Guangzhou to Ganzhou

By a 6-hour sleeper train, passing through a China I have never seen before.


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Postcard from Zutphen

A Monday in the Netherlands where your comrades abandon you and you travel to a random town without a map, objective or enough woolly layers.

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A Fortnight of Chocolate Sprinkles

At last! A winter that has the guts to eat away my skin, give me my first cold sore in years and push tears into my eyes as I move through the air. December, you were comfortable and tepid, but truly disappointing. I visited the Christmas Markets in a blazer jacket and scarf. There was neither ice nor snow, nor hail nor sleet. Not a shade of white in sight. The streets settled in bog-standard grey.

And look at Apeldoorn this morning…


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NYO, yo, yo! Getting down and groovy into concert mode.

It’s currently day 10 on the NYO Spring Residency. We have one more day of rehearsing before we are off to Liverpool for our first concert, wahey.

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Chamber Music on NYO’s Inspire Day

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August 19th 2013 – Insect studies

Observations made during the first week of my visit to Atlanta. Starts slow, but please be patient. The subject of insects is definitely addressed and relevant to the title of this post.

Every year I pack my things, purchase a $14 ESTA visa and fly across the pond to Atlanta. I tend to go for four to five weeks depending on my summer commitments. Though I’d prefer it if my Dad didn’t live on the other side of the world, I consider myself very fortunate to be able to travel so frequently and have a second home in a completely different culture.
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For the last few trips, Atlanta has welcomed me with the same sensations, smells and tastes. I remember each very vividly, right from the moment I exit the cool, dry conditions of the aeroplane. First there’s a sudden rise in humidity, soon complimented by the glorious heat of Southern state sunshine beyond the terminal doors. That sense of relief as your skin finally expands to absorb the rays. Then within the acrid fumes of the car pack you locate your vehicle. You step inside, and to your disbelief the aroma of new synthetic produce and car conception still remains after all this time. You can’t help but gag a little and keep the doors open for half a minute to let them escape.

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Oh no! NYO 2013 is over!

Wait, what, where, how, why?! Really? Has it come to an end?


The NYO Prom happened last Sunday. A culmination of a year’s work; the highlight on our calendars. They say our concert was the first ever to be completely free to the public, tickets, programmes and all. Even I failed to grab hold of extra tickets. After only 8 minutes, they were completely sold out. On top of that, it was celebrating bicentenary of the Royal Philharmonic Society, offering a world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s “Frieze”, and NYO’s first go at Beethoven 9.
– “Simply unmissable” – as one Irish newspaper put it.

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Photo courtesy of BBC Proms: “Ode to joy, ode to joy, ode to joy, ode to joy!”
Yes, those are the words to the 4th movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, as declared by certain members of the NYO.

Strangely, I was not feeling very nervous about playing the notes live on Radio 3 (filmed for TV broadcast next month). There was another matter which occupied my mind: my new concert dress. I had been pretty adventurous in my choice of performance outfits overall, pushing the boundaries further and further in each successive concert.

This one, however, was my most daring yet. Not because it was short, or big; but because it was excessively, spectacularly, sparkly. Endearing as it sounds, I feared it would attract unwanted attention and make me stick out, like a naive girl who tries too hard to attract people at primary school Christmas discos.

As we made our way onto the stage at 7:30pm, I was still questioning the appropriateness of my attire.
“Jacob, are you sure it’s fine? It’s so sparkly, arghhhh…” Soon I forgot about trivial things, and found myself heavily engrossed in the music.

Oh my god, it was so amazing…

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I partied at Buckingham Palace – Days 3-6

Can’t form a substantial account of the past few days. Mind blown. Nose clogged up with hay fever. Turned 18. Slightly sunburnt.

I hope you can understand. If not, you will by the end of this post.

Day 3- Rehearsing at St John’s Smiths Square:
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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Church of Fot – EUCO Budapest Tour Part 4

(NYO have just published my post – have a read here.)

Meanwhile I have one batch of photos left. Don’t fret, this is the final post on Budapest.

On the penultimate day of the tour we performed in Church of Fot, at the unusual time of 11am. The church service concluded at this hour, leaving us barely any time to set up the stage and no time at all to rehearse! Outside the church, the sun shone fully on a very exhausted EUCO, the heat made worse by our black concert wear. We were all exhausted from the previous night’s antics…

But we still managed to pull it off! (Even if the maestro’s shirt was a bit creased.)

The Church of Fot photos are all courtesy of Michael Tang.


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St. Michael’s Church – EUCO Budapest Tour Part 3

On the third day we stayed in the centre of Budapest. The second concert took place in St Michael’s Church, situated in the middle of a street of restaurants, cafes and shops – tourist haven you could say.

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The Town of TaTa – EUCO Budapest Tour Part 2

A couple of weeks late, but here’s the EUCO tour continued!

The following day we travelled an hour from Budapest to the town of TaTa for our first concert.
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