As I am writing this, I am looking out into my garden. After a recent visit by my mother my very well-established garden had a major upgrade. This came in the form of vast amounts of plants and bushes being ripped out and fresh new members being welcomed into the soil. One more significant part of this process involved pruning of trees that had grown so big that the roof of my house was in danger. What I see now seems so empty and almost naked compared to the lush and full feeling the garden had before.
In life and as I am realising more and more in my career, pruning and cutting back is an essential part of renewal. It also stimulates growth and enables new ideas to flourish. For most concert pianists the idea of a sabbatical or taking things slower for a while is the same as a memory lapse: it fills you with fear. How will I live? Will agents and audiences forget me? Is this career suicide?
I look forward to wonderful performances for the rest of 2018, but feel very aware of the limits of creative output as pianist, composer, arranger and concert manager. Being able to produce the the same high standard of work 365 days a year has both physical and mental implications, and in order to respect the audience and my fellow musicians I am entertaining thoughts of taking a break. It might just remain a nice idea or become an inevitability. Only time will tell.