sat 24/10/2020

First Person

'This experience has revealed just how much I love music': pianist Paul Lewis on life in lockdown

As an instrumentalist, you can sit down and play music and escape from the stress. It’s a privilege to be able to do something that takes you to a different place – you’re removed from everything that’s happening. When you stop, there are reminders...

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First Person: Gabriel Prokofiev on 14 years of his Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra

For most people a turntable, or record player is used to play back old vinyls bought from a market or second hand store, or perhaps a carefully packaged reissue of a classic album. We gently place the needle at the beginning of the record and are...

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Tuning the focus inward: violinist Esther Yoo on performers facing their demons in a crisis

COVID-19 hurls the artist into the unknown. June is the time of year where I, like many, look back on everything I have accomplished over the last two quarters and look forward to my plans and goals for the next six months. As my birthday happens to...

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'If they had been any closer my face would have misted up': filming 'Men at the Barre'

“That’s Marcelino Sambé, he’s wonderful,” said the artistic administrator of the Royal Ballet as I followed her down one of the many corridors that weave throughout the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. “He’s a newly promoted Principal, a very...

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Avoiding meltdown from lockdown: Michael Chance on The Grange Festival's strategy for survival

Where to start? We at The Grange Festival began in mid-March (the 15th) with a letter to our company, all those few hundred who come and work for us during the festival months and who are all, almost without exception, employed on a freelance basis...

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'In a country of marvellous communicators': violinist Katherine Hunka on life with the Irish Chamber Orchestra

As a musician I spend so much time on the road that a day spent at home is a rarity. And now, with the restrictions we all face, and concerts an impossibility, I am becoming a keen gardener and making a lot of soup. It is also a time of reflection....

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First Person: CEO Stephen Maddock on the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's strange centenary year

This year was supposed to be so very different. For the best part of the last decade we have been planning a series of major events to take place in 2020 to mark the centenary of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Having often commented on...

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Waiving the fees: Rob Adediran on how London Music Masters’ Team Teach is responding to a crisis

Our brains are hardwired to respond to crisis by fleeing or fighting. Crisis creates fear and fear demands action so we protect ourselves by running from danger or battling against it. You can see these instinctive responses in the language of the...

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Joe Boyd's Recording Heaven

When it comes to making records, I love deadlines. Embarking on an open-ended project, particularly with the infinite number of overdubs made possible by ProTools, is my idea of hell. Back in the Nineties, I once spent an afternoon combining vocal...

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'Pause. Notice. Breathe': Elena Urioste on self-love in a time of coronavirus

In my second year as a violin student at the Curtis Institute, my right arm started going numb from my elbow to my fingertips on a fairly regular basis. It was rather like how your limbs feel right before they fall asleep: not full-on pins and...

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First Person: Electra Perivolaris on composing for BBC Radio 3's 'Seven Ages of Woman' project

My brief for this exciting and empowering project was to compose a new choral piece for the BBC Singers, to form one movement of a composite work, bringing together seven female composers spanning the generations of womanhood. The project offered...

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First Person: Hassan Abdulrazzak on the real-life drama behind American deportation to the UK

You are at a party having a good time when someone gives you a glass of champagne. You take one and then another and soon the party is over. You get in the car to go home and are driving along when you see a police car in the rearview mirror: how...

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