tue 21/02/2017

First Person

First Person: A Man of Good Hope

To begin writing a book is to start something over which you are going to lose control. As it comes to life, a book acquires its own quiddity, its own interior authority, and if the writer does not obey this authority she ruins the book. A Man of...

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First Person: Nico Muhly on music for two pianos

Writing for two pianos is something that – until last year – I had not attempted. I was contacted by Katya Apekisheva and Charles Owen, two pianists who have performed as a duo for many years, asking me to compose a duet for them to perform at the...

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Ed Vaizey: 'We must invest more in the arts'

A couple of weeks ago, I held a debate in Parliament in which I called for the government to increase funding for the arts, museums and heritage. The Chancellor’s autumn statement, less than two months away, will be when I will know if my campaign...

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First Person: The Juilliard Experiment

When the French painter Fabienne Verdier told me she’d been invited to explore the relationship between painting and music at the world-famous Juilliard School in New York, I knew straight away that this unusual residency should be documented....

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First Person: Steven Isserlis on Schumann's advice to the young

All musicians have particular musical passions, composers, styles or genres to which they are irresistibly drawn. I have many – almost too many at times; but among the most enduring is my love for the music, writing and personality of Robert...

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First Person: 'Leaving the house can feel like walking into battle'

On a sunny afternoon in April four young women pile themselves into a toilet at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. They lock the door. They have come here to make some intimate recordings. Awkward giggles develop into discussion and...

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First Person: Portrait of Britain

This exhibition includes one of my images, so I hesitated when I was asked to write about it – but I only hesitated for a moment. I have learned that if you are reluctant to promote your own work other people are even more inclined in that direction...

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What are the arts doing here?

The raising of a temporary structure theatre in the middle of the “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais (pictured below) has brought the issue of arts in situations of crisis into sharp focus. This big brave act by two young Brits, opening a creative...

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First Person: the Herbert Howells Cello Concerto completed

In June 2014, I was invited to the late Sir John Tavener’s Memorial Service in Westminster Abbey. It was a poignant occasion, marked by a number of special tributes and performances. My childhood idol Steven Isserlis performed ...

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First Person: Boys Will Be Boys

In the opening scene of Boys Will Be Boys, the lead character, Astrid, talks about how there’s a boys’ world and a girls’ world. Boys’ world is where you want to be. That’s where power is, that’s where fun is. Boys get to be boys and that means...

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The Mighty Walzer: ping-pong in the round

It’s a little over two years since I was approached to adapt The Mighty Walzer by Howard Jacobson for Manchester Royal Exchange. I was living in Liverpool at the time and had recently seen That Day We Sang by Victoria Wood at the Exchange. It was...

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First Light: the story of the Tommies shot at dawn

Nothing quite prepares you for your first sight of Thiepval, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. I had read about the events it commemorated and, before that, been told about them as a young boy. I’d studied the war poets at school and as a...

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