tue 26/05/2020

Classical Interviews

10 Questions for Amateur Musician Alan Rusbridger

Jasper Rees

Had we but world enough and time... A new book by the editor of the Guardian makes it clear quite how many hours in the day it takes to run a national newspaper in the digital age. There is the unyielding nature of 24-hour news, while the internet relentlessly asks grave questions of print media’s business model. Some editors respond to the job's demands by keeping obsessively fit, and then there is Rusbridger’s alternative guide to stress-busting: the piano.

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10 Questions for Opera singer Rolando Villazón

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Few singers provoke more debate than Rolando Villazón. His off-piste projects - from his Romantic exploration of the Baroque to his spell as a talent contest judge - have been much discussed over the years. By comparison, there's something strangely calm and conventional about Villazón's two latest projects: a new album of Verdi on Deutsche Grammophon and a performance of John Copley's La Bohème at the Royal Opera House. Yet you'd be foolish to ignore either.

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Sir Patrick Moore, Xylophonist and Composer

ismene Brown

The astronomer Sir Patrick Moore was a keen composer of decided musical preferences, and no mean xylophonist. The news of his death on Sunday reminded me of my hugely enjoyable encounter with him - for musical reasons - for the Daily Telegraph in October 1998, heralding the release of a recording of his tunes.

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Interview: Film composer Ilan Eshkeri

Peter Culshaw

At his studio near White City in West London (he did say it was Notting Hill) Ilan Eshkeri’s is adding a scratchy cello to a key moment in Ralph Fiennes film of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. It’s the moment the inhabitants of Rome realise that Coriolanus, an exile, is about to attack them.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Gustavo Dudamel

Jasper Rees

At the Royal Albert Hall one summer evening in 2007, a teeming ensemble of young South Americans served up a BBC Prom that is the most YouTubed classical concert this side of the Three Tenors. Under the baton of the compelling Gustavo Dudamel, an all-dancing, all-shouting account of “Mambo” from West Side Story has become the roof-raising sign-off of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, who last year dropped the word Youth from their name.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Countertenor Iestyn Davies

alexandra Coghlan

Recently hailed by The Observer as “today’s most exciting British countertenor”, Iestyn Davies is on a roll. Indeed, many critics would – and have – gone further, seeing this young British singer as the natural heir to David Daniels and Andreas Scholl, the pre-eminent countertenor of his generation.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Ilan Volkov

alexandra Coghlan

Relentlessly energetic, opinionated, and never less than passionate about music-making, Ilan Volkov is a close as you get to a prodigy in the world of conducting. Appointed as Young Conductor in association with the Northern Sinfonia at just 19, at 28 Volkov became the youngest ever chief conductor of a BBC orchestra, and almost 10 years later still continues his relationship with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra as their Principal Guest Conductor.

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Q&A Special: Arts Patron Donatella Flick

ismene Brown

Donatella Flick, one of Britain's most important arts patrons, is furious. "Madness!" she cries in her lush Italian voice. "This is a country that was fantastic, and now there's a demolition going on, bit by bit!" We're sitting in Sir Winston Churchill's old drawing room - now her drawing room - near Kensington Gardens, and I would give a lot to see David Cameron flinching on her huge black sofa as he got a withering dressing-down.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Arts Patron Jonathan Moulds

ismene Brown

Critical, urgent, hard - those are the three words used about the challenge to get the rich to pay more for the arts by the new man at the tiller. He should know. Jonathan Moulds, European President at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is one of the super-successful, super-wealthy financiers to whom the Cameron government is desperately looking to pick up the slack as they cut back public spending.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Stéphane Denève

David Nice

He's just launched the last of seven phenomenally successful seasons as music director of a transfigured Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Subscriptions for the Edinburgh and Glasgow concerts have doubled, attendances soared, and Stéphane Denève is a popular figure not just in the musical world but also in Scotland's wider cultural scene, not least as measured by his special guest appearance in the Sunday Post's long-running cartoon series The Broons.

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