photo: Corinna Desch |
I write for and about music, dividing my time between fiction, stage works and journalism.
I contribute to the i, the Sunday Times, the Evening Standard, BBC Music Magazine and the JC, among others, and was classical music correspondent for The Independent from 2004 to 2016.
As a librettist I’ve written numerous texts for choral works and operas for the composer Roxanna Panufnik, including Silver Birch, commissioned by Garsington Opera and shortlisted for an International Opera Award in 2018. My libretti for two works for Garsington Youth Opera are based on stories by Oscar Wilde: The Happy Princess with composer Paul Fincham (2019) and The Selfish Giantwith John Barber, premiered in summer 2021 and going to its co-commissioner, Opera North, in 2022.
My novel Immortal (2020) is based on the latest research into the identity of Beethoven’s mysterious ‘immortal beloved’. Ghost Variations tells the astonishing story of the Schumann Violin Concerto’s bizarre discovery in the 1930s. Odette is a magical-realist modern fairy tale. Among my earlier books, Alicia’s Gift is about a child prodigy trying to grow up, and Hungarian Dances the saga of a family of violinists through the 20th century.
I often perform my own narrated concerts and concert dramas. Some are based on my novels, including Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved, Ghost Variations, Alicia’s Gift, Hungarian Dancesand Odette. Musicians I’ve worked with include violinists David Le Page, Fenella Humphreys and Bradley Creswick, and pianists Viv McLean and Margaret Fingerhut. Being Mrs Bach is a concert drama about the life of Anna Magdalena, with Steven Devine (harpsichord) and a choice line-up of colleagues.
Other work includes biographies of the composers Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Gabriel Fauré and a play, A Walk Through the End of Time, introducing Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time.
Work in progress includes a new book for the London Chamber Orchestra’s centenary-plus, for publication in 2022, and a biography of the great pianist Dame Myra Hess, for Kahn & Averill. A new opera with Roxanna Panufnik, Dalia, is in the pipeline for Garsington 2022 and a new narrated concert, Seeking Utopia, commissioned by the violist Shiry Rashkovsky, will coincide with the Vaughan Williams anniversary in 2022.
I was born within the sound of Bow Bells, studied music at Cambridge and live in London with my husband and two cats. I love theatre, playing the piano, cookery, hiking and deliciously obscure books about music.