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Simon Haram (Principal Saxophone) in Conversation

Simon Haram

As part of our 50th Anniversary season we're catching up with each of our principal players to find out about their favourite London Sinfonietta memories. In this interview we talk to Simon Haram, our Principal Saxophone, about his passions, the importance of making new music, and Liverpool FC. 

Can you tell us about your initial years with the London Sinfonietta? How did you get involved?
I was studying with John Harle who was the first Principal Saxophone with the Sinfonietta and he kindly brought me in to take part in many concerts during my first few years in London. The first note I played for the Sinfonietta was actually on flute for the Michael Vyner Memorial Concert.

Do you have any fond memories or funny stories from your time with the London Sinfonietta that you’d like to share?
Sitting next to John Orford has been one of the most educating and entertaining aspects of my playing life – many invaluable words of advice have been quietly whispered to me in rehearsals over the years. Working with Fraser Trainer in the education department has also been a hugely rewarding part of my professional life.

Of the conductors and composers you’ve worked with, who stands out in your mind?
John Adams

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?
The most unusual was to clean my teeth at the front of the stage. Often the strangest requests need to be interpreted into something that is actually possible but gets close to what the composer is asking for. The more impractical requests need the most finessing...

Do you have any pieces of advice for young players entering the contemporary classical world?
Always say yes, even if it seems impossible – then compromise.

Can you share with us your thoughts on the importance of making new music and supporting composers from an early stage in their career?  
Music has always had a cutting edge and the works which are considered standard and popular now were often initially shocking and difficult for their audiences. It’s important we give new works a chance to become the next generation of classics.

When you’re not performing or teaching, what do you like to do to relax? Do you listen to music to relax, or follow any particular sports for example?
As well as studying Japanese for the past few years, I’m a keen runner and Liverpool FC fan.

Published: 14 Feb 2018