I’m in Carmel by the Sea, California for one of the biggest gigs of my life. I’m working with a team of musicians who could grace any stage in the world.
Head of the team is the internationally renowned modern classical composer Philip Glass. He is a genius and i don’t use that word lightly. I met Philip in New York in March when I was working with New Order at Carnegie Hall as part of the Tibet house benefit Concert. The day after the concert he invited me round to his house on the lower east side of manhattan, he sat me down on his piano stool and told me he would like to work with me on a number of projects in Europe and the US. I nearly fell off the Piano stool.
I’m also working with Jaron Lanier, nominated in the TIME 100 list of most influential people. He is credited with inventing the term virtual reality and is an amazing classical musician and plays a number of unique instruments in the band. Google him and it still won’t quite capture his genius.
Tim Fain is an amazing violinist. He composed and performed in the Award winning Black Swan movie that stared natalie portman. Again, he is a top of the tree when it comes to his music and to see what he does with a violin in incredible.
Matt Haimovitz was described by acclaimed Cellist Leonard Rose Rose as “probably the greatest talent I have ever taught”, praising his “ravishingly beautiful tone” and “unusual sense of style and musical sensitivity”.
His contribution to the team is strikingly beautiful and his versatility is mind-blowing.
Jonathan Rose is first and foremost a beautiful man. He builds interesting social housing throughout the US currently working on a number of projects in Harlem. He also plays base guitar in the ensemble. He has been friends with philip since the 1970s when he attempted to sign philip to his record label. Interestingly, He once had a meeting with Tony Wilson about signing The Durutti Column to his new york based label but it never came off.
David Harding also plays violin and viola has an extensive solo and chamber music career, having performed throughout Europe, the United States, Canada and Central America, in such venues as the Berlin Philharmonie, Concertgebouw, and Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall. His performances have been broadcast on BBC, NPR and Deutschland Radio. David is frequently featured on CBC Radio in Canada. He regularly performs at chamber music festivals throughout North America including amongst others the Seattle Chamber Music Society, Strings in the Mountains, CO, Sitka Chamber Music Festival, AK, Festival of the Sound, ON, and the Cactus Pear Chamber Music Festival, TX.
Jerry Quickly is a New York poet who move to California in 1994. His work is amazing rich and varied. He has worked a plethora of international artists including Radiohead and the beastie boys and has been part of the us hip hop scene for 30 years.
Jerry has written an amazing Libretto called WhistleBlower about Edward Snowden. He and I have collaborated on this piece where i play the part of Snowden. We have rehearsed this piece and Phillip has created a piece of music to accompany it.
Every single person listed above has contributed to this piece in their own way – the process has been eye opening and i pray that i can glean one millionth of their genius to contribute to my work.
I’ve spoke about the genius of these people but i have not mentioned their kindness, warmth and fellowship. They have welcomed me into the group, supported, guided and directed me when needed and made me feel so special. This is their true genius and I find that this is the case with all the people philip introduces me to. They all have beautiful souls The fact that they are amazing at what they do is almost secondary. It’s not just about being brilliant at what you do, it’s more about the fact that they are willing to share it. I’ve learned a lot from them.
The gig is at 8 tonight California time and i shall be performing two pieces that Myself and Joe Dudell (Another Genius) have worked on – St Anthony and Live Forever. I shall also be performing a piece called My American Life (blogged earlier this month on here and performed with joe and the Festival Number 6 Ensemble in the town hall at Portmerion) while philip plays Metamorhosis number 2.
I’ve got to rush – i’ve got the biggest gig of my life in a few hours