Musical highlights of my trip


My brother and sister in law treated me to a concert with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. John Adams, the composer of the fabulous little piece I still dance, which he’d written for MTT and his husband, was in the audience. Daniil Trifonov gave a great performance of Rachmaninov’s 4th Piano Concerto, which I’d never heard live before.

Finding two pieces of printed music I’ve wanted to get hold of for years for a ridiculously small price in a strange looking music shop in Mountainview, Silicon Valley, California

New Zealand:

The Maori concert

Playing Fritz Kreisler Praeludium und Allegro with the owner of Te Anau Lodge where we stayed for just one night


The relaxing just-at-the-right-volume jazz at the St Kilda pier café, perfect accompaniment to journalling and watching the little moored boats bobbing about in the sun with the cityscape in the distance.


The music from a funeral procession as it passed through a village I was cycling through


Penang House of Music – a kind of interactive museum telling the history of Penang entirely in musical terms. It was brilliant! I hadn’t appreciated how important jazz was in colonial and post colonial Penang until I experienced this. During the Japanese occupation, musicians were imprisoned, tortured and some were killed. They weren’t allowed to play any western music. So some of the musicians continued to play the jazz they’d learnt and loved, but just sang the words in Malay and claimed it was traditional Malay music. They got away with it. Just.

The pre recorded Buddhist chanting at Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang

Listening to Mozart mass in C on the coach… especially the “Et incarnatus est”, which I love


Jazz concert celebrating the relationship between Singapore and the UK.

Playing Shiv and Jamie’s amazing Kawai piano. Ooooh I did enjoy that. A lot!


Finding a music shop in Zürich approximately one hour after landing in the country, and finding a jazz CD I wanted to buy there.

Singing with the Riehen convent choir and meeting Jessica Horsley, who is surely bound for fame.

It’s time for these female conductors to be heard and seen. In the still very male dominated music industry, they shine like stars. Jessica coordinates a festival of music by female composers in Switzerland every couple years.

In the past year, I’ve sung some beautiful works by women that I had never heard of before (extraordinary as I’ve been singing in choirs since I was about 7 years old, and I did a music degree as well!).

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