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We chatted to OAE Principal flautist Lisa Beznosiuk to ask her a few questions, amidst her solo performances with us this week on our Baroque Giants: Bach tour in London, Birmingham and Bradford-on-Avon.
What/when was your big breakthrough?
I had two lucky breaks at roughly the same time, shortly after I left the Guildhall School. John Eliot Gardiner asked me to be Principal Flute in the English Baroque Soloists and I was also invited to record Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.5 with Trevor Pinnock & the English Concert. These were fantastic opportunities which led to many happy years of playing wonderful repertoire and gave me a great deal of experience.
What do you fear the most?
Leaving my flute behind on the way to a concert or an airport, or bringing the wrong one to work….
Or, leaving the ONLY copy of an important piece of music at home and not realising until I am on stage.
[This happened to me spectacularly at the Barbican once; I played the first piece, the Maestersinger Overture, from memory -with the aid of a spare piccolo part. Meanwhile our orchestral manager Philippa was photocopying the conductor’s full score of a Chopin Piano Concerto and the Bruckner Symphony part was on its way in a taxi from home. This sort of emergency wouldn’t arise now with so much music available online.]
Which mobile number do you call the most?
What – or where – is perfection?
Sitting in the middle of an orchestra playing the first Kyrie in Bach’s B minor Mass…or the opening of the St John Passion.
Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Atticus Finch as portrayed by Gregory Peck in the film version of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
What’s your favourite ritual?
To spend time preparing a delicious meal at home whilst listening to radio (Proms Concerts in the summer and ‘Live from the Met’ in the winter).
Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
What an impossible question!
Simon Rattle comes very high up my list: apart from being a brilliant and inspiring musician who’s very exciting to play for, he has done, and continues to do, a great deal to bring children and young people into the world of music. Similarly, I always marvel at the dedication and inspiration of wonderful, generous teachers like violinist David Takeno.
What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
I wish I’d had (or made) the time & opportunity to learn more languages – German & Russian.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Don’t waste time and effort worrying, because it doesn’t help. I’m still trying to learn that…
What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
Confession time: I don’t have an MP3 player and don’t really listen to CD’s much: my life is full of live music… and I love silence! However, one CD I cherish is a 1926 recording of songs from Lady Be Good sung by Fred Astaire, brilliantly accompanied on piano by the composer, George Gershwin. It sounds as though they recorded in a small, unsuitable room with bare floorboards and dodgy equipment (this includes the piano!) However, their joint musical skill, rapport and sheer exuberance are breath-taking. Astaire even improvises some tap solos on some of the tracks…. this might explain the floorboards. It’s atmospheric and thrilling!
What’s the best thing about working with the OAE?
The amazing variety of music we play and the inspiring directors we work with.