Tomorrow I’m off to France to spend a week on the jury of the Lyon International Chamber Music Competition.
This year the competition is for piano trio – the classic combination of piano, violin and cello. From time to time I come across people who think -very reasonably – that ‘a piano trio’ must consist of three pianos and three pianists, so I reckon it’s worth clarifying which instruments are involved in the traditional formulation known to Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and co.
Nineteen trios from around the world have been admitted to the competition. I’m looking forward to hearing different styles of playing, as well as observing different modes of presentation from South East Asia and the USA as well as Europe. In recent years I’ve often felt that ‘the visual element’ of performance plays a bigger and bigger part in everyone’s consciousness. I’m not immune to it myself, naturally, but in fact when people start playing I often listen with eyes closed in order to focus on the purely musical result.
In the UK I am still wearing woollen jumpers every day, with scarves and gloves for outdoors. It’s only a few days, in fact, since we had our last batch of snow in Edinburgh (see photo). Luckily, as I started packing today, it occurred to me to look up the weather for Lyon. What a nice surprise! Temperatures are predicted to be in the high teens and even up to 20 degrees and beyond. Warm spring weather! Out of my suitcase came the jumpers, scarves and gloves. And then I looked up some pictures of the Lyon opera house, the music conservatoire, and the houseboat ‘La Plateforme’ moored in the Rhône in front of the Préfecture – all locations which are part of the competition at various stages. More pleasant surprises! Add to that the reputation of Lyon as a foodie destination and … I’m really starting to look forward to it all.