After the sudden 100% cancellation of live musical events, many organisations vowed to reschedule ‘as soon as possible’. I wondered who, if anyone, would be the first to reorganise any of my own happenings. I should have guessed that it would be the super-resourceful Martin Read Foundation, based in Hampshire, who support teaching, workshops and performances for school and college age students. We had long ago planned to do a composition workshop this month, and by golly we did it.
Going ahead with it of course involved Zoom plus some major rearrangements. In particular the performance space moved from the RCM to the bedroom of percussionist Patriks Skabardis, who uncomplainingly sourced anything he could find on which to play new scores by four A-level students – Samby, Megan, Lia and Pernille. Discussing substitutes for temporarily unobtainable instruments seemed to be a valuable theme for our workshop, and not just a topical one. Even in former covid-free times, I’ve often longed to ask a composer, "did you really need that mridangam, xylorimba, agogo bells? Was it worth it?" Not that I needed to say this to any of our sensible and pragmatic MRF quartet.
Pictured – the only official percussion instrument I have on the premises, the wind chimes in our apple tree. I never tire of the sound.