As the first entry to this blog, i might just cover a little about the preparations for this big trip as well as the first part of the trip itself. The aims of the blog are a little bit diary, a little bit help for future Fellows, and little bit creating the report i need to submit on the completion of the Fellowship.
At first, preparing for the Churchill seems quite easy. But then, as you try to co-ordinate meetings with people you first approached some months ago with a 'maybe' proposal, a complex web of possibilities and changes soon develops. In my case, i had to change the actual period of the travel, to fit in with other peoples schedules, but this also meant the trip became more expensive than the budget allotted to it. As a result, and due to some issues consolidating and confirming meetings, i cut Japan out of my original schedule, and, after much too-ing and fro-ing, manage to settle on a travel itinerary that included Stockholm, Visby, Rekjavik, London, Paris, Lyon, Chicago and New York over 6 weeks. I joined the Qantas club to make this gruelling trip easier, but was never able to find a Qantas fare that would fit the budget, so there must be a lesson in there, as you can only enter the club if you hold a Qantas ticket. Also, remember to tell your travel agent if you have seat preferences. They won't ask you.
As droll as this stuff seems, its quite key in getting you off with a positive start.
First stop was Stockholm! This was an addition after the fact, my host at the Visby International Composers Centre had organised some meetings with other like minded people for me there. I had a wonderful, if not jet-lagged-fuzzy three days of concerts, meetings, art and dinners. I had ambitously thought i could also some other work in my free time but that never eventuated, and i'm glad - i met some wonderful people and discovered opportunities that i will pursue in the future. Highlights were a trip to the EMS, who were celebrating their 50 years, so i was able to attend a great concert of works by residents. The wonderful Ylva Skog showed me around, and we even celebrated the sun with a beer on the street, with pianist Lisa Ullen who had shown me around Fylkingen. I also visited the music school, KMH where I gave a presentation and met several postgraduate students. I attended a concert of new works for Wind Orchestra at the Musikaliska, the oldest concert house in Stockholm. There was a room there named after my host at KHM, composer Karin Rehnqvist. She is the founder of Broom, an organisation set up to grow more representation of Swedish women composers in concert programs, as she says, for the benefit of everyone. We also attended the Dance Machines exhibition at the Moderna Museet together, a wonderful museum on one of the many islands in the Swedish archipelago.
Such wonderful, generous, friendly people: I found real kindred spirits here - even if none of these people mae music exactly as i do, it didnt seem to matter, we were all making music somehow, and had ideas to discuss.