SPRING 2018

Normally, my quarterly newsletter will give you the lowdown, keeping you ahead of the pack and in the loop, making sure that you don’t miss out! In this way, it remedies the latest behavioural affliction brought on by incessant social media feeds and email updates: FoMO – the Fear of Missing Out.

Yes, my spring bulletin is overdue, and – this may come as a shock – it is so late that you will have missed it all! January, February, most of March, gone! Instead, like a ghost, I bring you Das wäre Ihr Preis gewesen. I find that this geflügelt expression from an 80s German TV show, which had candidates eliminate prize after prize until they were often left with a worthless goldfish, best befits my preposterous predicament. You will however not even get a whiff of a miniature carp here (except maybe for the Paris paragraph). Keep on reading and you might be rewarded with good karma and a sense that maybe not all is lost! Without exceeding apologies, I would just like to point out that the untoward tardiness of my mailout is a direct consequence of an untimely breakage of limbs in adverse weather conditions as well as an extremely infuriated sciatica nerve – life’s subtle reminders that the world will keep on turning without any one of us… So yes – you read it right – I’ve been in the wars!! And now I’m back!

Had you been in Cambridge on 7th February, you may have witnessed the UK premier of my solo piece for violin, Kartenspiel, given at Clare College Chapel by Peter Grishin and presented by CCMS Contemporary Lates and tick tock. A lovely place, a captive audience, a sense of excitement and a great performance! Alas – like most of you, I missed it too! The good news is that, since Kartenspiel is proving so popular with performers and audiences alike, I have decided to adapt the piece for other solo instruments including clarinet, flute, voice, acoustic guitar, recorder, snare, trombone and movement/dance and publish them over the course of the next two years. Bring on the games!

Had you been in London’s Shoreditch Town Hall on 3rd March, you may have caught a glimpse of the newly launched CoMA Partsong book, a delightful collection of commissioned new works for 3-6 singers that will put the roses back into anyone’s cheeks! It includes my piece Cocktail Hour, 5 minutes of vocal fun suitable for all ages, mouths, faces and heights. Performers will need a beverage with a straw and, of course, the score, published by Edition Peters and available now at £14.95 plus shipping from the CoMA shop through emailing library@coma.org .

Had you been in Paris on 7th March, you may have gotten an extra dose of oxygen as the film Courants d’Airs by Anne Schiltz was screened as part of a week of foreign films at the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles. Another missed opportunity to bathe in the sound and scent of the Breton isle of Ouessant with its five lighthouses and its festival of women composers and performers, which I took part in a couple of years ago. Hopefully we can all soon catch this discerning documentary at another port of call!

After Brexit, FoMO will most likely become a national affliction, a new trait of the British as the befuddled politics will becloud cross-border exchanges and cultural collaborations on both sides of the trench. For those who are parents of young children, that foggy FoMO future is already here! And worse – its derivative FoyoMOoCE (Fear of your offspring Missing Out on Cultural Events) digs deep into middleclass parental psyche. In today’s world, tickets can sell out in minutes – something I experienced recently when, in the dead of the night, Henri and I navigated four devices simultaneously through a ticketing system to secure places for an unthinkably unmissable exhibition for our little Es! So be prepared!

STOP PRESS – if you have children of primary school age and you want to avoid the FoyoMOoCE, get ready to book tickets to see Clara! – “Kompositionsreise mit Musik von Clara Schumann und Catherine Kontz at the Philharmonie Luxembourg on Sunday 13th May at 15.00. Aimed at 7-12 year-olds, this new work of music theatre devised together with pianist Cathy Krier and director Tobias Ribitzki introduces children to the life and work of this pioneer woman pianist and composer. School sessions are planned on Monday 14th May for any teachers who might like to enlighten their classes! Tickets will go on sale within the hour (22nd March at 10.00 CET) providing you promptly opened this email! Good luck!

Should you be in Tokyo on Sunday 8th April, come along to our End of Hanami-edition of the French For Cartridge Golden Hour Listening Party! You will find us in Ueno Park under the cherry blossoms at sundown. Meeting point 17.30 by the statue of Hideyo Noguchi. Also check www.frenchforcartridge.com or social media for further details! As always, strangers, friends, kids, dogs – all are welcome! Just bring headphones!

Should you be passing Oxford (28th April at Pembroke College Chapel 17.00-19.00), Cambridge (29th April at Judith E Wilson Drama Studio, 14.00-16.00) or London (2nd May Birkbeck School of Arts), be sure to catch the pocket opera A Certain Sense of Order – On a Poem by Anne Sexton, my collaboration with tick tock first seen at Rough For Opera and the Tête-à-Tête Opera festival, as it starts a short UK tour with Rosie Middelton, Sarah Parkin and Dr Victoria Van Hyning). European dates are also in the planning for season 18/19.

Should you be in the Rochester, New York area on 28th April, take part in Rosanna Moore’s harp festival at Nazareth College. I first worked with Rosanna many years ago when she was part of the RNCM team of harpists who performed Anthill for 10 harps at the HCMF. Today she is a teacher at the Eastman School of Music and a real advocate for the contemporary harp. Flyways, my piece for massed harps based on bird migration, suitable for all levels, will be used in this workshop and take its maiden US flight in a performance. Hear, see and feel it soar!!

Having been unwell, I realise that my kids have never seen me lie down in the middle of the day, or perhaps ever! Little E immediately took to playing nurse and smaller E learnt to say “Mummy up?” with a slight quiver in his voice. Thankfully, they got me back on my feet pretty quick! Now where is that family planner so that I can get organising? I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on anything, would I…

’til next time,
Catherine