From the 10-22 January this year, I was fortunate and honoured to be personally invited by the great cellist Julian Lloyd-Webber and his cellist wife Jiaxin Cheng to accompany them on the Queen Victoria cruise ship from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to perform some concerts together. It was in fact the second time I was with them - the first time was on the Queen Mary II ocean liner back in October 2015 on a transatlantic crossing from New York to Southampton in seven days. The experience was truly memorable and was cherished.
This time round, we repeated the same programme as we played the last time, including the 4th movement of Rachmaninov's Cello Sonata, Faure's Elegie as well as smaller pieces by Philip Glass, Andrew Lloyd Webber, William Lloyd Webber (the father of both Julian and Andrew) and Frank Bridge. This was the duo repertoire that Jiaxin and I performed together (Julian has retired from performing himself due to a tragic injury, so he was there to introduce each of the pieces we performed). Jiaxin also played two movements from Bach's Cello Suite no. 1 in G, and I also performed La campanella by Franz Liszt, and one of my most recent compositions - Ode to the Atlantic. This piece was composed on our voyage together on Queen Mary II, and was inspired by the beautiful and tranquil surroundings and views of the Atlantic Ocean.
I thought the concerts were a success, and we received overwhelmingly good feedback from enthusiastic audience members. The length of this cruise was for 12 days, which meant we had lots of time to meet and talk to some of the most diverse and fascinating passengers onboard. I have so enjoyed socialising and talking to so many people on both my voyages in a variety of different places on the ship: along corridors, at dining tables, at treadmills in the gym, outside on the decks, or even past the casino machines! It was lovely to chat to so many different people from literally all walks of life, as well as the other performers on board too.
However, it is a pity that I haven't managed to exchange contact details to keep in touch with some of the great passengers that I really enjoyed being with onboard. You know who you are! If you are reading this, you could contact me via the 'Contact' page on this website, and I will be delighted to hear from you and see how you're doing!
Now and here I would like to make a particular greeting to Nigel and Sarah, who had very kindly invited me to accompany them to visit one of the museums in Port Canaveral, and also eat some of the most fresh and delicious seafood possible in one of the many local restaurants! Remember those beautiful pelicans we saw? Wish they existed in England...anyhow, hope you're both enjoying your months in sunny Florida right now, if you both happen to read this, do please get in touch with me! Would love to hear from you again!