mon 26/09/2022

First Person

First Person: violinist and music director Bjarte Eike on bringing the Playhouse to his 'Alehouse Sessions'

History first. The 17th century London of Oliver Cromwell and its puritanical quest to curb all creativity – banning music, closing down theatres, restricting alcohol and all the rest – provided an incredible backdrop for Barokksolistene’s project...

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First Person: Geoffrey Paterson on conducting the London Sinfonietta and working with Marius Neset

By my count, tomorrow’s Proms première of Marius Neset’s jazz epic Geyser will be my 51st performance conducting the London Sinfonietta. It’s a tally that has crept up over the last decade, and is something I could hardly have dreamed of more than...

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First Persons: Glyndebourne's sustainability advisers Sara and Jeremy Eppel on creating eco-friendly opera

Like the beacons saving ships from the Cornish rocks in Ethel Smyth’s opera, The Wreckers, which opened this year’s Glyndebourne Festival, the Sussex opera house has itself become a beacon of more environmentally sustainable opera. In 2021, with the...

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First Person: Michael Volpe on the utopian thinking behind his new If Opera company

“But what’s in it for you?”. It was a simple enough question, asked by an accomplished opera singer. It stemmed from hearing that the new version of the Iford Arts opera company I was running was aiming for a different kind of guiding philosophy: it...

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First Person: tenor Cyrille Dubois on recording all Fauré's songs

The year 2024 will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of the phenomenal Gabriel Fauré. For Tristan Raës and me, who have been exploring the repertoire of French art songs for nearly 15 years, first meeting in the class of art songs and...

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First Person: Mark Bromley of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain celebrates a milestone in its history

Television coverage of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend included footage filmed in the monochrome world of postwar Britain. Old ways of doing things, however jaded and narrow, were deeply ingrained then. Yet they were offset 70 years ago by the...

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First Person: Angela Slater on reaping the rewards of the LPO's Young Composers programme

When I applied to the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Young Composers programme and found out that I had been accepted, I was expecting to be working on a new orchestral work as in previous years. However, this year, we were invited to explore the...

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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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