The Solem Quartet spent two weeks in January 2015 at Snape Maltings (or as it was then, Aldeburgh Music), working on repertoire with Simon Rowland-Jones. Although the Manchester-based group had never been here as a quartet, Steph and Mike both performed in the Britten-Pears Orchestra in the past.
“It’s such an inspirational place to be! We’ve had so much time and so much space – headspace and physical space – to progress as an ensemble. Now we’ve all finished studying we have been applying for a lot of courses and projects, but we were invited to study and perform here. It’s great that Aldeburgh Music keep tabs on emerging ensembles and invite them for an opportunity such as this.
The most valuable thing we had was an incredible amount of time with our tutor, Simon Rowland-Jones. We’d only had one lesson with him before but when were asked who we wanted to learn with while were here, Simon was top of the list. It was a bit of a gamble as we don’t know him personally, but it’s turned out to be a real joy. Having the opportunity to rehearse in the Peter Pears recital room every day for 2 weeks has also been fantastic – we can tune the balance much better than we can in the flats and practice rooms we normally have.
One of our favourite things to do in Aldeburgh was to go the beach after our concert and sit on the scallop, contemplating the sea after playing Britten 1. It was really special feeling to be in Aldeburgh playing Britten by the sea when it was stormy and atmospheric.
We were planning on going for a swim all together after our first concert, but couldn’t quite muster up the courage to brave it. So we’re planning on going for a dip after our final concert, but it really depends on how heated it gets during the Mendelssohn!”