Wednesday, 19 March 2014




Today's journey was from Glasgow to Stranraer. We were told to take the coast road as it would be more beautiful so we did. And it was. One of the most remarkable sights we came across was this small volcanic island that popped up on the horizon. Apparently it's for sale - anyone fancy a bit (actually rather a lot!) of solitude for £1.5m?

The venue for the evening concert was the cinema hall inside the local Leisure Centre. As unusual as that sounds were greeted with warmth and love for music, and with a little help from some well placed lighting we managed to create an intimate atmosphere for the evenings event. 

Afterwards we sampled some local food in the form of a Chinese meal (apparently the only good restaurant open late enough for us to eat post-concert in Stranraer!) and settled down in a beautiful little B & B.


Saturday, 15 March 2014



After a wonderful start to the tour in the beautiful town of Peebles last night, today we set off to Dundee. Upon arriving...the first port of call was to celebrate our cellists birthday (26 today!). A sampling of some fine Scottish Angus steaks was requested and so we enjoyed lunch in a restaurant along the Quayside. 

The meat:

Happy Violinist:

Our concert this evening was in the chamber music room at the Caird Hall in Glasgow. The backstage reminded us of a bygone era, with large rooms with chaise longues and very comfy sofas perfect for pre-concert naps. After the concert (tonight was Beethoven, Bridge and Brahms) we drove to our hosts to enjoy a beautiful dinner and perhaps a glass or two of Whisky..!





Here's a lovely photo of us and our page turner and her fan club after our concert in Peebles!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014


Currently flying somewhere over Milton Keynes we thought this would be the perfect moment to write the first diary entry of our Scotland Tour. As with every airport experience we have, the highlight is not the Duty Free, the exciting selection of caf├ęs or the extensive selection of beverages at the World of Whiskies (which we definitely didn't visit this morning), it is watching the horror and disbelief on the faces of all the business class passengers as Jonathan, cello on back, smug grin on face, gently waltzes past them at the gate to be boarded first on the plane. British Airways - 'cello class'. 

Tonight's concert, the first of 10 here in Scotland over the next 11 days, is at Music in Peebles. Perhaps the most active twittering concert organisation we've had social media contact with so far, we are very much looking forward to meeting the team behind the tweets in a few hours! Oh and some Haydn, Mendelssohn & Brahms too! 

Signing off from 30,000ft.


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Jacquins in Newtonmore Tour Day 6

Another early start had us on a train to Kingussie where we gave another Live Music Now concert in a care home, which was a lot of fun – Jessie’s vocal rendition of Summertime had everyone in tears… some day she’ll manage to sing it in tune!

After a spot of lunch and a quick catch up on the Olympic curling (#lovecurling), we had a short trip to Newtonmore for our last concert of the tour. We were met by our host Roy and shown to our lovely B&B accommodation. After a quick cup of tea, we headed straight up to the church to rehearse – no rest for the Jacquins! Charis did very well with the fourth upright piano of the tour, and Jessie and Zoe worked hard to try and avoid drowning her out! A glutton for punishment, the ever industrious Charis stayed behind after rehearsal to practice, while Jessie and Zoe headed for a pre concert power nap. After a quick meal in the Newtonmore Grill – a bizarrely American style truck stop with pretty good food, we got ready for our final concert. As we have come to expect, our contemporary works divided audiences the most, with one of our hosts announcing “If I was Schumann, I wouldn’t want that kind of tribute. It was horrible!” after our performance of Kurtag’s Hommage a R. Sch, but another audience member saying that the Huw Watkins work was his favourite in the whole programme. It’s been so interesting to see the different reactions to our more contemporary works in our programme. We’re delighted we’ve brought some music that might never 
otherwise made it to places like the Isle of Skye and Newtonmore – a reaction of disgust to a piece of music is as artistically important as rapturous adoration! After the concert we were treated to a little party, and had a great laugh with our hosts into the wee hours. Tired and bleary eyed, but happily full of a proper Scottish fry up (complete with haggis) we are finally making our way back down to London, where the scenery is certainly not as impressive, but the phone signal and wifi will at least make up for some of it’s greyness!

Thanks to all of our amazing hosts this week, and to the Tunnell Trust for a brilliant itinerary that saw us take in some of the most spectacular scenery the country has to offer, and play some great music to some very appreciative Scottish audiences.

Jacquins in Skye Tour Day 5

The next morning, we had a late breakfast, met the neighbours and were taken up to the spectacular views a few miles away of the parallel roads of Glen Roy. Breathtaking! In a moment of insanity, Jessie opted to run the 5k back to our host’s house – one of the most panoramic of Scotland’s jogging trails! After a light lunch we piled on to a Megabus for another spectacular journey to the Isle of Skye. Three hours later we emerged, blinking in the bright sunlight in Portree. We set up in the Fingal Centre, which was a lovely theatre…for lectures or plays. Unfortunately it was very dry acoustically, so we endeavoured to make the best of a bad situation! Piano on stage…piano off stage…standing on the floor…standing on the stage…a few hours later and some stage shifting we settled back on stage, where we first started! Thanks to the Fingal Centre’s Scott for his patience and stage shifting! Despite running at quite a low energy ebb, we managed to find some spark for our performance, which again was very warmly received! Another lovely post concert supper and glass or two of wine later accompanied by Jack the dog and our hosts Gill, Peter and Dominique we all fell into bed, ready for an early morning adventure on the island! The next morning we were taken on a tour of a local tannery called Skye Skyns, where we all came away with souvenirs  - Charis winning the shopping competition by bagging a beautiful sheep skin rug! We then went to Tigh na Drochaid care centre, where we had great fun performing a Live Music Now concert, alongside talented local piper Frieda McKiggan who is a recipient an award from Awards For Young Musicians. There was dancing, singing and percussion playing to beat the band!

A quick tourist trip around Portree and a bag of chips later, we were back on a bus headed to Inverness. Sad not to see the Loch Ness monster this time, as it was too dark and Jessie forgot her night vision goggles…