What’s the best thing about being a musician?
Spending every day doing something I love, the overwhelming journey of emotions when playing an amazing piece of music and the high following a great performance.
Why did you decide to become a musician?
My mother is a music teacher and so there was a lot of music in my life from the very beginning, but it was seeing James Galway playing his golden flute on television and hearing his recordings which made me desperate to play the flute. I think that I set my heart on having a career as a classical musician when I was around 5 years old!
What’s the one performance from your career that sticks in your mind?
There are so many concerts which stick out in my memory, but particular highlights of a personal note are performing the Nielsen Flute Concerto with LSO in the Barbican for the final of Shell LSO competition, and I will never forget my first experience of Thomas Zehetmair directing Brahms Violin Concerto with Northern Sinfonia – absolutely spine-tingling.
What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you on stage?
I think probably the most embarrassing and also stressful moment to date was when, mid-performance, I heard a clunk and looked on the floor to see a silver disc and then a large screw too… My flute was literally falling to pieces as I watched!
If you could work with one musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?
It would probably be Jean-Pierre Rampal, one of the most famous and inspiring flute players of the 20th century.
In concert, have you ever thought, “I can’t actually play this bit very well, I’m going to mime and hope no-one notices”?
No, I would never mime something, I’d feel like a fraud! I think most musicians will admit to being perfectionists in trying to play everything asked of them, but there is always the odd occasion when one might need to find a ‘trick’ in order to achieve a desired effect in extremely fast passage-work.
Could you give us an example of the downside of the profession, something that the average concert-goer might not know about?
I think the exhaustion from the amount of travel, often driving through the night following a concert to get to a rehearsal or the next venue. And the in-built aversion to say “no” to any work offered, even if you could really do with a day off.
Does the touring lifestyle bring out rock star behaviour in the orchestra?
Ha! No, it’s hardly rock ‘n’ roll, although we usually try to combine great concerts with great after parties!
Have you witnessed any serious diva strops in your time as a musician?
Never anything too serious, but nerves and high pressure concerts can often bring out the inner ‘diva’ in people!
What’s the biggest challenge facing musicians like you these days?
I think the biggest concern facing musicians at the moment is job cuts and the future of our orchestras. Budget cuts in the arts means that orchestras are losing out on work and tours as well as freezing salaries.