In the run up to our performances of Michel van der Aa’s The Book of Disquiet on Wednesday 24 & Thursday 25 February we are exploring the writing of Fernando Pessoa, the Portuguese poet on whose words the piece is based.

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From the US Premiere of ‘The Book of Disquiet’. Photo by Marina Levitskaya, courtesy of Peak Performances at Montclair State University.

When he died in 1935 he left behind a trunk filled with unfinished fragments – a treasure trove of scribbled anecdotes and idle thoughts. These included the pages that make up his posthumous masterpiece The Book of Disquiet, the autobiography of one of his many alter egos Bernando Soares, a Lisbon book-keeper.

“More than 400 texts make up The Book of Disquiet, a mixture of aphorisms and autobiography, philosophy and dream diary, which gradually coheres into a portrait of their solitary, misanthropic writer.” The Guardian

One of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century, Pessoa was a prolific writer both under his own name and that of 75 other imaginary characters. Inspired by this, we decided to go behind the scenes and reveal the many different characters, and alter egos, that make up the London Sinfonietta team. We asked them to answer any or all of the following…


  1. What pseudonym would you use?
  2. If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be?
  3. What’s your guilty pleasure?
  4. Tell us something about yourself that we would never guess.


Emeritus Principal Pianist John Constable
Joe Root and bat no.4 for England
3. Good food and drink.
4. I havent run anywhere since I left school as it was the one thing I hated doing.

Development Manager Harriet Findlay
1. Yaldnif Asiuol Teirrah
2. Beyoncé – so I could learn how to sing, dance and perform like Queen Bee
3. Hollyoaks

Council Member Régis Cochefert
1. Arthur Bling
2. James Bond
3. Chocolate
4. I trained as an Accountant

Development Assistant Max Heanue
1. Maria Hernandez 
Matthieu Ricard (The happiest man in the world)
3. Shakira
4. I eat around 6-10 satsumas a day (I don’t think it’s an addiction…)

Chief Executive Andrew Burke
 At the moment, Einstein.  Then perhaps I could fully understand Relativity.

Council Member Richard Lewis Jones
1. Roger Federer
2. Roger Federer
3. South Park (TV show)

Principal Violinist Joan Atherton
. I am a lifetime fan of Blackpool FC and attend their away matches in the south when possible.

An Anonymous Mother…
. For a proper sensory guilty pleasure: a single home-made fairy cake with buttercream icing and a glass of freezing cold dry white wine in the corner of a children’s party when no-one is looking
4. I do ballet classes every week

Got an especially good answer to one of the questions? We’d love to hear it. Email

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