Category: News

Sylva Winds Blog #3

The last few days have sped by!
We performed the 1st and 2nd Movements of Butler’s Down Hollow Winds (DHW) to the other ensembles in an informal concert and were treated to some classical string repertoire which we were totally inspired by in return.

We have had fantastic coachings from Tim Brown (and a surprise coaching from Johnathan Tunnell) and we are really looking forward to performing all our repertoire in the 3 concerts during the week.

(Photos taken by the talented Inis Oírr Asano)

We’ve had some turbulent rehearsals due to the atmospheric pressure and occasion rain affecting our tuning (especially the reed players), but we are always up for a challenge!
A very unofficial Grade 1-athon is well underway with intensive private lessons from every member crammed into the schedule each day. The new and improved Sylva Winds lineup is as follows:
Flute – Rowan
Oboe – Zoë
Clarinet – Guylaine
Horn – Drake
Bassoon – Yi-Hsuan
You can find a riveting performance of bars 1-4 of the 1st Mvt of Butler’s Down Hollow Winds on our instagram – @sylvawinds – and we look forward to having the chance to present this alternative ensemble to the staff and our colleagues here on Coll at the end of the week…
Three of us so far have purchased Tunnel Trust merchandise (photographed here) and plan on wearing it for the rest of the week, so you will spot it more often from now on!
Thanks also to Yi-Hsuan, who over the last few days has been another guiding influence  teaching Mandarin inflections and pronunciation alongside Alexander Technique to her willing students (us).
In other news Jonathan Fong from (Asaka Quartet) had a masterclass with Drake in stone skimming yesterday evening, which they both enjoyed very much – another crucial skill to pick up while on the island.

Tomorrow will be the last day of rehearsals before the concerts begin, and we can’t wait!

Ferrante Quartet

It’s been a busy time for the Ferrante Quartet as we were all performing solo recitals the week before we came to Coll. Rosie and Ellie actually had recitals the night before we set out! Due to the many rail strikes in London, our travel plans had to change and Susie and Maris found themselves on a 12 hour coach.

There were quite a few times we weren’t sure that the whole group would make it to the island! But we managed to meet in Oban where we spent a few short hours in a hostel before heading off in the early morning light to catch the ferry.

It was a long journey from London, but it was all worth it when we stepped foot onto the Isle of Coll and took in the scenic vista and the clean air. It’s been such a gift to get out of the bustle of the city and into the tranquility of this setting where we have the space to dedicate ourselves completely to our artistry. Surrounded by the countryside and fresh air, we are loving our first few days on the Isle of Coll. We’re staying all together in a lovely bunkhouse and rehearsing and having coaching in the An Cridhe community centre which has the hall where we’re going to be performing in later in the week. Every window has the most stunning views and the light and weather changes every minute!

Having formed recently, getting time to dedicate to playing together and growing as a quartet, away from our other student- and working- commitments, has been invaluable. With inspiring tutors to guide us through Quartet repertoire, the progress we have felt within our group, both individually and collectively has been amazing!

The music tutors have helped us to listen and work together, thinking about our collective musical ideas and intentions with phrasing. This, along with a love and enthusiasm for the repertoire has inspired us to continue working in this way as much as possible when we return back to London.

We have already learned so much about each other both personally and musically, and we can’t wait to show off our progress in the upcoming concerts.

#Coll-age #iloveColl #Coll-d #Coll-aboration #musi-Coll

Asaka Quartet on Coll!

Asakas enjoying the ‘mild breeze’

We’re the Asaka Quartet, from London, and we’re so excited to be here on the Isle of Coll!

It took us a whole day to get to Oban which the ferry to Coll departed from, on the next day after the  RAM Mahler 3 project led by our first violinist Iona! We spent a night there, woke up at 4.30 am in the next morning, with exhausting brains, painful butts and passion, we caught the ferry successfully. So here we are, sitting in the cottage on this lovely island, discussing our rehearsal, chatting about music making, oh, of course, cannot do anything without mario cart.

We absolutely love Scotland, not only because of the fresh tap water, also the mild breeze (as you can see in the picture we quite enjoyed that) We also enjoy life on the island very much. According to our new friend Jonathan Tunnell, islands like this are like a parallel worlds to the mainland. It has its ‘Coll time’. To be honest, I’m not able to remember what day is it today if I didn’t get the schedule. Hence I can’t imagine a better place to do a quartet course than Coll. All the trifles in hustle-bustle London are away from us. They don’t disappear, but at least we get a perfect place to get rid of them and just concentrate on our beloved repertoires.

It’s always been our quartet dream to have a whole week to ourselves where we can dedicate all energy to our playing. I’ve read about musicians who breathe and eat music, and I always wondered if I was supposed to be like that automatically to become a musician, but maybe all we needed was to breathe some air that wasn’t the toxic fumes of London’s most heavily polluted Marylebone Road. I love that here, we can talk about the imaginary ‘wedding scene’ in the slow movement of one of our pieces whilst eating amazing fish sandwiches and soup until we’re full and not until we have to go to our next classes. I love that everyone is so kind and warm and as happy as we are. For now, I have no desire to go back to London, but maybe after 10 days of no bubble tea and noodles, I might go crazy…


– Eriol and Inis Oírr, Asaka Quartet