Having landed from Hong Kong at 8am Monday morning, I had time to taxi home and spend a few hours with my family before heading to ANAM in South Melbourne for the first rehearsal of the Lutosławski Cello Concerto.

The Artistic Director of ANAM is Paul Dean, a clarinetist and composer of the highest order, and also one of the greatest people in the business despite stubbornly supporting the Brisbane Lions. Paul had approached me late last year about this concert and mentioned the Lutosławski concerto. The soloist was to be the brilliant Johannes Moser who is lighting up concert stages around the globe. Needless to say I jumped at the chance.

The concerto is notorious for being one of the hardest to conduct (let alone play) given the aleatoric construction, with many elements left to chance, and its fiendish rhythmic complexity. I remember colleagues of mine at the Sibelius Academy lamenting having come to grief on this work, so I was certainly keen to make sure I was as well prepared as possible.

I purchased a copy of the score and began my study process. I was very fortunate to meet the British conductor Ed Gardner in New York in December...