mon 04/03/2024

First Person

First Person: Ten Years On - Flamenco guitarist Paco Peña pays tribute to his friend, the late, great Paco de Lucía

There are moments that forever remain imprinted in our consciousness, engraved on the general map of our lives. I cannot forget the excitement of seeing snow for the first time in Córdoba, aged three or four, rushing to walk on it only to slip...

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First Person: violinist Tom Greed on breaking down barriers in the presentation of chamber music

For musicians, the period from early 2020 to mid-2021 was one of great reflection, with so many questions to puzzle over. Could we satisfy the basic need to interact with others and express ourselves? What on earth was Zoom, and how, as performers,...

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First Person: contralto Hilary Summers on going beyond her baroque and contemporary comfort zones

Back in the summer of 2020 when the arts industry was largely dormant and many professional singers were either moodily knocking back the gin or uploading poor quality phone videos of themselves bellowing Puccini arias from their doorsteps, I...

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First Person: Pulitzer Prize winning composer David Lang on the original Jewish love story

I wouldn’t say that I am super religious, but I am definitely religion-curious. It is a big part of my family background, and, to be honest, a big part of the history of my chosen field, Western classical music. For the past 1000 years, the...

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First Person: Director Sir David Pountney on creating a new 'Masque of Might' from the music of Purcell

Purcell came very early to me. When I was a chorister at St. John’s Cambridge “Jehova quam multi sunt” was a perennial favourite and we were thrilled by the evenings when George Guest brought in some string players to accompany Purcell’s verse...

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First Person: conductor Edward Gardner on some of his questions and obsessions about Mahler's 'Resurrection' Symphony

“If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.”“What is best in music is not to be found in the notes.”With these two quotations from Mahler, I already feel like putting my pen down. I had...

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First Person: 'America's sweetheart organist' Carol Williams on running the musical gamut

I have always had a fascination with concert programmes. I did my Doctorate thesis on this subject. I remember vividly as a youngster attending many uninteresting programmes and thinking “there has to be more exciting, exhilarating, interesting...

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First Person: mezzo Stephanie Wake-Edwards on open dialogue and shared goals in the new show 'FEAST'

“Do you actually speak like that?” was the first thing a senior colleague said to me during my initial week at a prestigious UK opera house. I’ve always had a tricky time understanding who I really am.As a culture, we are obsessed with class....

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First Person: Marc Burrows on getting to know Sir Terry Pratchett

In a very real sense, Terry Pratchett taught me how to write. I first came across his work when I was 12 years old, in the early 90s.My parents had been given copies of two of the earliest books in his Discworld series, Guards! Guards! and The...

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First Person: tenor Elgan Llŷr Thomas on recording a queer-themed album

“No one makes money from CDs anymore”; “Remember, once it’s out there it’s out there forever”; “Everyone’s making recordings these days, it’s a very cluttered market”; “You’ll struggle to make a mark…”These are just some of the things uttered to me...

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First Person: composer Lukas Ligeti on how his father György inspired a new approach

The music of various African regions and cultures has played a significant role in shaping my own music. My exposure to African traditional music, which started not long after I began my own composition studies, helped me develop my unique artistic...

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First Person: playwright Tom Fowler on allowing room for 'Hope'

Recently, having just shared the rehearsal draft of my current Royal Court play Hope has a Happy Meal with two close friends, I found myself slightly offended when one of them said, "you can tell you were playing the Nintendo Switch obsessively when...

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