tue 26/05/2020

Classical Interviews

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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10 Questions for Conductor Marin Alsop

alexandra Coghlan

Marin Alsop may be one of America’s leading conductors, with stints as music director of the Colorado, Eugene and Richmond symphony orchestras, not to mention positions at the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, and of course her current roles at the head of the Baltimore and São Paulo State Symphony orchestras, but apparently none of that is as important as the fact that she’s a woman.

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Rhapsody! How to programme a Hollywood Prom

David Benedict

Fingers on buzzers: which piece of music at this year’s Proms boasts a percussion section including glockenspiel, xylophone, five pitches of cowbells, car horn, taxi horn, anvils, revolving door noise, smashing glass, bubble-wrap-popping, pistol-shot and elastic band? OK, here’s a clue: it’s by Scott Bradley (1891-1977). Who?

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10 Questions for Semyon Bychkov

Jasper Rees

By the time silence descends on the Royal Albert Hall at five o’clock in the afternoon for a performance that will end six hours later, Semyon Bychkov will have been rehearsing for 60 hours. It breaks down into four days of orchestra readings, with tutti and sectional sessions for each act, then two days of the singers and a pianist, followed by six days of everybody together. And all for one performance of Tristan und Isolde with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

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Sir Richard Rodney Bennett: The Last Interview

John Harle

On Christmas Day last year, we lost Richard Rodney Bennett, a composer and performer who bridged the worlds of classical, jazz and film music with a suave nonchalance that came from inner confidence and a belief in hard work. He and I met for lunch in the summer of 2012 at The Fountain Restaurant in Fortnum & Mason.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner

alexandra Coghlan

It’s only fitting that Sir John Eliot Gardiner should be celebrating his 70th birthday with a concert in the Royal Albert Hall. That it should be a nine-hour marathon of a concert is not only fitting, but entirely predictable for a musician who has always kept one eye on the next and biggest challenge.

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Q&A Special: Conductor Sir Simon Rattle

Jasper Rees

Sir Simon Rattle (b. 1955) and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (est. 1986) have been together from the beginning. Founded by period-instrument musicians eager to run their own affairs rather than play obediently for conductor-managers like Christopher Hogwood and John Eliot Gardiner, the OAE invited Rattle to conduct a concert performance of Idomeneo in that first year.

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