concerts Art Productions, Amsterdam) to 15 euros (on average) and up, even voluntary contributions for a house concert that could include refreshments or more.

Our Monument House Concert Series, which hosts concerts twice a year in our home, began as a vehicle to share our music and our musician friends with our neighbours and the local community in 2006. It was also a way to introduce new repertoire, such as Robert Bekkers’ solo guitar programme in the 2007 Kitchen Concert in our newly renovated kitchen.

Kitchen Concert, Monument House Concert Series Utrecht
Kitchen Concert, Monument House Concert Series Utrecht

I am lucky to be on the mailing of a house concert series in prestigious Keizersgracht in Amsterdam, where I’ve once turned pages to experience it first-hand. The photographer-turned-impresario stores four grand pianos for musicians that allow them to be used in his ground floor flat which accommodates up to 80 people.

We gave our most recent contemporary duo concert in a house concert series in Funen Park Amsterdam. The owners Bart and Erik run their fortnightly Sunday afternoon concert series and art gallery out of their modern one-bedroom apartment. This deserves a separate blog entry.

Piano Guitar Duo in Funen Arts Concert Series Amsterdam, July 2009
Piano Guitar Duo in Funen Arts Concert Series Amsterdam, July 2009

Earlier in May, we gave a concert in a beautiful villa on the edge of Madrid — another forthcoming blog to write.

Piano Guitar Duo at El Jardin de Belagua in Madrid
Piano Guitar Duo at El Jardin de Belagua in Madrid

On 26 September 2009, we will give a mixed concert in a new house concert series in Amsterdam. In the first weekend in October, we will organise a classical guitar concert in our Monument House Concert Series, the previous one being a cross-domain event of contemporary piano duets with live video in March (pictured below).

Effusion of new works for piano duet against video, Monument House Concert
Effusion of new works for piano duet against video, Monument House Concert

What is so special about house concerts? For musicians, we get the opportunity to play to an attentive audience who are true connoisseurs of our music. It also allows us to “practise” before an important audition, a competition or a bigger concert, such as a high profile venue.

For the audience, it’s a rare occasion to go into someone’s private dwelling and enjoy live music in an intimate and relaxed setting.

Once you’ve experienced a house concert, you would think twice about going to a big hall, sit among strangers, and leave as soon as the music is over. We encourage our house concert guests to linger and get to know the performers and members of the audience.

While house concerts are a big and necessary part of the Americana singer-songwriter movement in the USA and Canada, it is not so well advertised (if at all) for classical music. Ironically in the 19th century, chamber music was performed in such house concerts where often performers played their own compositions. We tell the story of the Ducaten concerts of Johann Nepomuk Hummel and Mauro Giuliani where you pay one “ducat” to attend. But how many composers perform their own works today?

What do the organisers get out of producing house concerts? We put on three consecutive concerts in the space of two days in November 2007 to raise funding for our first trip to the USA (pictured below). For us, a mailing list and a large network of classical aficionados helped make it a joy to organise. Each concert was unique. In the following month, we gave two house concerts in Houston, the first in a 10,000 sq. ft designer home of architects in Memorial Park and the second in the town house of an investment banker in Montrose.

Piano Guitar Duo for Export House Concert Utrecht
Piano Guitar Duo for Export House Concert Utrecht

I told the journalist that producing house concerts isn’t profitable unless you do it on a regular (frequent) basis. “It barely breaks even for us,” I said. “We don’t charge our time or that of our volunteers. We have often included home-cooked food and a variety of refreshments. It’s time-consuming and interruptive to our daily routine, for we have to move the furniture and give up our rehearsal space.”

“So why organise house concerts?” she asked.

“It has to be for the love of music and a desire to share.”

I neglected to mention that the garden house (designed by Robert Bekkers in 2007 and finished in 2009) is our new venue for extremely intimate house concerts. Below is a video tour taken just before the celebrated violin guitar duo of Matt and Beth arrived from Italy to stay for a week. Duo46 had opened our first concert in summer 2006 with “Music of the Americas.”

We will be hosting the Cape Town classical guitarist Derek Gripper at the end of September next. Watch this space.