|New Year Fireworks in London. Photo: PA|
JDCMB is my personal blog. I'm based in London, UK and I've been a writer and editor in the music business for about 27 years. My first music journalism job was as assistant editor on The Strad, way back when we still used cow-gum to stick down cut-out galley proofs. After that I was assistant editor on Classical Music Magazine for three years, persuaded the company to found the first independent piano magazine in the UK which I edited for five years, then went freelance, working for BBC Music Magazine, the British Council, the Guardian and others. I started writing regularly for The Independent in 2004. My first books were biographies of Korngold and Fauré for the Phaidon 20th-Century Composers series and my first novel came out in 2006, with Hodder. Ghost Variations is the fifth. I've written a couple of plays, words&music projects and an opera libretto for the composer Roxanna Panufnik, Silver Birch, coming up at Garsington in July. I regularly google 'How to become a plumber', but haven't enrolled yet...
I studied music at Cambridge in the mid 1980s, but my formative musical education happened in my piano lessons with Joan Havill at the Guildhall, playing in masterclasses and chamber music courses, listening to lectures by Hans Keller at the Dartington International Summer School, and some informal but crucial contact with a circle of extraordinary musicians in New York.
What happens on JDCMB? I started blogging in 2004 because the concept was new and thrilling. It isn't extensively planned. I write about things that seem interesting and try only to post when there's something worth saying. You'll find responses to news, the occasional artist interview, a concert or opera review now and then, sometimes an e-Q&A or guest-post from someone who's doing something noteworthy. I sometimes post about my own stuff, our opera, etc.
What JDCMB tries to do: JDCMB has been called "the voice of reason". I'd like to keep it that way.
What it tries not to do: porn, clickbait, jealousy, "stirring", comment boxes, giving platforms to hate speech, encouraging witch-hunts.
Excited by: really wonderful artistry, great music and writing, inspiration, idealism, creative thinking, and matters that help us live more fulfilling lives, from Mozart to heated blankets.
Bored by: concert-wear, gimmickry, mobile phones, crossover, marketing, toeing party lines.
Furious about: Brexit, sexism, racism, "post-truth" (it means "lies").
Aims: To uphold the artistic ideals I've been lucky enough to have in my life, but that might vanish under the morass without a positive effort. And to puncture the occasional idiocy.
You can get in touch by contacting my Facebook page. I'm available to provide talks, coaching, consultations, programme notes, articles etc.
Happy new year!