Glasgow Reunion....A Spooky Hallowe'en Special

We were delighted to have been reunited in Bonnie Scotland this past week for some concerts in our home city of Glasgow! With Ana flying over from Granada and Rhiannon from Den Haag, we couldn’t wait to get back on the Genovia train with some exciting concerts in some very lovely venues.

On Friday 26th October we performed twice at the Glasgow Cathedral Festival - a really exciting young festival set in the iconic Glasgow Cathedral with its spectacular gothic architecture.

We were lucky to give two concerts in the cathedral itself. Firstly at 11am we gave a private performance for the primary children of Royston School who were very welcoming to us, and we taught them about the bassoon and the amazing sounds it can make! They particularly loved the jazzy Raymond Scott pieces we performed….(who wouldn’t?? They are so catchy!)

Time for a quick hot coffee before we performed a lunchtime recital open to the public. They came in their numbers despite the cold frosty weather to hear us perform some of our favourite pieces - including Mozart’s Magic Flute Overture, Khachaturian’s Lullaby and of course Pato, Pato!

It was lovely to see not only some of our regular concert attendees, but also some families who didn’t even know there was a concert happening and got a lovely bassoony surprise! Thank you to all the staff and audience at the Cathedral Festival who made our day really special.

The next day we were treated to a lovely home cooked curry by our mentor/bassoon mother/her royal highness Alison Green…always nice to get all the bassoon chat with a wee cheeky wine!

We spent the next couple of days preparing some brand new repertoire for our concert at Merchant’s House on the 31st. We were particularly excited to have contrabassoon involved in this next concert, as we are fortunate to have a very talented contra player in the quartet - the wonderful Rhiannon of course. We put together some new arrangements of the ‘Peer Gynt’ suites by Grieg, although it was not easy to play ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ with a straight face…the contrabassoon really is the devils’ instrument, which makes it even more perfect for a Hallowe’en concert. We even spent an evening rehearsing in Rhiannon’s family home where we got to meet little Harry, the newest, fluffiest addition to the Carmichael clan!!

Finally, Wednesday arrives! We were so excited to return to the Westbourne Music concert series after the fun we had in our 2017 debut recital there, and the day did not disappoint. The audience at Westbourne is always so welcoming and positive, and it was such a pleasure to showcase our work from the past week to keen eyes and ears. We performed some new arrangements, including the Peer Gynt Suite, some Georgian folk music and more Raymond Scott tunes….with added Hallowe’en accessories and squeaky toys! (videos to follow……)

Many people commented on how much they enjoyed the variety of music that we performed, which was wonderful to hear. We love the sound world of the bassoon and all the diverse characters you can create, which is why we are constantly exploring new styles. Having the trust and support of your audience is such a great feeling and helps us to put even more heart and soul into the music, so thank you all for letting Genovia Quartet take you for a crazy bassoony Hallowe’eny ride!

Sadly Ana and Rhiannon are jetting off again, but don’t despair as Victoria and I are busy preparing for some upcoming Genovia Duo concerts! Check our ‘Calendar’ page to find events near you.

Hope you all had a lovely Bassoonwe’en!

Gillian x

Genovia on Tour: The Tales of Granada

Chapter Two: Our Spanish Debut

Churches, Siestas and Homemade wine...

August 22nd 2018

Concert day in Galera! We woke up feeling well rested after a lovely sleep in our cuevo (cave) and had coffee and breakfast outside on our patio, including some delicious cake baked for us by Ana’s mother!

We began rehearsals straight away, playing some of our absolute favourite pieces in preparation for our Spanish debut in the local church of Galera. Our excitement was obvious straight away - being apart for several months it’s clear that we are addicted to playing in Genovia Quartet…after some joyful and intensive music-making we sat down to lunch, and we were delighted to be joined by Ana’s sister Irene who also happens to be a very talented oboist!

After a wee siesta (mostly for the benefit of the Scottish contingent) we headed to the church for a short rehearsal. Our cuevo was ‘nearly’ within walking distance from the church but Ana’s father was kind enough to ferry us back and forth between rehearsals and meals. After a quick dinner and just a smidgen of reed stress(!), we donned our all blacks and headed to church for our performance.

The church was absolutely packed to the brim with excited locals who were so warm and welcoming to us. We played some of our favourite pieces including some classical rep by Verdi, Sibelius and Prokofiev and some of our favourite Raymond Scott tunes which brought the house down!! Rhiannon and I even introduced (attempted) pieces in Spanish which went down a treat.

We were delighted to receive a full standing ovation, so it felt only right to treat our amazing audience to one more tune - ‘El Gato Montes’, one of the most famous pasodobles in Spain. One sly audience member caught this on camera….


After the concert we joined Ana’s family and friends for some tapas and ‘tinto’ (red wine) and we were offered a discount for our drinks if we played again in the bar….well, who are we to say no?

After a most fantastic evening in Galera, we got driven home (with me in the baby seat) and went to bed a very happy Genovia Quartet indeed.



August 23rd 2018

For our last day in Galera, we began with a relaxed brunch at the cuevo before heading to ‘la piscina’ (swimming pool). We then visited Ana’s grandparents and other family who live locally (including Sultan the dog). After a siesta, we headed to our friend Javi’s house for what we thought was a small glass of his homemade wine…which turned into a huge dinner party with lots of friends, family, bilingual singing and laughs! See below….

We couldn’t have felt more welcome during our time in Galera, not only from Ana’s amazing family (who cooked all our meals for us) but from all the local people - young and old - who turned out in their numbers to support us and encourage us in our Spanish debut. We feel extraordinarily blessed by the amazing welcome…and the mayor even invited us back for Christmas!

Galera, this is not the last you will see of Genovia! Watch this space….

Blessings to all your reeds,

Gillian x


P.S. Cuevos in Galera are available to rent all year round - we cannot recommend highly enough!! Such a beautiful village <3

Genovia on Tour: The Tales of Granada


Chapter one: Arrival in Galera

Two Spanish, two Scots, four bassoons and a cave

August 21st 2018

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After a very long bus journey we finally arrived in Galera around 8pm. We had been catching up during the entire trip and felt incredibly excited to be reunited in Spain. Ana's family were waiting for us at a wee bus station and  kindly offered to help carrying our luggage. Once we had packed our suitcases in the cars (and of course, our bassoons)  we headed directly to the place that would be our home for the next three days. The views from the vehicle were outstanding. Galera's landscape was just like we imagined: despite the dryness of the mountains, there was a lot of fauna and flora surrounding the area: tall palm trees, colourful flowers, stoned fountains, and of course, every single house and building was painted in white. It was simply beautiful. Finally, after a very quick and bumpy ride we arrived at our destination. Once we got out of the car we could not believe our eyes. Ana's relatives were giggling and smiling, contemplating our reaction. And that's when Ana's  father went ahead and announced: 'Okay girls, this is your cave'. 


Casa - cuevas (house - caves) are very traditional in the region of Granada and considered a popular attraction amongst tourist. The temperature inside is nice and cool, which is very inviting in the summer holidays (specially if you are going to rehearse inside with your bassoon quartet!) Some of our favourite 'cueva moments' include: eating breakfast outdoors, post rehearsal siesta time, preparing coffee with a Bialetti and watching the stars in the cool evenings! Apart from experiencing a wee encounter with a little arachnid neighbour (R.I.P. Bilbo the spider) we had a peaceful and very fun stay at our cueva! We are really grateful to the people of Galera who made this possible (muchas gracias, Miguel Angel) and we are really looking forward to coming back in the future <3 


Victoria Lopez