Category Archives: This is_

STEP 2: HOW TO BREAK THE ICE (11 NOV 2016)

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We eva-furrerlook forward to the long-awaited UK premiere of Beat Furrer’s FAMA on Friday 11 November at St John’s Smith Square. Ahead of the immersive aural theatre experience, Eva Furrer, who performs the contrabass flute solo in FAMA this Friday, faced our quickfire questions. Read on to discover some interesting facts about the musician.

 

 

 

 

What do you regard as your greatest artistic achievement?
To be still hungry, interested and astonished about music.

What do you fear? 
To lose my curiosity and passion.

Which piece of music has had the biggest effect on you?
The music I was not allowed to listen to when I was young.

What’s the most unusual performance you’ve been a part of?
Playing Syrinx by Claude Debussy for my Tibetan Master, Tulku Lobsang Rinpoche.

What’s currently on your coffee table at home?
Always a flower from my garden.

What was the first recording you ever bought?
Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan.

Describe yourself in three words.
Not yet arrived.

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

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My son David.

Tell us your best musical joke.
Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny (Zappa).

STEP 2: HOW TO BREAK THE ICE (15 OCT 2016)

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Usually for this step, we would share with you a quickfire interview with one of the composers featured in the upcoming concert. On this occasion however, we have made an exception. In the run up to Saturday’s event at Kings Place, we have sourced this fascinating interview with a young Karlheinz Stockhausen.

The interview was conducted by members of the Society for the Performance of Contemporary Music in California and took place in  January 1967 in Karlheinz’s apartment. This was in the run up to a performance at the San Francisco Museum of Art which was held on 24 February 1967. The performance included the San Francisco premiere of KONTAKTE – one of the works that you will be able to hear performed by members of the London Sinfonietta tomorrow night at Kings Place.

STEP 2: HOW TO BREAK THE ICE (THU 13 OCT 2016)

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In Step 2 of our online guide to London Sinfonietta’s concert on Thursday 13 October 2016, we get to know composer Francesco Filidei with a quickfire Q&A. He’s a student of Salvatore Sciarrino, and one of the four generations of Italian composers whose work we perform in the concert.

Francesco FillideiWhat do you regard as your greatest artistic achievement?
The work I will do next.

What do you fear? 
Not to write music.

Which piece of music has had the biggest effect on you?
Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.

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

What’s currently on your coffee table at home?
My laptop and wine.

What was the first recording you ever bought?
The Beatles’ Let it be.

Describe yourself in three words.
This Is Impossible.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
Mario Bossi.

THIS IS JOSHUA BATTY

The London Sinfonietta Emerging Artist Programme is a unique opportunity for the next generation of exceptional musicians to get involved in the working life of the world’s leading new music ensemble.

Generously supported by the Mercers’ Company and the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, the scheme constitutes a series of professional experiences performing contemporary classical music: including a guarantee of two on-stage engagements as part of the London Sinfonietta’s season and working alongside the ensemble’s Principal Players.

Josh BattyOver the next few months, we’ll be talking to our Emerging Artists, to find out a little more about them and their experiences as part of the programme. First up is flautist Joshua Batty:

What do you regard as your greatest artistic achievement so far?
Being fortunate to meet, work and learn from such diverse people across the world and getting to travel to places I might have never got the chance to see all the while doing a job that I enjoy (mostly!)

Which piece of music or theatre has had the biggest effect on you as a musician?
I played Debussy’s Syrinx at a family funeral a couple of years ago; the piece has had quite a profound effect on me ever since. Also performing Gorecki’s Symphony No.3 in Katowice with the London Sinfonietta just 40 miles from Auschwitz and seeing the haunting and historic effect the music had on the audience – their appreciation was immense. 

What’s the most unusual performance you’ve been a part of?
Performing with the comedy duo Igudesman and Joo and having to run off the stage “crying” during a parody of Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto!

What’s currently on your coffee table at home?
My feet, a box of matches, orchestral music, and a thin layer of dust!

Describe yourself in three words.
Determined, Boisterous, Self-critical.

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
In another life, I would like to be a translator and interpreter. 

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My family and in particular my grandparents. They have all been so supportive and taken total interest in anything I’ve decided to pursue. 

What has been your most valuable experience during your time with London Sinfonietta on the Emerging Artist Programme?
Working with such experienced musicians on new contemporary music and seeing their attention to detail and level of commitment and concentration during the rehearsals and performances. 

What advice would you give to musicians starting their careers now?
Be yourself, support others and go for everything you can; if something doesn’t go your way, move on to the next experience and learn from it all.

Tell us your best musical joke.
So many apologies:
Q: Why was the former conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic always the first off the plane?
A: Because he only had Karajan luggage.

THIS IS ELLIOT GRESTY

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Thierry Fischer leads the final performance of this year’s London Sinfonietta Academy on Saturday 16 July. Coached by our Principal Players over an intensive week of rehearsals, workshops and masterclasses, the best young musicians – auditioned from colleges across the world – form an ensemble for a concert at Platform Theatre, Central Saint Martins.

We asked Academy Clarinettist Elliot Gresty to answer some quickfire questions in the lead up to the performance.

What do you regard as your greatest artistic achievement?
That’s a really hard question. One of the most rewarding and interesting things I’ve done was a piece I played in a composition concert at school. It involved (just like New York Counterpoint by Steve Reich) recording a ten part backing track and playing live over the top of it. It took a lot of time to put together but it was really worth it when it all came together.

What do you fear?
Being bored. I’m currently studying in London which is one of the most exciting places to be. When I go home I last about half a day before I get crippling bored and just want to go back. However there are advantages, such as being fed and not having to do all my laundry so I can’t complain too much!

Which piece of music has had the biggest effect on you?
For me it would be the first movement of Mahler’s First Symphony. I remember the first time I heard it, I got sort of tingles all over, I’d never heard any music quite like it.

What’s the most unusual performance you’ve been a part of?
There was one I did recently in Hackney. The venue was supposedly a theatre, but it was much closer to a shed with concrete floor and garden chairs for seats. One of the pieces involved some screaming and banging of household objects. It was good fun.

What’s currently on your coffee table at home?
Some crumbs and a plastic bag. (They’re not mine, I live in student halls)

What was the first recording you ever bought?
I think it was Queen Greatest Hits II. When I was in primary school I used to love Queen. I remember when I was doing my very first ABRSM exams I always used to listen to them in the car on the way to the venue, sort of as a musical pep talk.

Describe yourself in three words.
Sort of alright.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
I would say my first clarinet teacher. Coming from a non musical background she gave me so much invaluable support and advice. Without her I would never have had the confidence to go to music school when I was eleven.

Tell us your best musical joke.
Well, one of the funniest pieces of music for me is the last movement of Haydn’s String Quartet op 33 no 2. Haydn plays a big prank on the audience, ending the piece over and over again, each ending being separated by silence so no one has any idea when to clap. It’s really very funny.

THIS IS TOM COULT

We explore partnerships old and new in Duets in a Frame on Wednesday 1 June, with our 22nd commission from Sir Harrison Birtwistle and very first from Tom Coult – one of the most promising young voices of his generation.

Before we give the world premiere of Tom’s new commission Spirit of the Staircase he took some time to answer our quickfire questions:

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What do you regard as your greatest artistic achievement?
The music I feel most affection for tends to be measured in pages – sections of music between about two and four pages long. I can think of some examples in my recent pieces Codex (Homage to Serafini), Sonnet Machine, My Curves are not Mad and Beautiful Caged Thing. As a whole piece however, I think there is a clarity and precision about Four Perpetual Motions for 10 players (2013) – it does exactly what it sets out to do.

What do you fear?
That the effects of decades of neoliberalism – on equality, education, the public realm, human relations, labour, the arts – will prove irreversible.

Which piece of music has had the biggest effect on you?
Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

What’s the most unusual performance you’ve been a part of?
I’ve performed in a couple that were raided by police.

What’s currently on your coffee table at home?
Three candles (‘nah nah, three candles…’andles for threeks’), a copy of the Equity magazine, a small chicken figurine and a Harry Potter colouring book.

What was the first recording you ever bought?
I remember buying a CD by The Offspring quite early. The first classical CD was Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos played by Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields. Bach is still my absolute favourite composer, though my taste in performances have dropped by about a semitone since then.

Describe yourself in three words.
I
can
be
contrary.

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
I’d make clocks.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
Igor Stravinsky.

Tell us your best musical joke.
A diner is eating in an Oasis-themed restaurant and is served a starter of leek and potato soup. ‘Excuse me waiter,’ she says, ‘but in what way is this leek and potato soup related to Oasis?’.

Witheringly, the waiter replies, ‘You got a roll with it’.

THIS IS TANSY DAVIES

We explore partnerships old and new in Duets in a Frame on Wednesday 1 June at St John’s Smith Square, with our 22nd commission from Sir Harrison Birtwistle and 1st from young composer Tom Coult. Our partnership with Tansy Davies also goes from strength to strength, as we perform the London premiere of her piece Falling Angel.

(C) Rikard ÖsterlundTansy Davies

Ahead of the concert, Tansy took some time to answer our quickfire questions:

What do you regard as your greatest artistic achievement?
My opera Between Worlds.

What do you fear?
A lack of love for all living things.

Which piece of music has had the biggest effect on you?
Iannis Xenakis’ Jonchaies.

What’s the most unusual performance you’ve been a part of?
A recent performance of my song The Second Key comes to mind, with vocalist Elaine Mitchener, conductor Michael Finnissy, members of BCMG, CoMA players and myself on blues guitar.

What’s currently on your coffee table at home?
Georges Bataille’s Lascaux Or The Birth Of Art, and Hilma af Klint – A Pioneer of Abstraction by Hatje Antz.

What was the first recording you ever bought?
It might have been Now That’s What I Call Music II.

Describe yourself in three words.
Mercurial, stoical, giggly.

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

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
Prince.

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