fri 24/05/2019

Classical Interviews

'For classical musicians, Radiohead are the band'

alexandra Coghlan

The first time I interviewed Richard Tognetti he told me a story. Prior to touring the Australian Chamber Orchestra to Japan, the group’s leader and artistic director was discussing publicity with a local PR. Faced with disappointing ticket sales he asked for advice. The response? Remove two letters from the orchestra’s name and transform it into the Austrian Chamber Orchestra – problem solved.

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10 Questions for Soprano Sandrine Piau

Sebastian Scotney

French soprano Sandrine Piau, born in 1965 in a south-western suburb of Paris, has an agile, supple voice. It soars, so critics reach readily for all those bird metaphors: nightingale, sparrow, "she leaves the earth on wings of song" and so on.

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10 Questions for Conductor Vladimir Jurowski

Jessica Duchen

The Russian conductor Vladimir Jurowski, chief conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, heads its major new series devoted to the music of Sergei Rachmaninov, in context with his forerunners and successors.

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10 Questions for Horn Player Sarah Willis

Jasper Rees

Sarah Willis's day job is as a member of the horn section of the Berlin Philharmonic. In recent years she has also become a roving ambassador for the instrument and a familiar face presenting and interviewing on the Berlin Phil's Digital Concert Hall. In 2010 she released her first solo recording, of the Brahms trio for horn, violin and piano. That combination of instruments is once more the foundation for her second solo CD. But there all similarities end.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Anne Schwanewilms

David Nice

She is now the world’s leading interpreter of Richard Strauss’s Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, the aristocratic thirtysomething once forced into marriage with a far from ideal husband and determined not to let it happen to the sweet girl who falls for her own much younger lover on first sight. As a happily married woman, Anne Schwanewilms has no need of 17-year-old boys, and in her vocal prime she can have no regrets about ageing beautifully, but she shares both the Marschallin’s...

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theartsdesk Q&A: The Hilliard Ensemble

Matthew Wright

The sophisticated and exquisitely crafted sound of The Hilliard Ensemble has, over the past four decades, become one of the most distinctive pleasures on the choral scene. One of the several pioneers of the medieval and Renaissance repertoire to emerge in the Seventies, The Hilliards have, nonetheless, made this music their own, their glistening sound offering a more contemporary aesthetic than that of historically-specialist period performances.

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theartsdesk Q&A: violinist Vadim Repin

David Nice

When I last saw Vadim Repin in action, he was premiering a work of terrific energy and invention which is here to stay, James MacMillan's Violin Concerto.

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10 Questions for Cellist Oliver Coates

joe Muggs

Oliver Coates is the very model of a modern musical generalist – able to jump, or ignore, the boundaries between musical categories yet retaining deep understanding of the nuances of each category or genre. He has feet firmly in both the concert hall and the artier side of the electronica world, and has collaborated broadly over recent years – though is only now emerging as a solo artist.

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Wagner at the Proms remembered

David Nice

This summer, the Royal Albert Hall became the centre of the Wagnerian universe. No one was going to ignore Bayreuth, where Frank Castorf‘s new Ring gave plenty of fuel for column inches; but somehow the singers and the orchestra seem to have got lost there among all the apparently uninterpretable stage paraphernalia.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Mezzo-Soprano Joyce DiDonato

alexandra Coghlan

She’s the Kansas mezzo-soprano whose ruby slippers have now taken her across the globe, singing in all the great opera houses, but who has never lost the common touch. She’s not a diva, she’s a “Yankee Diva” – a contemporary creature who would never dream of throwing a tantrum or cancelling at short notice. She's Joyce DiDonato.

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