Matthew Barley/Cellist

Music is the hidden arithmetical exercise of a mind unconscious that it is calculating.

Leibniz

In the Middle East

I’ve just arrived in Abu Dhabi where I have a kind of residency for a fortnight – doing a solo concert, one with Between The Notes, and also visiting various schools and colleges and helping the festival to coordinate all their education activities.

The festival here is looking very exciting, with Angela Gheorghiu opening tomorrow night, and all sorts of interesting artists coming over, including Karim Said, a fantastically talented young Lebanese pianist, and Naseer Shamma, the great Iraqi Oud player.

As part of the Between The Notes project, I’ll be working with a group of local young musicians which will be interesting – I have no idea what they’ll be like, or where from, or anything!

The recital programme is all the Bach solo suite preludes, interspersed with improvisations on my electric cello – probably the first time an electric cello has been here. Just did that programme for the first time in some French churches last week, and it’s very enjoyable to play; like an hour of meditation.