Busy, Busy, Busy…

After arriving back from China the RLPO were having a well earned rest from the 8th to 22nd October. Not for me, however. They say there is no rest for the wicked, after all!

Good to get home to give this guy some fuss!

Good to get home to give this guy some fuss!

The day after arriving back I had to forget all about any thoughts of jet lag and get myself from home in Liverpool to Oxford to take part in the Oxford Contemporary Music Festival. The work I would be playing was part of on ongoing UK tour celebrating the work of pioneering electronica composer Delia Derbyshire.unnamed-20

I would be joining the ‘Delia Darlings’ to play a piece by international award winning composer Ailis Ni Riain. Ailis, for whom I have given several world premieres had written a very exciting but extremely challenging work for solo trumpet and acoustic double bass called ‘The Consequences of Falling’ commissioned by the Arts Council of england two years ago. Geth Griffiths (double bass) and I have been touring with this piece ever since.

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My simple rail journey from Liverpool to Oxford and back required 10 tickets in total. Amazing really for such a simple trip. Our sound and lighting check/rehearsal was due to take place at 4pm. I boarded my train around midday without problems. I changed at Birmingham New Street with three minutes to spare. The destination board said my train to Oxford was waiting at platform 10A. I raced down there; shouted to the guard, Oxford?!’ She said yes. I boarded, the train set off. The guard came down immediately and checked my ticket. Off she went. By the time the train arrived at Cheltenham Spa, I thought ‘unusual but the train must be doing a wide circuit to Oxford’. By the time the train arrived in Wales at Chepstow, I smelt a rat and raced down to the guard compartment in a blind panic. She thought I was going to change somewhere for Oxford and realised she had been wrong because my ticket didn’t allow for a change!

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More Trombone Humour!

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Tonights Office!

This evening, Ruth and I from the RLPO played to a packed house at the spectacular 'Sefton Park 'Palm House.  The Liverpool Gin Festival, hosted impeccably by Liverpool Distillery Ltd. Fabulous!

This evening, Ruth and I from the RLPO played to a packed house at the spectacular ‘Sefton Park ‘Palm House. The Liverpool Gin Festival, hosted impeccably by Liverpool Distillery Ltd. Fabulous!

Sometimes some work comes along which makes it all such a pleasure! This evening, Ruth Davies and myself, from the RLPO went along to the Palm House in Sefton Park, Liverpool to play some classical stuff for Liverpool Distillery’s ‘Gin Party in the Palm House’. Continue reading

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Why Take Up Playing A Musical Instrument At School?

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RLPO Claissic fm At The RAH – 24/9/2014

In between our recent visit to Ireland and the even more recent extensive tour of China, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra played at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The occasion was for our great supporters Classic fm. The RLPO were the first orchestra in the UK to have a branding association with Britain’s favourite classical music station.unnamed-5Classic fm regularly take us to London to play at their sell out concerts and often record our concerts in Liverpool for broadcasts. The also sponsor many of our concerts and Liverpool Philharmonic Hall even have a Classic fm series of concerts.unnamed-8We regularly have our more popular concerts presented by Classic fm’s star line up of presenters. Not just in Liverpool but all around the UK.unnamed-7One of Classic fm’s most famous and popular presenters, John Suchet, has become a particularly close friend of the RLPO Brass Section and even takes trombone lessons with Simon Cowen, the RLPO Trombone Section Leader.unnamed-10John has been practicing very hard of late and has now begun to join the RLPO Brass Section in some performances. Here are my exclusive photos of John joining us for the Shostakovich ‘Festive Overture’ on his trombone before he goes to the front of the stage to impeccably announce the programme items.unnamed-11John also plays with some of the RLPO brass at Xmas time as they play in pubs to convey some Xmas spirit to the public!unnamed-12Well done John!

2nd Trumpet Paul Marsden limbering up...

2nd Trumpet Paul Marsden limbering up…

Principal Percussion Graham Johns looking blue on the drums!

Principal Percussion Graham Johns looking blue on the drums!

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Backstage at the RAH

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The packed out house for our Classic fm spectacular

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The RAH at concert time

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RLPO – China Tour 2014- 1 – Guangzhou

Liverpool Philharmonic Hall is currently closed for a major rebuilding and refurbishment programme. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra are therefore playing in a large variety of venues elsewhere as a result. Quite apart from playing in Dublinrecently, visiting London twice (The BBC Proms and for a Classic fm Spectacular – both at the Royal Albert Hall), Malvern, Perth  and two performances at the Cardiff Proms, we are busier than ever. As it happens, the RLPO often tours internationally at this time of year. This year we are off to China to visit six major cities along the East Coast of that huge country.

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The orchestra is, of course, no stranger to China, having recently visited in 2010. That year saw us play at the World Expo, plus three other concerts in Shanghai and two further performances in Beijing. The performance at the World Expo was of particular relevance for us as Liverpool was represented there, and the RLPO performed one performance in that pavilion, with The Scaffold, Six Toys and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark.

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RLPO – China Tour 2014 – 2 – Concerts In Shenzen and Gaungzhou

unnamedAfter a free evening for all in Guanzhou, it was bright early for breakfast at the hotel and a whole symphony orchestra outside on the street, awaiting the arrival of three buses to take us to Shenzen. Shenzen is about 123 km/ 85 miles to the East of Guangzhou and is one of the economic miracles of the world, just to the north of Hong Kong.The area became China’s first—and one of the most successful—Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Shenzhen has a population of approximately 15 million.

The tour lorry doing the get in at the brand new Nanshan concert hall in Shenzen

The tour lorry doing the get in at the brand new Nanshan concert hall in Shenzen

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RLPO – China Tour 2014 – 3 – Suzhou

Jools Mottram just saying goodbye to the workers at our favourite Guangzhou eaterie prior to catching the coach for the next leg of our journey

Jools Mottram just saying goodbye to the workers at our favourite Guangzhou eaterie prior to catching the coach for the next leg of our journey

After the rather leisurely pace of the last three days in Guangzhou, it felt like a rude awakening to wake up to have all cases and passports ready by 8.30am in the hotel lobby! We departed Guangzhou for Suzhou. I was quite looking forward to this leg of the tour. I had discovered that Guangzhou is known as the place for food in China, Suzhou is called the Venice of the Orient. This portion of the tour was half way up the East coast of China. The two cities we would be performing in, Suzhou and Nianjing, were relatively just inland from Shanghai.

RLPO tour bus travelling towards Suzhou

RLPO tour bus travelling towards Suzhou

We would be flying again on this leg of the tour, from Guangzhou to Shanghai. From there the RLPO would be bussed to the Days Hotel, about thirty minutes away from the venue in Suzhou; the waterfront Culture and Arts Centre.

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RLPO – China Tour 2014 – 4 – Nanjing

The next morning was an 8.15am meeting. We would be going to Nanjing today to open the brand new concert hall there. Due to logistics, it would be necessary to send our suitcases on ahead to Beijing to hopefully meet up with us at the hotel there. Only an overnight bag would be acceptable as there would not be room on the bullet train to Beijing the next day for loads of suitcases…

The name of the brand new concert hall in Nanjing

The name of the brand new concert hall in Nanjing

A little bit of debriefing about Nanjing from Wikipedia

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RLPO Director of Artistic Planning & Ensembles, Sandra Parr, places a white board of handy hints and essential information in the hotel lobby each day

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RLPO – China Tour 2014 – 5 – Journey To Beijing and Performance In Tianjin

The RLPO itinary for today

The RLPO itinary for today

Following the successful inaugural concert in the new hall in Tianjin, the RLPO awoke to the above itinerary. Today, we were travelling to the north; Beijing, in fact. Although the first concert on this third leg of the tour would be in Tianjin, it was considered more convenient to remain in the same hotel for the final three days of this mammoth tour.

At the busy train station in Nanjing

At the busy train station in Nanjing

The RLPO had to be ready to leave to catch the bullet train up the East Coast at 9.30am. We boarded the three coaches to the train station and disembarked to wait for a while before our 11.09am train was due to depart. Only one member of the orchestra had to return to the hotel to collect a forgotten passport!

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