"One thing that is always surprising to me is how beautifully the softest sounds carry." @houghhough talks preparat… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
After a very slight break for the OAE, we’re going on another tour, this time with Laurence Cummings who will be directing an all-Bach programme from the harpsichord. In London we’ll be at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 4 March, followed by The Night Shift on the same night and the programme also appears as The Works on Tuesday 6 March. We’re also performing with Laurence at the Wiltshire Music Centre (9 March) and Birmingham’s Town Hall (8 March).
We caught up with Laurence to ask him a few questions…
What/when was your big breakthrough?
I feel that my musical career has been one long and fortunate slow burn but the thing that really changed my musical life and was a catalyst in the process of becoming a conductor was being appointed Head of Historical Performance at the Royal Academy of Music in 1997. I have enjoyed working with the students so much over the years and learnt so much from them. In fact Matthew Truscott, the leader for these projects, was one of the first students I worked with at RAM. I am very proud of his amazing achievements and delighted to be sharing the concert platform with him!
What do you fear the most?
A life lived in fear is a life half-lived (quotation from the film Strictly Ballroom!), however I won’t go skiiing in case I break my arm or damage my hands. It doesn’t stop me dancing wildly at parties though!
Which mobile number do you call the most?
What – or where – is perfection?
A walk in the countryside with my boyfriend.
Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Mrs Madrigal from Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City.
What’s your favourite ritual?
Hanging up my coat and putting down my bag when getting home.
Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
My mother. She has achieved the most extraordinary things in her life. After my father died tragically early, she raised three children with strength, courage and grace and went on to become a Macmillan nurse. On retirement only a year’s voluntary service overseas would do! Where? Siberia of course. She worked with hospices in Russia and helped to forge links with British palliative care teams, creating exchanges of medical equipment and information. She is also wonderful company and her favourite word is ‘fun’!
What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Live in the moment. I was very taken, when reading Rinpoche’s The Tibetan Art of Living and Dying, with the quotation from William Blake ‘He who binds to himself a joy, does the winged life destroy, But he who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in Eternity’s sunrise’.
What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
Bach’s Mass in B minor.
What’s the best thing about working with the OAE?
Where to start?! With the OAE you can take the phenomenal standard of playing as a given, but what is so fascinating and energising is playing with musicians who have such a high level of mutual respect and are able to share musical ideas without egos thwarting proceedings. And the players have a cracking sense of humour!