Growing up in Australia, playing the Baroque oboe was a novelty and my friends predicted that of necessity I would live overseas. I ended up doing that for much of my career. Studies in Holland, and later in the U.S. with professional work over a twenty-year period in France with the opera company Les Arts FLorissants meant flitting countless times across the Atlantic. Music has also taken me to many exotic places. I got to play chamber music on an Australian sheep station, Bach in a village in Colombia, opera at Versailles for Mikhail Gorbachev and François Mitterrand, but it’s always a delight to when colleagues visit Leon and I at home to recharge between gigs.
Ours must be one of the few row homes in South Philadelphia with a harpsichord. It’s tucked away in a cozy room with plenty of light from a south-facing bay window, and there’s just enough room for the five memberss of Kleine Kammermusik to rehearse. Music invades the house. Upstairs in what we’ve coined the “oboe cloud” I leave my musical researches, and modest but informative collection of historical oboes, and we can listen to recordings in the living room while preparing dinner. Luc the cat takes it all in his stride. Unperturbed by strangers in the house, and seemingly oblivious to the strange noises that emanate from double-reed instruments, he either sleeps through the cacophony of our warm-ups, or plays with his toy mouse, or gives an inquisitive tug to the strap on a visitor’s back-pack.