sat 19/09/2020

Classical Interviews

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.


Q&A Special: Pianist Barry Douglas

ismene Brown

The Russians have always been particularly picky about the playing of the piano. Chief among the piano gods on the 20th century’s pantheon are Richter, Gilels, Horowitz - and even now names such as Ashkenazy, Kissin, Sokolov still elbow out many of the European and American names in the public consciousness. There remains a powerful mystique about Russian piano-playing.


theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Susan Bullock

alexandra Coghlan

It may have taken her until 2005 to get her Wigmore Hall debut, until 2006 to break onto the stage of the Royal Opera House, but at 53 Susan Bullock has finally arrived, claiming the crown of soloist for this year’s Last Night of the Proms, a firm foothold at Covent Garden and her rightful place as Britain’s finest dramatic soprano. For a singer who “started singing by mistake”, whose musical training began in a council house in Cheshire on a piano rescued from the local rubbish dump, it’s...


theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Neeme Järvi

David Nice

Honour your senior master conductors: there aren't so many of them left now. Abbado and Haitink spring most readily to mind, but orchestral musicians may also nominate Neeme Järvi, who celebrated his 74th birthday last week. A passionate patriot and the man his country voted "Estonian of the Century" in 2000, he proudly sports the colours of the national flag in concert attire by virtue of a natty added blue handkerchief.


theartsdesk Q&A: Trumpeter Alison Balsom

Jasper Rees

A tall and exceptionally striking Valkyrie of a blonde, Alison Balsom (b 1978) is the polar antithesis of a hard-drinking, slightly tubby, very male trumpeter from central casting. For the photoshoots which fetch up on her CD sleeves, and public performances such as Last Night of the Proms in 2009 and this month’s Classic Brits, she pours herself elegantly into a series of dresses in the style of a hot young violinist kidnapped by the marketing department. But there is of course a great deal...


theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Andrew Litton

David Nice Maestro of the Bergen Philharmonic, Andrew Litton