Thursday 15 October 2015

Meet Joy Farrall

Joy has been Britten Sinfonia's Principal Clarinet since the orchestra was founded. She is also a founding member of the Haffner Wind Ensemble, with whom she has broadcast and toured widely. As a recitalist and concerto soloist Joy has appeared in all the major London concert venues, playing with such orchestras as the Philharmonia, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra, the London Mozart Players, City of London Sinfonia and Britten Sinfonia.

In this blog post Joy discusses various highlights of her musical career so far (as well as the odd embarrassing moment), her favourite pastimes and superpower of choice.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Every concert really as I am delighted that Britten Sinfonia, which has become my musical home, has so many dates in the diary. I feel lucky to be employed to do what I do.

When are you happiest?
When I have time to reflect after a busy but exciting patch of work.
What is your greatest fear?


What is your earliest musical memory?
Listening to ice skating music whilst my parents practised their ice dance. Torville and Dean they were not, but the music was great.

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
Numerous colleagues who find time to give their all to their families and students despite the demands of a rigorous performing career.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

Going on stage in Spain to perform a concerto and tripping on the lovely (but totally impractical, and warned against) pair of new purple shoes bought especially for the occasion.

What is your most treasured possession?
I am not really a collector of things!

What would your superpower be?
To appear and reappear through a Harry Potter style port key so as to cut out travelling to and from concerts.

If you were an animal what would you be?
A dog for the deaf and blind. A worthy job to do but plenty of lolling around with guaranteed friendship, food and affection.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Behaving like the world is about to end if I haven't got a reed to play.

What is your favourite book?
Any historical novels.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Blue cheese and biscuits and a glass of champagne.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
A jolly good cook as I am hopeless at anything other than the basics.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
Back to my college days with all the knowledge I have now.

How do you relax away from the concert platform?

Seeing family and friends, playing tennis and being outdoors walking or in the garden.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Getting this far!

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Forgiveness... I can try to play better in the next concert.

In a nutshell, what is your philosophy?
Concentration and focus is the key to understanding.

Listen to Joy...

Live: Joy is appearing in Britten Sinfonia's TAKE TWO: Oliver Knussen in Focus One performance on Sunday 25 October at London's Milton Court Concert Hall. The programme is centred on the orchestra's wind players and features Berg's Chamber Concerto for piano and violin and Oliver Knussen's Requiem - Songs for Sue. Click here for more info.

On Spotify: Listen to Britten Sinfonia's 'Discover: Knussen wind players' Spotify playlist of recordings from the wind players performing in Britten Sinfonia's TAKE TWO: Oliver Knussen in Focus One programme (including Joy), and the works featured in this concert.

On the radio: Britten Sinfonia's At Lunch 1 concert from the 2014-15 season - featuring music for wind quintet - will be broadcast by BBC Radio 3 at 1pm on Friday 16 October. Tune in live or listen again online here.

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