Songs of Vienna programme with Barbara Hannigan, and later in the summer Britten Sinfonia Academy give the world premiere performances of his new work, YOYO. Despite having such a busy schedule Iain took some time out to tell us a bit about himself.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Having a career in music has been the greatest highlight of all. I’m incredibly fortunate to have my favourite hobby as a job.
When are you happiest?
Performing wonderful music with wonderful people.
What is your greatest fear?
Terrorism. The London bombings had a big effect on my family and we’ve lived with it ever since.
What is your earliest musical memory?
Playing the recorder at primary school. There were big multi-coloured musical notes on the board to follow.
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
Rather than admiring one individual, I most admire aid workers and volunteers working in dangerous situations to help innocent people. Their bravery is astonishing.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
During a concert on the organ, the blower slowly packed up and the instrument gradually ran out of puff. The pitch sank lower and lower until it wheezed its last breath. Thankfully everyone clapped at the end.
What is your most treasured possession?
My piano, a 1930’s Broadwood upright. It’s taken a lot of pounding over the years, and I’ve written all of my music with it.
What would your super power be?
To be able to single-handedly rid the world of all military weapons.
If you were an animal what would you be?
A bird, having total freedom of movement and a beautiful singing voice.
What is your most unappealing habit?
You’ll have to ask someone else that one!
What is your favourite book?
Shakespeare’s complete works, especially ‘The Tempest’.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Chocolate chip muffins.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
William Shakespeare. He’s the greatest enigma, and there are so many questions to ask him, the first being: “So how many of those plays did you write?”
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
The 20 years from 1893 to 1913. It’s probably the richest period in European musical history, and to hear those great premieres from late Brahms to early Stravinsky would be amazing. Then I would take a ship to New Orleans to catch the birth of jazz.
How do you relax away from the concert platform?
Playing football with my two young girls.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’m proud of the wide variety and breadth of my work as a pianist, organist, conductor, composer and arranger. I’ve created and performed a large volume of music in a whole range of styles and genres, in an effort to make concerts that are engaging and even fun!
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
It’s short and precious, so we should make it positive.
In a nutshell, what is your philosophy?
Do something good.
See Iain Farrington in concert during our performances of Songs of Vienna in Bradford on Avon on Fri1 May, Cambridge on Sat 2 May and London on Thu 7 May. More info
You can hear Britten Sinfonia Academy perform Iain's new work, YOYO on Tue 30 Jun in Cambridge and Fri 3 Jul in Norwich. More info