Do you remember your first ever performance with the London Sinfonietta?
It was when I was still a student of Janet Craxton, who was the oboist in the LS then, and it was a trip to the Royan Festival in France, playing in a piece by Giuseppe Sinopoli. It was the first time I had come across the "triangle, house" description for 3/8 and 2/8 bars (although Sinopoli called them "church, house"!)
Do you recall your first ever performance with the London Sinfonietta, how did you get involved with the ensemble?
It was when I was still a student of Janet Craxton, who was the oboist in the LS then, and it was a trip to the Royan Festival in France, playing in a piece by Giuseppe Sinopoli. It was the first time I had come across the "triangle, house" description for 3/8 and 2/8 bars ( although Sinopoli called them "church, house"!)
Can you recall some stand out memories or funny stories from your time with the London Sinfonietta?
The funniest thing was when Robin McGee's bass exploded (ie the bridge collapsed) during a performance of Colin Matthews' Suns Dance, in Budapest. Robin was playing on a borrowed local instrument which obviously wasn't up to the demands of modern music! But he carried on playing (miming)....
Of the conductors and composers you’ve worked with, do you have a favourite?
Most of the composers and conductors have been very interesting to work with, and I've learned a lot and been inspired by them. I do have a few unfavourites, though...
Contemporary classical scores often require some unusual performance techniques – what have been the most unusual requests from composers? Have you ever been reluctant do as the composer has instructed?
I remember a piece which asked for about 20 new multiphonic fingerings. Since there are only about 40 notes on the oboe this represented a massive learning curve (and not all of them worked!) One of the easiest pieces I've had to play didn't involve the reed in the oboe at all!
Do you have any snippets of advice for young players entering the contemporary classical world?
Do your homework, and try to play exactly what is on the page.
We’re looking forward to the 50th Anniversary Concert in January, how important do you think it is for ensembles like LS to support new music and emerging composers?
Vital - without hearing their music how can composers develop?
Can you tell us what you like to do when you’re not working and want to take a break from music?
Dig the allotment.
Do you have a favourite record of the moment that you’d like to recommend?
Sorry to say, I don't really listen to records at the moment. Maybe when I'm no longer playing...
Published: 16 Jan 2018