When entering the world of “classical” music, there are a huge number of professionals who have taken similar paths to get to where they are, or that there’s a certain rhythm that one must adopt when climbing the ladder. My introduction to Tanglewood was absolutely not one of those occasions.
One of the first works I recorded with my friends during the first lockdown in 2020 (just as the Zemlinsky Chamber Orchestra was coming into existence) was Alma Mahler’s “Vier Lieder”, together with my [now] wife, Katherine as the soloist. Originally we also wanted to record Zemlinsky’s Kammersymphonie, but with players getting covid and limited rehearsal time, that was to wait for another day.
The performance itself turned out very well, with some success in initial YouTube viewership. However it was only when Tanglewood reached out to me (2 years after its release) when I realised the true power of the internet and the potential of what opportunities it holds. For anyone reading this who uses social media as a part of their core marketing strategy, it’s not the number of views that’s important, but the engagement – and the right engagement can lead to wonderful opportunities.
My involvement in the 2023 Tanglewood Festival wasn’t exactly a high profile event in their calendar, however my work was featured in one of, if not THE world’s leading music festival[s] and they found me through YouTube! Although how it all came about was somewhat random, it was a perfect example of how the classical world can also be unpredictable. Not everything comes from an agent or manager.
As I was in the US at the time (plus my dear mezzo friend from Aspen, Gabrielle Barkidjija, was performing part of it) there was absolutely no way I wasn’t going to go and soak it all in and what an absolute treat that weekend turned out to be! Tanglewood is a staple of the summer music calendar and for good reason: everything I heard that weekend, from Così, to Carmina Burana, the Festival Orchestra, BSO, Andrew Nelsons, the chamber music, contemporary music, vocal music (you name it), they have it all and none of it will disappoint!
Huge congratulations to all the musicians involved, to soloists Bella Adamova and Gabrielle, and to the conductors Agata Zajac and Armand Singh Birk. The performance was truly spectacular and (on a personal note) it was refreshing 1. Hearing someone else’s interpretation, and 2. Hearing the version with harp, as I originally wrote. (Mine had to pull out due to covid..)
Hopefully this won’t be my last venture at Tanglewood, but it certainly was the best way to become acquainted! In any case, the songs are a treat and more may or may not be planned for the future…