No two months are the same at the London Symphony Orchestra. We recently caught up with James Maynard, LSO Trombone, to ask him some quickfire questions about what February had in store: from LSO Discovery online musical projects, to 'luge-style' sledging on a 50-year-old sledge!
James Maynard began playing the trombone in the Salvation Army and went on to study with Dudley Bright at the Royal Academy of Music. He has been Second Trombone with the LSO since 1998.
He is also active as a composer, having been commissioned to write a number of works mainly for brass. His most recent commission, Urban Variations, was written for trombonist Peter Moore's debut recital at Wigmore Hall.
What LSO projects have you been involved with in February?
Having had more time than usual, I've been extremely fortunate to be involved in many LSO Discovery projects this month: LSO Create for adults with learning disabilities, their carers and supporters, Shake, Rattle & Roll for babies and under 5s, and the LSO East London Academy, working specifically with young brass players from East London and using music for different styles of dances as the basis for coaching to develop their musical skills, technique and confidence.
I've also been involved in a new project for older adults running in partnership with the Claremont Project in Islington, LSO Connect, where we are bulding a series of pieces around the theme of ‘awakenings’, using poems and artwork created by the group as well as being inspired by the view outside everyone’s windows.
As a complement to this, I was involved in the forthcoming concert with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, which we recorded at LSO St Luke’s on 18 February.
Most memorable LSO moment?
Without a doubt, my most memorable moment has been getting involved in the LSO Create project, working online to create music alongside adults with learning disabilities. It has been a wonderful experience.
Using Ravel's Mother Goose and storytelling as the stimulus, we are creating a piece inspired by the the group's ideas of fantastical outcomes post-Covid – being able to take a deep breath and be transported to a different place, or flying around on motorised broomsticks, for example.
What piece did you most enjoy playing?
Bartók's Dance Suite is always very enjoyable, due to the imaginative sounds and colours in the music. It's part of the programme for the concert conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, which is available to watch from Thursday 4 March.
Have you done any other non-LSO work or projects?
I have continued with my weekly online teaching at the Royal Academy of Music, navigating the various bandwidths of students currently spread out around the world!
Any hobbies you’ve been enjoying this month?
Usually I would be cold water swimming regularly but this month many of my hobbies have come indoors, often with the focus on food and cooking.
Sounds delicious! Any recommendations?
What made you smile in February?
Watching my children on my 50-year-old sledge bombing through the snow on our road 'luge-style’ (and having a go too!)
And what are you most looking forward to in March?
Our local swimming lake reopening and the opportunity for my children to be back at school with their friends.