'Italian harpsichords like this were particularly favoured for their ability to fit in lifts when the concert was on the first floor...'
Cellist Robin Michael is one of our four lovely OAE musicians appearing in our Night Shift next week at the Old Queens Head pub.
We caught up with him for the latest instalment in our speed interview series…
How did you get into music?
Both my parents are musicians and there was always music happening at home but in fact I started cello lessons at school. I was the last year of pupils to receive free instrumental tuition before Margaret Thatcher scrapped them…grrrrrrr.
When did you realize you wanted to make music your career?
To be honest I never made a conscious decision, things just seemed to unfold that way!
What do you fear the most?
Marmite, Country and Western Music and Mitt Romney.
Which mobile number do you call the most?
The Wine Society’s.
When you’re not busy practicing/performing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Change nappies and sample the results of my calls to the wine society.
Who’s your musical hero?
A difficult question as one is constantly coming across and working with inspiring musicians who can influence you and changes one’s perspective. However there are a few people who are heroes, some dead, some alive! The dead ones: Mozart, Faure, Casals; the ones alive and kicking: Harnoncourt, Steven Isserlis and Ferenc Rados.
Do you have any pre-concert rituals?
Bananas. Lots of them.
If you could choose to work in a different profession, what would it be and why?
Food critic for obvious reasons.
What are you reading at the moment?
Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada and Christopher Hitchen’s (a non musical hero) commentary on Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man.
Who’s your favourite musician/band at the moment? (doesn’t have to be classical)
Quatour Mosaiques and non-classical would have to be the Keith Jarrett Trio.
If you had one piece of advice to give to aspiring artists, what would it be?
Never listen to anybody who says, ‘I’ve been doing it like this for 30 years’. In fact you could point out that maybe they’ve just wasted 30 years!!
What’s the best thing about working with the OAE?
The music. Always the most important thing!
Why should people come to the Night Shift?
What could be better than hearing Haydn quartets in a pub?!!