It’s amazing how two cellists can travel from distant points on the globe and manage to meet up, on time, in Kings Cross Station in the heart of London. And one of those cellists uses a rather battered flip phone to boot!

Nicola and I did meet! Both of us had enjoyed 3 hours of sleep each, so progress was not speedy, but it was accurate, and though physically taxing, as schlepping celli in big cities is, stress free.

Our first stop was lunch with Nicola’s old friend Rohan de Saram. Rohan is a cellist with a broad international career and an amazing person. He studied with both Cassado and Casals, he played for Kodaly and premiered Stockhausen, Berio and Xenakis,┬áhung out with Glenn Gould, and many others. He played with the Arditti String Quartet for many years, premiering a ton of new repertoire by international composers. I have to say, I love stories from these guys that rubbed shoulders with the greats!

Rohan is a passionate and very present artist, approaching a broad variety of music, from Beethoven to Cardew with a wealth of research, and knowledge. Everything seems to have an historical core, he really places pieces into a historical context. And he’s curious: He recently watched a documentary on Canada’s reconciliation process with Indigenous people, and he asked many questions about my impressions of that process.

What a great experience it was to spend time with him. Very inspiring.

Now Nicola and I have blearily navigated to our grotty Air B and B in Brixton, and we’re ready to begin our music together!