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.

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