Back in 2008 I made my first visit to the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester, and was smitten. I got myself on the mailing list, and newsletters appeared from time to time. At the end of a missive promoting the 2012 festival in Hereford there was a call for expressions of interest in reviewing the event for classical music website Bachtrack.com. By now I’d penned articles galore about concert venues near and far, and was developing a taste for adding to my portfolio, so it seemed a perfect opportunity.
To apply, I had to submit a CV detailing my musical qualifications and experience, as well as a sample review. Lo and behold, they liked my take on an evening at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, and I was invited to join the accredited team, contributing reviews from January 2012 – January 2017. With a 48-hour deadline, reviewers had up to 800 words to play around with, roughly one third background information about the music itself and the rest a personal response to how the artists handled the performance. You could say quite a bit within that framework so there was no place for vagueness! In addition to the clear benefit of scoring press tickets to hear big names in fabulous concert halls, the role did wonders for my musical education as there was always plenty of scope for researching the works beforehand, and listening as actively as possible added a deepened dimension. Although by definition reviews were grounded in fact and opinion, the usual creative writing techniques applied, in that the reader must be hooked from the first sentence and drawn through original, flowing prose to the final full stop. If I could convey a flavour of the occasion, I felt it was a job well done.
Please find my reviews at:
Katherine has written several reviews for Bachtrack, all of which have been submitted on time (with a tight 48 hour deadline) and these have required very little editing, always conforming to the style we ask for.
Alison Karlin, Co-founder, Bachtrack
No longer reviewing, I now love to capture in words the serendipitous performances that coincide with holidays or musical events in which I’m lucky enough to participate. This is where there’s often an overlap with my travel habit! Currently I’m working on drawing together a host of stand-alone accounts into an anthology.
Please click on the links to read examples of my music-themed articles:
Breathe on a smile … singing in Dresden
Things are looking up – Venice … singing at Basilica San Marco in Venice
True North … a little bit of Scandinavia in Vancouver
In Assisi with the birds and the bees … what a glorious concert hall
Hot and cold in Krakow … above and below ground in Poland
Warming up in Avila … the importance of good preparation!
Katherine’s reviews of RCO ‘Sing!’ events are entertainingly written and capture the essence of each day with a light, precise touch. What’s more, copy was delivered on time!
Simon Williams, Director, RCO Academy
If you would like further information or have a reviewing or music-writing assignment in mind, please email firstname.lastname@example.org