We're just under three weeks out from our tour, and two from our tour launch concert. And how are we feeling?
We (ambitiously) set out to go to 10 countries, do at least as many concerts, and commission 10 composers. So far we have seven concerts, one festival, six pieces, one draft, and at least nine heart attacks. But it feels good to be busy because we're crazy like that, and it's exciting that more things are happening than we necessarily expected.
Our lives are temporarily all emails, note-crunching and coffee as we get ready to go and, aside from the occasional (or perhaps regular) freak-outs, we're really excited! Whilst we aren't exactly strangers to having a lot on our plates, this project is by far the biggest we've ever taken on. It has really pushed us to maximise our efficiency as we attempt to juggle personal practice time, rehearsals, administration as well as our work and study commitments. In our attempts to increase the amount of time available for preparations, we've even cutback on Netflix (although we're yet to accept the fact we may need to consider cutting it out entirely) and have had meals delivered to our door more times than we would care to admit. We're constantly paranoid that we're going to forget something but so far we've managed to avoid any major disasters. Our flights are booked and our passports have been renewed (but only after a somewhat frantic trip to the post office last week after we realised we didn't have enough space left in our old ones) so, regardless of what happens between now and our departure, we're definitely going!
The new pieces have been rolling in steadily over the last few weeks and it's been really fun seeing what each composer has come up with. It's looking like the program will feature a wide variety of ideas and styles and should offer a great snapshot of contemporary Australian music.
As to be expected, there has been the occasional setback. To give you an idea, we had a concert cancelled out of the blue well after the dates and flights were confirmed because the venue has decided to shut their doors and another also cancelled because the venue has decided to renovate. We've also dropped the ball a few times too - a while ago we realised that we hadn't made contact with an organisation we're working with in nearly six months. Luckily in this case the performance is still going ahead! And while it would be easy to get frustrated when something like this happens, we find a quick faceswap can be all you need to lift your spirits enough to keep on keeping on.
All this being said however, overall we're really pleased with how everything seems to be turning out. It's been a hugely rewarding process so far seeing everything take shape and we're extremely grateful to all of the composers, venues, arts workers and organisations who have all played a massive role in this project. For now, it's back to the practice room but thanks for listening and, if you're in Melbourne, we hope to see you our tour launch concert on the 19th of May!