Monday 26 November 2012

Meet Angela Hewitt

Acclaimed pianist, Angela Hewitt will be joining Britten Sinfonia in January 2013 for a tour featuring  works by Beethoven. Although currently touring abroad Angela found the time to answer a few questions about herself.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I suppose my 2007-2008 Bach World Tour in which I performed Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier in something like 110 concerts on six continents in 26 countries.

When are you happiest?
When a performance, either by myself or by a friend, goes beyond the very good level to the somehow very special. You know when that happens, and it’s the best thing there is.

What is your greatest fear?
I don’t really have any huge fears except not learning my notes in time for a concert. Everything else pales in comparison.

What is your earliest musical memory?
There are many—I have no idea which came first—but playing the toy trumpet I got as a present when I was two is one of them. I also got a toy piano at that age.

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
I admire a lady in Canada who is 95 years old and who still walks up eight flights of stairs every day and does sit-ups.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
When I was performing as a ballerina in the Polonaise from Eugene Onegin and my petticoat fell off. It was at a grand ball, and my ballet teacher was sitting at one of the tables. I remember to this day the look she gave me.

What is your most treasured possession?
My Fazioli concert grand piano on which I make my recordings.

If you were an animal what would you be?
I would rather be a bird so that I could sing.

What is your most unappealing habit?
I practise all the time.

What is your favourite book?
I don’t have a favourite book, just as I don’t have only one favourite piece of music. There are many. I love the programme notes of my friend, the late Michael Steinberg, who wrote “The Concerto”, published by OUP. When I read it, besides always learning something, he is once more in my company.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Listening to Laura Pausini’s “Strani Amori” at full blast.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
It would be nice to have Bach, Couperin, Handel, Scarlatti and Rameau all together at the one table. The five great Baroque keyboard composers. I would expect them all to play, of course!

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
To Beethoven’s house to hear him improvise at the piano.

How do you relax away from the concert platform?
I have regular Swedish deep tissue massage.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Passing my driving test in London, driving on the left with gears. I cried when the examiner told me I had passed (I was 43 years old).

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Talent is nothing without work and discipline.

In a nutshell, what is your philosophy?
I don’t think I have any philosophy. I just try to do my work well, keep going, be positive, love my friends, and eat healthily.

Angela performs with Britten Sinfonia at the Theatre Royal Norwich on Tuesday 8 January, West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge on Friday 11 January, Birmingham Town Hall on Sunday 13 January and London's Barbican Hall on Wednesday 16 January.

Monday 19 November 2012

Men at Work - raising money for Prostate Cancer UK

Britten Sinfonia men are all eager to participate in Movember but with a slight twist!

Rather than attempt (what would have indubitably been) a very embarrassing hairy challenge (and because musicians don't do 'taches), they will participate in the most stylish of challenges:

 - Wear a different tie every working day of the month. Bonus points for creativity!

We (the female members of staff) reckon that it will start a healthy bit of competition and are hoping to see ties that haven't seen the light of day in decades!

Please donate to this appeal, all we raise through this page will go to Prostate Cancer UK.

We'll be uploading a new photo each day of the Britten Sinfonia men in their ties.

Celebrating Hannah Ds last day before materni-TIE leave - all the girls are included too. 10-tie-tastic!

Anyone for tea (and/or a flower)

A nice array of colours

Post-concert ties at West Road Concert Hall

Men in ties - doing it in style with a G&T each

Ties in the van

A torrent of ties

A water-cooler moment

The three monkeys - see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil
A change of scenary

Work experience - Imogen covering for James B

Gradient of bad taste

Tuesday 13 November 2012

20th Birthday Concert in Pictures

In late October Britten Sinfonia celebrated its 20th birthday with celebratory concerts in Cambridge, Norwich and London. The London concert launched the orchestra's association with the Barbican and photographers Benjamin Ealovega and Rhydian Peters captured the day.

Stephen Williams and Andy Sheppard in rehearsal  (c) Ben Ealovega
Andy's sax (c) Ben Ealovega

Joanna MacGregor rehearsing Moondog (c) Ben Ealovega
Tom Herbert rehearsing Moondog (c) Ben Ealovega

Sound Engineer, Matt Fairclough (c) Ben Ealovega

Kuljit Bhamra rehearsing Moondog (c) Ben Ealovega

Seb Rochford rehearsing Moondog (c) Ben Ealovega

A smile during rehearsal (c) Ben Ealovega

Pekka Kuusisto & Mark Padmore in rehearsal (c) Ben Ealovega

Pekka & Alina Ibragimova rehearsing the Bach Double (c) Ben Ealovega

Nico Muhly multi-tasking during the rehearsal of his piece  (c) Ben Ealovega

Eamonn Dougan conducting the rehearsal of Nico's piece (c) Ben Ealovega

Britten Sinfonia Voices rehearsing (c) Ben Ealovega

The 'running board' backstage - a busy day! (c) Ben Ealovega

Backstage (c) Ben Ealovega

Birthday Cake! for the musicians to share! (c) Ben Ealovega

Claire, Marketing Director & Nico Muhly sharing a drink (c) Rhydian  Peters

Will (Development Director) talking to a guest at the reception (c) Rhydian Peters

Alexandra Reid introducing the Britten Sinfonia Academy performance (c) Rhydian Peters

Britten Sinfonia Academy (c) Rhydian Peters

Britten Sinfonia Academy performing on the free stage (c) Ben Ealovega
Backstage before the concert (c) Ben Ealovega
Backstage before the concert (c) Ben Ealovega
Orchestra and choir on stage (c) Rhydian Peters

Pekka & Alina performing the Bach Double (c) Rhydian Peters

Mark Padmore performing Les Illuminations (c) Rhydian Peters

Pekka performing his birthday tribute, OMG HBD (c) Rhydian Peters

Joanna MacGregor performing Bach (c) Rhydian Peters

Post concert performance on the Club stage (c) Ben Ealovega

Jackie Shave (c) Ben Ealovega

Post concert party time (c) Ben Ealovega

James MacMillan and David Butcher after the concert (c) Ben Ealovega

James (Creative Learning Assitant) and Gabrielle Deschamps (Development Assistant) enjoying the party (c) Ben Ealovega

Pekka gives the night a thumbs up! (c) Ben Ealovega

Nico enjoying a glass of vino (c) Ben Ealovega

Smiles all round (c) Ben Ealovega