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Issue: October 2013 Newsletter
Movement and My Cello

By Matthew Barley
On October 31st I shall be coming back to Dartington to play a concert. It will be nearly 20 years since I took an ongoing group with Ya’Acov and Susannah in Dartington and it’s satisfying to reflect on the amount of creative growth and exploration, not to mention sheer hard work that has taken place since then.

On October 31st I shall be coming back to Dartington to play a concert. It will be nearly 20 years since I took an ongoing group with Ya’Acov and Susannah in Dartington and it’s satisfying to reflect on the amount of creative growth and exploration, not to mention sheer hard work that has taken place since then.

In 1995 I launched into the 5 Rhythms with a huge appetite and used the experience to examine what I was doing on the cello, why I was doing it, and how I wanted to proceed for the next steps in my career. I knew that I needed to rethink my whole cello technique in order to improve the standard of my classical playing but I also wanted to explore improvising more and begin to create more unusual programmes. 

The dance and movement work that I did that year was like a fuel injection that still lasts today – I remember two moments in particular. One was during a time when I was wondering if I should give up on my core classical repertoire and leave it to those with better techniques; Susannah put on the Elgar Cello Concerto and as we moved, tears pouring down my cheek, I realised I could never leave this world of classical music that is so very deep in my soul – I have never looked back since then. I was just going to have to find the discipline to work harder. 

Another was towards then end of a module and the whole group was clustered together like one giant breathing organism in the middle of the dance floor – and I was on the outside, my back touching the group, playing my cello, improvising and feeling an inexplicable sense of positive energy, that everything really could turn out the way I dreamed.

18 years later, and that includes years when I only took about 10 days off cello practice, often 4/5 hours a day, and many projects that have become increasingly daring with what I play and how I play it, it’s such a pleasure to return to the Great Hall – one of the country’s really inspiring venues for acoustic music – to bring back the fruits of these years.

The programme includes Bach, Britten (with an amazing animation on screen, synced to my playing by foot pedal and computer), Gavin Bryars, James MacMillan and a couple of pieces with electronics by Dai Fujikura and DJ Jan Bang. The concert follows a cycle of the soul, starting with pre-life, going through life, death, the afterlife and ending with resurrection. It’s a great musical journey to be taking on Halloween in a magical part of the world…and I shall be remembering with deep gratitude the gifts of Ya’Acov, Susannah and the mysterious world of ecstatic dance,

 

Click here for tickets, and here for Matthew Barley’s website

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www. schoolofmovementmedicine.com