I first met the amazing Andrea Rauter in 2003. The Austrian pianist Isabel Ettenauer had invited me to Rutland Gate to rehearse a piano piece of mine that she was playing at Leamington Festival. In ACF's lovely basement, she introduced me to Andrea over coffee and biscuits. In that chat, it emerged that I used to sit next to Andrea's daughter Tanya many years before in the 2nd violin section of Brent Youth Symphony Orchestra. We also spoke about what ACF could do to help new music, and the idea of Soundings was born.
With Soundings, ACF London became something of a second home for both myself and a number of close London-based composer and performer friends, like Darragh Morgan, Mary Dullea, Rowland Sutherland and Loré Lixenberg. These were wonderful occasions, where for a couple of days at a time, we could rehearse, talk about music, and get to know one another in the informal, cosy and inspiring setting of ACF. Also, as I write this, the smell and taste of Balli's delicious Indian lunches returns to me! The Soundings return trip to Vienna was particularly special, with concerts at the beautiful Alte Schmiede. Soundings introduced me to a great number of Austrian composers and musicians, like Johannes Maria Staud, and lasting friendships formed.
ACF London also very generously agreed two album launches for CDs of mine. Firstly in 2008 and then in 2018. The photo here is from the later event, and in the photo are three dear composer friends, Andrew Hamilton, Laurence Crane, Errollyn Wallen and myself. Very happy birthday ACF London!! You really are a small oasis of calm and wonder there in central London.