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Catching up with Syrinx XXII

Syrinx XXII: Katharine Rawdon (flutes), Raj Bhimani (piano), António Carrilho (recorders)"

While Live from Hochstein is on hold while can't gather in person, we have been revisiting past programs on the radio on Wednesdays, including highlights during the noon hour with Julia Figueras, and full programs at 9pm.

Our featured highlight over lunch this Wednesday comes from the intriguing, international trio Syrinx XXII, who played on Live from Hochstein this past fall.  They also took the time during that visit to meet with the local chapter of the American Recorder Society and stop by our studio for some conversation.

I was able to catch up with Katharine over email, and she collected and shared some stories of how they have been doing since they visited us in Rochester. 

As a group, after a terrific time in Rochester, which included visiting Kodak Hall and the Eastman School, both gorgeous, and enjoying a "real" American Hallowe'en, complete with carved pumpkins, roasted pumpkin seeds and trick-or-treaters at the door, we returned to Manhattan. We spent two very intense but fruitful days recording the Hochstein repertoire, and other works, for a CD which we hope will be out SOON! It will include works written for us by Carlos Marecos, Sören Sieg, and Thérèse Brenet, as well as arrangements of Bach, Gluck, and Schubert. (We will let  you know when the CD is out, of course!).

Raj sends his news: 

Pianist Raj Bhimani

I was happy to present my annual solo recital at Lincoln Center in late February.  Who could have known that would be my last public performance for the foreseeable future?  I was meant to be in Paris right now for the annual recital on a series where I’ve been playing since I was a student there many years back.  Hopefully next year.

As with the entire world right now my life and my attention are inside.  I’m grateful to be able to practice as many hours as I wish every day.  I’m enjoying wandering through repertoire that has interested me but that I didn’t have time to learn because of commitments for concerts and recordings.  Now time seems unlimited.  I’m also extremely grateful to be able to continue all my teaching.  Remotely, of course.  I’d already been teaching online for the past 10 years and was able to switch into having this be my only mode of communicating with everyone.  My adult students have seized on the opportunity to spend more time at their instruments and are all undertaking larger projects than before and making huge strides.  My younger students are discovering that music can be our companion during this as well as any period.

I was heartbroken to lose one of my adult students early on in this crisis.  He’d survived lung cancer a few years back but then this new disease came along and took advantage of his weakened state.  Every siren that has rolled past my window has reminded me of him and of all the frightened people who must be inside each of those ambulances.  Being in New York City has meant I’ve heard a lot of those sirens.  I can’t wait for this time to be behind us all.

Katharine's news:

After 2020 got off to a rip-roaring start, with several masterclasses, concerts and my regular teaching, things abruptly ground to a halt here, about the 12th of March. I had been in Paris twice and London as well in the previous month, so I decided catching up on sleep would be prudent to boost the immune system. My daughter's school as well as my university closed down, along with all non-essential shops and services. Luckily, I have no firsthand acquaintances who have been affected by the disease, and the spread here in Portugal has been much less severe than in neighboring Spain.

Flutist Katharine Rawdon

Like Raj, I've continued teaching my class using Skype, and we enjoyed a "Distanced Recital" and a group class, with more planned to keep motivation up. Resuming work at the school is so far up in the air, but I don't expect it until after the summer break. Given this break from imminent performances, I have been reviewing standard repertoire for fun, practicing baroque flute, battling the IT demons of the Finale music notation software, and, again via Skype, helping a wonderful Shakuhachi (traditional Japanese flute) friend in Australia with an adaptation of one of her compositions for modern flute. Courtesy of Zoom, I've been able to participate in weekly meetings with fellow students of "Integrated Practice" in Paris; these have been a lifeline to finding joy in the moment and maintaining sanity.

My Weimaraner sees to it that I get out of the house daily, for which I am grateful. On the streets it is remarkably quiet and peaceful, as if the clock had turned back half a century. I'm sure there are important lessons in this crisis about how we all might live a little more in sync with nature, and human nature. Just don't take my internet connection away! 

António's news:
António had been working absolutely nonstop since Rochester, premiering a new work by Eurico Carrapatoso, launching the CD of a concerto written for him by Nuno da Rocha, and a solo recital of Bach in December.

Credit Jiyang Chen
António Carrilho

For six weeks in January and February, he travelled to Australia, Japan, and back to Australia to present no fewer than eleven concerts and six masterclasses. He had just returned from that mega-tour and resumed teaching when the university closed up. Due to social distancing and orders to stay at home, a long list of concerts have been postponed: conducting the Pergolesi Stabat Mater in the Porto Cathedral, a recital of French music in Sintra, solo concertos at the Sintra Early Music Festival, performing music by Nuno da Rocha at the Music Days in Lisbon, and a chamber recital in Castelo Branco.

A tour to North Texas University, with concerts, classes and recordings has also been postponed, along with a recital and master class in Spain. Further scheduling and re-scheduling is again up in the air.

For the time being, he is hunkered down at home in Lisbon, studying scores and enjoying time with his four cats.