About Lowri Blake
As cellist, singer, broadcaster, teacher and director of Cellos at Belle Serre, Lowri Blake enjoys a particularly diverse career. As soloist, Lowri has broadcast over one hundred and fifty recitals and concertos on BBC Radio and Television, including televised performances of the Dvorak cello concerto, Vivaldi concertos and music by Peter Sculthorpe. She has appeared as soloist with major British orchestras including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and BBC Concert Orchestra. Lowri has given many solo recitals in the Wigmore Hall and South Bank Centre in London, and other major venues in Europe and the USA.
Lowri has made numerous recordings – her CD of Saint-Saëns’s sonatas for Etcetera received a Diapason d’Or. Her own label Lowri Records shows the diversity and eclecticism of her musical interests, with the pairing of Bridge’s cello sonata with her own transcription of Elgar’s violin sonata; a collection of pieces for cello and harp entitled Song of The Black Swan; a mix of contemporary British and Australian music for solo cello including works commissioned by Lowri called Captain Cook’s Cello; The 1948 Sonatas (sonatas by Carter, Myaskovsky and Poulenc), and Visible Bass Line, performing music composed and arranged for A Man, A Woman and A Double Bass. With bass player Peter Buckoke, Lowri sang and played the cello (mostly simultaneously!) in this much-loved classical cabaret duo – from its beginnings in 1980 until their final show in 2006, Lowri and Peter entertained audiences at major festivals and on BBC Radio with their mix of classical and contemporary compositions and commissions, interspersed with jazzy arrangements of Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Hoagy Carmichael favourites, to name just a few, in an original and witty cabaret setting. Their other recordings include Scotch and Soda and Three For The Price Of Two!.
For many years, Lowri was a writer and presenter of features on BBC Radio 3 and she also presented the popular series Page to Performance on BBC Radio 4.
Until her move to the south of France in 2005, Lowri was Professor of Cello at the Royal College of Music and at Trinity Laban in London. She maintains strong links with the UK conservatoires as an examiner of degree and post-graduate recitals. From her home in France, Lowri now hosts and directs Cellos at Belle Serre, a series of courses and master classes which attract cellists from all over the world. She also runs cello days and master classes abroad, in Holland, Spain and the UK, and has been invited to teach at the Music Festival in Tenerife in February 2019 (https://www.musicfestivaltenerife.com/).
Lowri has given concerts in many parts of France, from Paris in the north down to her own region, the Tarn in the south-west, including the première in Castres and Albi of Réalmont – based composer Pierre Caner’s concerto Prisme for voice, cello and orchestra.
Lowri on teaching
Learning how to teach, and teaching how to learn, are skills that have greatly informed my own cello playing, and teaching has always played a significant part in my musical life. I learned as much about teaching as I did about performing from my own teachers, Prudence Ashbee, Christopher Bunting, Jacqueline du Pré, Johannes Goritzki, and from composer Hugh Wood with whom I studied Music at Cambridge University.
Until my move to the south of France in 2005, I was Professor of Cello at both the Royal College of Music and Trinity College of Music in London. I maintain close links with the UK, visiting regularly to examine degree and postgraduate recitals, and I have a busy private practice of students in London. Here in Castres, where I live, I work with students from all over the world, who come for periods of intensive study and for the summer courses. I welcome all ages and abilities: amateurs, students and professionals.
My key aim as a teacher is to inspire students to open up their imagination, to develop their love of learning and sense of curiosity, and their enjoyment of exploration and discovery as musicians, not only for greater musical awareness and expression, but also for acquiring technical mastery.
Inspiring confidence is paramount; I encourage students to learn from their mistakes and to make them freely, rather than being fearful of them and creating unnecessary tension – we are often at our most creative when we use these errors as points of departure to explore, to find a better way.
Playing an instrument is all about balance, movement, energy and freedom: a balance of tension and release both physically and musically, which in turn requires freedom of movement and freedom of expression, harnessed with good mental and physical energy.
Open up your imagination, and see where it takes you – it’s a constant development, a never-ending journey, and a very exciting one too!