The London Sinfonietta will once again perform side-by-side with the Royal Academy of Music’s Manson Ensemble on Saturday 5 December, playing pieces by composing legends Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall.

Ahead of the concert we asked Manson Ensemble violinist Georgia Hannant and oboist James Hulme to answer some quickfire questions. Take a read of their highs, their lows and their best musical joke.


What do you regard as your greatest artistic achievement?

GH: My career is only just starting, but I think this would probably be the first time I led an orchestra. I didn’t have a large solo part, but I think for the first time I felt like I had a chance at doing my dream job.

JH: Playing live on the radio for the first time was a really special one for me.

What is your biggest fear?

GH: Not realising my potential.

JH: I love sport and I’m scared that one day I might get injured in a way that means I can’t play the oboe anymore.

What’s the most unusual performance you’ve been a part of?

GH: I took part in a concert for the President of Beijing at the Indigo at the O2 venue. I was leader of a string quartet who were accompanying one of the world’s best Chinese Pipa players. She was insanely awesome, but very modest. It was a really virtuosic piece and was a wonderful gig, but definitely out of the ordinary for me. We had to wait about an hour after we’d played to get up on stage for pictures and shake the President’s hand.

JH: I once played an opera outdoors, where the orchestra pit was literally a hole in the ground.

Which piece of music has had the biggest effect on you? 

JH: Beethoven’s 7th Sympony, without a doubt.

GH: Most recently it has been Franz Schubert’s last Piano Sonata. It had a massively profound effect on me. I am still so in awe of the piece that I haven’t been able to listen to it since the first time I heard it, for fear of losing the moment upon second hearing.

What’s currently on your coffee table at home?

GH: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

JH: A chess set – I’m terrible at chess and am desperately trying to get better so I can compete with my flatmates!

What was the first recording you ever bought?

JH: Lady Evelyn Barbirolli playing Handel’s Oboe Concertos.

GH: The first CD I ever bought must have been something awful like NOW41. First recording I ever listened to was a cassette tape of Nigel Kennedy playing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, which ironically feels a lot less embarrassing.

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?

JH: I almost went to study languages at University, with the hope of becoming an interpreter.

GH: I would want to be a professional seamstress working with costumes for stage and screen.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

GH: Sounds corny, but my Dad – for introducing me to music, singing and harmonising and for then supporting me, both emotionally and financially, to be what I want to be.

JH: Definitely my parents – they encouraged me right from the start and still do now.

Tell us your best musical joke.

GH: The UK Arts Budget.

JH: Want to hear the world’s longest viola joke? Berlioz’ Harold in Italy.

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