When did you join the RSNO?
I joined the RSNO in July 2014.
Where are you from?
I was born in Leeds, England but was brought up in Luton, Bedfordshire.
Where did you study?
I read Maths and Music at the University of Birmingham and followed that with postgraduate studies at the Birmingham Conservatoire, the Royal Academy of Music in London and privately in Paris and Rotterdam.
What do you enjoy most about being in the RSNO?
I feel very fortunate to be able to play the world's most beautiful music with such great musicians and colleagues on a day to day basis – it is a real privilege.
Tell us your favourite RSNO story/memory so far.
I certainly remember after a rehearsal of a Mozart Piano Concerto in Henry Wood Hall being told by Principal Flute Katherine Bryan that I had to go down to the conductor's room – I was somewhat relieved to find that rather than having done something really wrong I was being offered the job! It then struck me that I had to work out how best to tell my wife who was eight months pregnant and nesting that we needed to talk about moving!
I would also say that our recent tour to California was a highlight with fantastic concerts, beautiful sunshine and the opportunity to go wine tasting at some of the top vineyards in Napa Valley!
What do you enjoy doing when you're not playing with the Orchestra?
At the moment it's a mixture of running, swimming, wine tasting and spending as much time as I can with my beautiful family. Watching my children aged five and three discovering the world around them is the most extraordinary thing…
I also very much enjoy working with my chamber ensemble – Ensemble 360, which is based at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. It is great to experience fantastic chamber music in such intimate surroundings where the audience are often only a few feet away!
I gained my passion for exploring the world of wine through my Father-in-Law. For many years I have travelled to the various growing regions of the world to talk to the growers and of course sample the wines!
Making great wine is "in itself" an art form and I am very interested in the similarities in which we describe both music and wine such as texture, clarity, richness, balance, perfume etc. I'm sure there must be funding available for further research into this???!!! 😉
Do you have any hidden talents?
Possibly, although not sure I have found them yet – although I am on a single-minded mission to keep the high art of punning alive and kicking… much to the annoyance of the wind section 🙂
If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or dead) who would it be, and why?
There is nothing better, for me, than having dinner with close family or friends.
That said, although they say one should never meet their heroes – I would be quite tempted to invite the late comedian/writer Ronnie Barker, who I think was not only a complete genius but also someone who wore his celebrity lightly and humbly. His comedy was not the personal or political rant that is so prevalent today but comedy for comedy's sake and could quite possibly be very entertaining at dinner!
You're stranded on a desert island. You're allowed 3 CDs and 1 book. What would they be, and why?
Oh that is totally impossible – there are too many works that would be too sorely missed! However it would be very difficult to not be able to listen to:
J.S Bach St Matthew's Passion because it has so many beautiful moments – many including the oboe, oboe di caccia and oboe d'amore.
Beethoven String Quartet Op.130 probably the most personal of utterances from the most human of composers...
How can I chose between Schumann's Dictherliebe and Schubert's Impromptus? I am currently utterly in love with both of them.
I have realised that there's not much cheery music in that lot – so I would have to balance this out by leaving Tolstoy's Anna Karenina out and replacing it with another book that shares insight into the human condition but in a somewhat lighter way… Winnie the Pooh by A.A Milne which of course means I have the wonderful illustrations by E.H Shepard too!