The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats - Albert Schweitzer. A man after my own heart.
At home, this last month has seen the death of Jo Cox, Britain's membership of the EU and the summer silly-season of politics. Abroad, horrors in Turkey, Nice, Orlando, Germany, Bangladesh - to name but a few. These are troubled times we live in and modern technology makes it hard to find a moment to switch off from it all.
Step into a concert hall. Turn off your mobile phone. Lose yourself in the music. This is the ideal time of year to be doing it - the BBC Proms are on until mid-September at only £6 a ticket and there are summer festivals up and down the country. You may choose to indulge yourself in the sorrows of a Requiem, or to try and raise your spirits being wow-ed by virtuosi. You may try and find the simplicity in a life that currently seems so complicated, listening to Schubert Lieder. I have tried all three in the last few weeks - each has offered its own form of relief.
Music has the power to transport us beyond the divide of politic, race, sexual-orientation, gender or belief. Perhaps my most memorable musical experience of this month has not been anything that I paid to hear, but watching the BBCSO open the First Night of the Proms with La Marsellaise in solidarity with Nice. That music said more than any speech, article or hashtag could ever say.
As a musician, I am very fortunate to be able to lose myself in the rehearsal room as well. I have greatly enjoyed starting rehearsals for a summer Lied studio and a French chamber music project simultaneously these last few weeks. I am very grateful to have colleagues who throw themselves into it with so much commitment and enthusiasm. In fact, there are few things that bring me more joy than working on music I love with musicians whom I admire, respect and enjoy the company of.
Except stroking cats. Of course.