Highest Violinist in the World

Motivated by unique challenges and with a passion for music and adventure, for many years I had held a vision of playing the violin on top of a mountain. So when I was planning an ascent of Imja Tse, just to the south of Mount Everest in the Himalayas, and was challenged to take my violin to the summit, I wondered if I could actually pull it off. With the trip almost upon me it was certainly going to be a challenge, but after a quick flick through the record books, I discovered that if I succeeded, I would break the record for the world’s highest ever concert on land.

After flying into the mountains via the infamous Lukla air strip, a couple of weeks trekking and acclimatising to the altitude, I arrived at the base camp for Imja Tse along with a team of others. Setting out at 2am in the dark two days later, we headed to the top with a day’s supplies and a violin donated for the trip. As the sun rose we reached the foot of the glacier, where after fixing crampons on a narrow ridge, we headed over and around the crevasses to the foot of a large ice wall.

Now divided into two groups, unfortunately it was here that a major problem arose. As the first half of the group headed up the ice, another climbing team found themselves coming down on the same rope. By the time everybody had negotiated each other and the second climbing team had cleared the ice wall, the first group in my team had already summited and needed to come down. As Guinness World Records required an audience of ten, sadly it meant that there would not be enough people to watch me in order to claim the record. Having come this far though, I still headed up the knife edge ridge to the summit at 6,189m (20,305ft) to complete the challenge, raising money for The Classic FM Foundation. And though the highest concert has now been set at 6,654m, I remain the only violinist to have performed at such an altitude on land.

Now divided into two groups, unfortunately it was here that a major problem arose. As the first half of the group headed up the ice, another climbing team found themselves coming down on the same rope. By the time everybody had negotiated each other and the second climbing team had cleared the ice wall, the first group in my team had already summited and needed to come down. As Guinness World Records required an audience of ten, sadly it meant that there would not be enough people to watch me in order to claim the record. Having come this far though, I still headed up the knife edge ridge to the summit at 6,189m (20,305ft) to complete the challenge, raising money for The Classic FM Foundation. And though the highest concert has now been set at 6,654m, I remain the only violinist to have performed at such an altitude on land.

Limelight Magazine
Strad Magazine

Extracts From the Blog

Touchdown
The Ascent