10 good things about 2014

It’s been a tough year, but a truly great one, and now it’s time for the annual accounting of good¬†stuff, people and experiences that made up 2014. Avoid the bad bits, focus on the awesome ūüôā

  1. Finished my MFA!!!! An amazing experience, and this year well and truly confirmed that I want to do a PhD – absolutely loved the whole free-ranging research thing, and I think¬†the research experience has progressed my composing far more than anything else I’ve ever done. End of two of the best years of my entire life. Onwards to‚Ķ something new. Not sure what yet.
  2. Bastard Assignments, and Edward Henderson in particular Рfor encouraging me to think up mad stuff and just do it, for getting me performing and for putting on crazy amazing performances that are always good for the brain and the soul!
  3. Alexandra Kremakova – a fantastic pianist, wonderful friend and viol-partner. We’ve had so much fun this year. I’ve loved our viol sessions, working together on our entry for the John Halford Prize (for which we were both Highly Recommended in our respective sections) and just generally hanging out and talking about stuff.
  4. The lounge room is habitable! The lounge room is habitable! OK, so not that much has happened, structurally – the floor’s still a disaster, the ceiling awful and a hole in the wall still, but the improvements that have been made have transformed it from an ugly, uncomfortable and near-unusable room, into a place that’s rather nice to be in – I’m in here right now! Couch, TV/music server/DVD/Wii all set up properly so can play games or listen to music or whatever without needing to find and attach¬†cables or put up with pathetic sound. We got the covers for the cube beds finally, so now there’s a footstool for the couch, and in the past few days we moved Judy’s rug down from my studio (where I was always terrified of blopping paint on it) to the loungeroom, so it covers the horrible floorboards and just makes the whole room feel warmer and more welcoming.
  5. My teachers Рin particular Paul Newland for encouraging me to think more broadly about what music can be and for tactics on dealing with creative fear, Errollyn Wallen for being generally lovely and encouraging and inspiring, and Sam Hayden who as my project supervisor encouraged me to try stuff I might not have pursued which created some really interesting approaches that I suspect I will be exploring for many years to come.
  6. Singing lessons – I didn’t have very many singing lessons – only 6 all up – a couple with Omar Ebrahim and the rest with Peter Knapp – and I suspect I’ll never really be ‘a singer’ but it taught me a lot about using my voice, having confidence in using my voice and in performing in general and about how singers work too. Also discovered an extra 5th at the top of my range, which was deeply disturbing…
  7. First ever time singing solo in public. And I didn’t even realise it was that until it was over (probably a good thing) – sight-singing a page from John Cage’s Aria at a workshop led by Linda Hirst in front of an audience of singers. Ack. But yay!
  8. Accepted that I am an artist as well as a composer and that the two can exist simultaneously and may or may not be related to one another. Huge thanks to Dominic Murcott for getting me to this point. Still rather confused about how to define or explain or promote what I do but I think I’m a lot clearer on allowing myself to just make work in whatever form it seems to need to be made in.
  9. For every month of the year, with the exceptions of May (when I was writing up my¬†dissertation) and July (when I was sleeping), I’ve had at least one performance, often more than one – up to FOUR in August!
  10. And of course, Djelibeybi. For financial and emotional support above and beyond the call of duty and just general loveliness ūüôā

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