Which Stravinsky piece is your favourite?
The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky. It’s no competition really. It’s a work of challenging genius.
Outside of classical music, what’s your go-to music genre?
I love Funk and Rock. On my playlist you’ll see F It Up by Louis Cole. It’s not a PG song, but I’ve included it because all the solos and themes are either quotes or derivations from The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky. It takes a few listens but eventually you can find them all. Plus, this song is a real banger with a hilarious YouTube clip. Don’t be fooled by the low production value of the video, it’s all part of the act. I love music that is clever and full of wit, with some admittedly crude humour thrown in.
What song makes you the happiest?
I really couldn’t choose… But a few of my favourites are Everybody Needs Somebody to Love by The Blues Brothers, Queen’s epic Don’t Stop Me Now and of course, Paul Simon’s You Can Call Me Al.
What song did you grow up listening to?
Peter Coombe was a classic in my family.
Is there a particular song that you just can’t get out of your head right now?
I also perform in The Penny Quartet and we’re about to perform Prokofiev’s String Quarter No. 1 so naturally, that’s all I’m hearing!
Is there a song that calms your nerves?
Definitely Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel.
Is there a piece of music that has a special place in your heart?
It has to be Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night Op. 4. This piece is about love and forgiveness. It’s the most romantic work you’ll ever listen to. The story follows a man who forgives his lover for becoming pregnant to another person. It’s really moving.
Is there a particular piece of music that you love to listen to while you’re cooking?
We have two CDs in our kitchen stereo; one is The Essential Earth, Wind & Fire and the other is Paul Simon’s Graceland.
What song has inspired you to be the musician you are today?
Chopin Nocturne by Daniil Shafran. This particular performance showed me the freedom of interpretation that is possible. It accelerated my journey from a student to an artist. You can do whatever you like with the notes on the page, as long as you say something, and say it convincingly.
What’s your all-time favourite piece to perform?
Brahms’ Fourth Symphony! One of the absolute highlights of my life was playing this piece with the MSO.