Me on the right – with our jazz group on the scaffolding!
About three months after my partner, James, died in 2018 we held a celebration of his life at LSO St Lukes at which the violinist, Madeleine Mitchell joined James’ old friend Joanna MacGregor to play Messaien’s Louange a l’immortalité de Jesus Christ which James had recorded with them many years previously.
I had not met Madeleine before but it turned out that her daughter, Zerlina, had various food allergies and they had been subscribers to our FoodsMatter allergy magazine. A relationship established, a few weeks later Madeleine invited me to one of her Loft Concerts – small gatherings of playing and non playing friends in her flat in Bayswater. The playing friends played and the non players listened – and then we all shared a glass of wine, a snack and some delightful conversation. What a brilliant way to spend an evening.
At that point I was still living in James’ and my large Victorian house in Belsize park, which boasted a very lovely high ceilinged, wooden floored drawing room, ideally suited to small chamber concerts. I had already decided to sell the house but thought I could bid it a suitable farewell by staging a chamber concert in the drawing room – followed by a buffet supper. So, I consulted Madeleine and – Salon Music was born.
Our first concert – Madeleine and four of her colleagues – was held in June and was such a success that I managed to squeeze in another four before I packed up and moved to another large Victorian house in Highgate in February 2020.
I would not say that being able to continue to run concerts was my main motivation for buying a house, if anything, bigger than the one I sold – but it was certainly in my mind. And indeed we had out first concert planned for early April. But COVID 19 had other ideas. However, as you will see, we were not deterred and, along with the rest of the arts world, did our best to ensure that live music continued in some form or other.
Eighteen months on, the builders are still working on my new house but, thanks to the Highgate Festival in 2021, I have forged a relationship with the Highgate School Chapel and have been able to arrange an ongoing series of concerts in the chapel.
If you have any ideas for future concerts or wish to contact me about anything else please email me.