After a hectic June with concerts to play (including a most enjoyable return to the Adrian Boult Hall on 13 June for chamber music with Naoko Senda, Robin Ireland, Jane Salmon and Guy Murgatroyd), exams and end-of-term activities at Codarts Rotterdam, we came to a close today with the Graduation Ceremony for Classical Music. It was a great year and some wonderful musicians have graduated including Ineke Hellingman who played a wonderful Rachmaninov First Piano Concerto this week, Kristie Su whose violin playing goes from strength to strength, violinist Hayato Ishibashi completing his masters and playing with great authority, Kathelijne Wagner who will go to her first opera appointment in Germany, outstanding composer Meriç Artaç, percussionists Renato Dias Peneda, Antonio Gutiérrez Rubio and Yves Popov, bass clarinetist Mayuko Takeda, choral conductor Maarten van der Bijl, organist Anna Karpenko, violinist Titia Bouwman and many more.

This moment brings me to the end of an era that began when I was asked to lead the Classical Music Academy in Codarts Rotterdam in January 2011. Always intended as an interim appointment, I am delighted to be handing over to Okke Westdorp on 1 September. Okke is a former principal horn of the Hague Philharmonic and brings much experience and energy to the job. I will work with Okke through the autumn to ensure a smooth handover and will continue to do some projects for Codarts. With a Rachmaninov 2nd Symphony being played in a collaborative performance with KC Den Hague with Valery Gergiev conducting on 11 September and with the Fifty Fiddles Festival co-promoted by Codarts and de Doelen under the direction of violinist, Tim Kliphuis on 26 and 27 September, there will be plenty to do in the autumn.

For now, Jane and I will be heading for Santa Fe at the end of July for the Kammermusik Workshops and another chance to play some great chamber music in a beautiful place.



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