It’s Day 4 of Bath International Music Festival which continues until Sunday 29 May. The festival began with Bath’s Biggest Free night of music Party in the City. 40 venues, 2 new outdoor festival stages in Parade Gardens and Queen Square and schools, bands, choirs all performing and some CROWDSURFING at Komedia.
Take a look at the 2016 Festival so far in our Festival Gallery view gallery
I’m a cellist, composer and mum from London. I’ve got quite an unusual musical career as I write and perform my own music largely, and travel the world to play my concerts. I also do session performances or recordings for a diverse artist base from opera to hip hop and I love it.
I never wanted to play the cello! But luckily for me, my career wasn’t dictated by a choice I made aged four and a half. I was very fortunate to be in a primary school in inner London that participated in a scheme run by the Centre for Young Musicians, whereby cello and violin lessons were offered to primary aged children, and when the initial letter came home in my bag outlining these lessons I said a resounding no. One term later a gap appeared in the cello group, and I went along with my friend in order to escape some other activity in the school day, and here I am now! Without doubt it was the brilliant, enlightened and what I now recognise as freeing approach of the teachers, especially my teacher Vicky Miller that inspired me continuously and enabled me to sculpt my own career as a solo cellist and composer.
When I first started playing my solo concerts I used to feel fraudulent standing on stage saying I was a cellist, as I’d never played a big concerto with an orchestra, in fact I’d never really played professionally at all prior to this point. Even though I was in the grimy dives of North London I still felt this inadequacy, I’d get terribly nervous and shaky-bowed, and even now contemplating my forth solo album, many EU dates and sixth tour of Australia I still have a sense of this now and then. I think it keeps things real for me though, I am more confident now in my abilities and more importantly I’ve reached this glorious understanding that there is more than one way to be a professional cellist!
What or who have been your biggest influences?
The inspiration for my writing is pretty much un-boundaried, it’s whatever moves me, with music obviously being the main point I’d say. I’m a huge fan of Bach, Debussy, Pärt, Kodály, Tavener and Bartók, and these sit happily alongside my outright love of Whitesnake, Jane’s Addiction and Nine Inch Nails to name but a few. I find poetry inspirational, certain concepts in psychology too (mainly Jung!) and art as well – especially Mucha. Another massive influence is the landscape around me. My latest album ‘Five Incantations’ (some of which I’ll play for you) is a prime example of this. ‘Five Incantations’ firmly began life in Australia, during my tour in 2015. When I am in Australia I somehow feel able to connect to a more vital or spiritual source.
Beyond Australia, back home in the UK my friends are a constant source of inspiration to me. I have many great colleagues and friends in both musical and non-musical careers, all of whom are constantly supportive, offering words of wisdom, unbiased opinions and direction, thoughtful comment and at times wine! All of this is part and parcel of what I do, I feel my friends make my music with me, and I feel very lucky to have their support, their energy and their time.
Have you spent much time in the city of Bath?
Not much time, but I’ve absolutely loved each visit! I have a very good friend and collaborator who lives in Bath, poet Mohan Rana. We perform spoken word and improvised music concerts together, it’s something very special indeed. I’ve actually been to St Michael’s on my last visit to Mohan, though I didn’t realise at the time I’d be playing here so now I’m really excited!
What are you currently listening to?
Right now I’m listening to music by Rose McDowall as I have two session performances coming up for her and I need to learn it all again! I’m also preparing for a classical recital in Leipzig so I’m also listening to awful practice recordings I’ve made of the Kodaly sonata and two of the Bachs. But as far as what’s in my car, ‘Warrior’ by Anilah, absolutely beautiful, breathtaking and powerful, and a relatively obscure (these days) band Saraya (‘Saraya’ 1989), great female fronted rock group. That, and a daily dose of ‘Let It Go’ (my daughter is four!).
See Jo perform at St Michael’s Church Friday 20th May 9.30pm. Plan your night at Bath’s biggest FREE party here.
The Telegraph Bath Children’s Literature Festival begins on Friday 25th September (through to Sunday 4th October) I’m incredibly excited to be part of it for the first time it this year. It’s something that has been on my bookish bucket list for a while but I’ve been unable to fulfil – UNTIL NOW.
And when I check things off my bucket list, I do it in style. 😉
Come the 25th September I’ll be on the train heading straight for the wonderful city of Bathand all the magical literary excitement that awaits. I’ve managed to secure the entire week off work and plan to enjoy my first Children’s Literature Festival to its fullest.
There are so many things that I can’t wait to see/attend (it’s at these times that you really wish you could make copies of yourself to experience it all). Here are just a few of the things I’m looking forward to:
Bath International Music Festival is delighted to announce FREE tickets for under 18s* (in addition to the Family Events) at some of the headline Festival nights.
*1 paying adult is eligible for up to 2 free Under 18 tickets to any 2015 Bath International Music Festival event at the Forum. These tickets are not available online please call the box office on 01225 463362 or visit in person.
Hugh Masekela: 25 May
Jazz legend and South African activist Hugh Masekela and his band with support by Helele on Monday 25 May. Expect a party! with echoes of township, jazz, hip-hop and funk – a DO NOT MISS, once in a lifetime chance to see a living jazz legend here in Bath. Read more
Laura van der Heijden: 21 May
Cellist Laura won BBC Young Musician of the Year at just 15 and performed at this year’s BAFTAS. For this special concert Laura performs Haydn, Mozart and more with the European Union Chamber Orchestra. Read more
Sir Willard White & Bath Philharmonia: 26 May
Introduce your Under 18s to opera and the power of a full chorus and orchestra in the most impressive way, with a much loved opera star Willard, singing the role he is famous for in THE? Great American Opera Porgy and Bess.. with tunes they’ll know straight away (Summertime, I got plenty o’nuttin) Read more
There are many more Free to Under 18s events in the 2015 programme including the brilliant House Gospel Choir at Komedia on Monday 25 May at 2pm – bring your kids and dance! please see the full programme for other events, including the Family Music Dayon Sunday 24 May in Parade Gardens.
Bath International Music Festival kicks off this year’s festival on Friday 15 May with the city wide celebration, Party in the City, spreading over 43 venues, with more than 150 exciting bands, singers and performers. We’ve also joined up again with the national initiative Museums at Night, with museums here in Bath and across the country flinging open their doors for late night explorations.
This year Party in the City continues throughout the Festival, with free music on the bandstand in Parade Gardens on the first weekend, 16/17 May, and again on Sunday 24 May, with a free Family Music Day including more free music from local bands, plus more delights during the week. The fun does not stop, with the 12 day Bath International Music Festivalrunning from 15 – 26 May.
PARTY IN THE CITY HIGHLIGHTS (OR VIEW THE FULL EVENTS LISTINGS HERE)
Street Performance: as well as everything going on at Party in the City venues don’t miss all the spectacular street performances. Samba bands, DJ Disco Turtles and more.
Highlight Tours: (Free) The ‘delightfully absurd’ Natural Theatre Company guide you through the musical streets of Bath.
*Headline Act* Bite The Buffalo: B.T.B have played the UK’s best venues, supported Robert Plant and bring you their version of Stomp, Rock Blues. 9.15-10pm Parade Gardens
Bath Community Gospel Choir: Young Carers South West and Bath Philharmonia 9.15-10pm Bath Abbey
Sing & Samba: A world premiere collaboration of choirs – come along and join the biggest sing-a-long of the night. 6.45-7.15pm The Circus
Bristol A Cappella: Vocal harmonies re-creating well-known pop songs. 9.30-10.15pm Colonna & Hunter
Kilter’s Unsung Choir: Young people’s lyrics about unsung aspects of their lives. Performed by professional choirs. 7-7.30pm Holburne Museum
The Gas Giants: A rare appearance by Will Gregory & Tony Orrell to launch ART & WORK 8-9pm Museum of Bath at Work
Bohemian Embassy: They’ve played some of the UK and Europe’s best venues – with a great live set! 10-11pm The Pig and Fiddle
Maria Muller: International Mezzo-Soprano accompanied by Russian pianist Sergey Rybin 8.50-9.30pm Ralph Allen Cornerstone
Turbo Disco Turtle: An 8 metre long, 3 metre wide, glow-in-the-dark disco Turtle! Bring bubbles to blow 9pm Stall Street Finale
Noctis: Award winning chamber choir performing traditional choral music, contemporary, film scores and jazz standards. 9.30-10pm St Michael’s Church
The Bath Welcome Choir: Popular harmonies and chart songs. 7.30-7.50pm St. Swithins Church
The Full 2015 Party in the City line-up will be available soon in the P.I.T.C brochure look out for announcements!