tue 28/06/2022

First Person

First person: Ukrainian violinist Valeriy Sokolov on performing while his homeland is destroyed

A fortnight ago I performed Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with the Aurora Orchestra, joining them and their Principal Conductor Nicholas Collon in Cologne. Tonight we shall present the same programme at the Royal Festival Hall. These are my first...

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First Person: director Richard Wilson on a musical midsummer night film premiere

In today’s near-normal times it is easy to forget how hard COVID-19 had hit the music industry, especially for touring orchestras like the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Masked, socially-distanced performances; streamed concerts from empty...

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First Person: composer Gavin Higgins on his new cantata 'The Faerie Bride'

I was a strange child, I didn’t really fit in. I would twitch and distort my face into awkward shapes. I obsessively bit my fingers and knuckles till they bled. I collected leaflets and piled them high in neat stacks in the corner of my room. I was...

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First Person: folk violinist István 'Szalonna' Pál on true Magyar style

There's a famous saying that Hungarians are in the middle of Europe. From the West, we have Bach and Palestrina holding our hands; from the East, the Caucasian Turkic peoples. Other nations still need 1,000 years to understand what it means to be...

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First Person: Christina McMaster - seeking musical cures for modern malaise

In 2020, during a gentle easing of lockdown restrictions, I was asked to play for the Culture Clinic sessions at Kings Place, a creative initiative where small groups of up to six people could book a ticket for a private, personally tailored...

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'How that music was created remains to me a complete mystery': John Tomlinson on fellow Lancastrian Harrison Birtwistle

It has been a difficult couple of years for us in the world of opera, losing several of our most respected and admired colleagues who have inspired us over several decades. The names of Harry Kupfer, Graham Vick, Bernard Haitink come immediately to...

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'An invitation to stillness and reflection': saxophonist and composer Christian Forshaw on collaborating with top choir Tenebrae

The idea of recording an album with Tenebrae has been bubbling away for a number of years. Nigel Short and I first worked together in 2007 when I asked him to direct the vocal consort for a UK tour I was doing with my own group. Since then we have...

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First Person: playwright Naomi Wallace on finally hearing her work performed in English

The Breach is a coming of age story and an age-in-the-making story. The play takes place in the U.S. in the 1970s and 1990s, switching back and forth between teenagers in Louisville and their older selves 15 years later. The promise of the...

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First Person: composer Michael Price on responding to Bach's Second Brandenburg Concerto

There are lots of ways that we respond to great works of art – intellectually and emotionally, then visually, aurally and even by taste and smell, depending on the art in question. I have a habit of screwing my eyes tight shut and bringing to mind a...

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First Person: playwright Chinonyerem Odimba on birthing her potent and timely new show

People often ask how long a play takes to make its way out of you. And it’s always a valid question because no matter how beautiful, soft, joyful, or short a play is, there is a wrestling match that takes place between the idea lodging itself...

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First Person: composer Mason Bates on the powers and perils of musical storytelling

What do Beethoven and Pink Floyd have in common?Narrative – ingeniously animated by music.From the Ninth Symphony to The Wall, narrative music has brought a new dimension to the forms and genres it has touched.Musical storytelling is on my mind this...

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First Person: Tim Walker on crossing over from critic to playwright

The divide between theatre critics and the theatrical profession has always been a chasm, but occasionally a wire has been thrown between the two and plucky or foolhardy individuals have attempted to traverse it. A three-times-unsuccessful applicant...

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