Four great milestones.
Birmingham, Amsterdam, Geneva, Berlin. Four different projects in quick succession. Each a significant milestone that made me pause, look back thankfully and marvel at inspiring friendships - and at the closing of some great chapters in my life.
In Birmingham Andrew Jowett retired as Director of Symphony Hall, where he commissioned thirty-two of my paintings. On stage for the unveiling of my painting of Andrew, as described in my previous blog.
Back in Amsterdam I shared the Dutch TV music programme Podium Witteman with Lis Perry and Liviu Prunaru, both former students of Yehudi Menuhin and now concertmasters of great orchestras, to speak of our friendship with this wonderful man, then join in an audio-visual extract from Bach's Double Violin Concerto. Here's the link - it's in Dutch.Norman Perryman & Lis Perry celebrate Yehudi Menuhin at 100.
Now, forty years later, I'm invited by WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), an agency of the United Nations, to put on a performance of kinetic painting at a major conference in their beautiful new hall. How fulfilling. But was it a little bit of the devil in me to propose l'Histoire du Soldat (composed by Stravinsky on the Lake of Geneva in 1918)? How appropriate for this city of wealth and power, the story of how the soldier sold his violin (his soul) to the Devil, in exchange for a book that "tells you things before they happen" and provides "wealth untold"! Alas, the soldier become millionaire realizes that after all, in reality he has nothing. Terribly familiar? It was great to share the stage with the Ludwig Ensemble, but especially with my son Chris King Perryman, playing the Narrator. His mother Vivian King, whom I met in Geneva in 1974 when she was studying with the cellist Pierre Fournier, would have been so proud.
The banner on the facade of Konzerthaus Berlin announces "Music heals, brings comfort and joy". That's what Yehudi lived for. What joy he and Daniel brought to me as I shared in this great festival! Our performance to a packed hall and discussion with audience was received with enormous enthusiasm - they just wouldn't let us go! Warmest thanks to the whole production team. The concert was recorded for television by Deutsche Welle and hopefully will be screened later this month.
Rehearsing with Daniel and Sebastian in the Kleine Saal.