The Night Shift

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Cello player Jonathan Rees will be playing at The Night Shift on 23 April, when we return to the Amersham Arms for some Handel, some improv and, of course, a few drinks. We spoke with Jonathan about his heroes and pre-concert rituals.How did you get into music?
Probably some “Listen with Music” tapes which told stories to the tune of the Water Music / Planets / Mozart’s Best Hits; and then I got into cello after being told there wasn’t a trombone teacher at my new primary school (parents’ cunning ploy to keep decibel levels down?). I also sang in a choir from the age of 7, which I really enjoyed; and it was a real privilege to be involved in a group whose collective musicianship (because it was half made up of adults) was on a much higher level than the local primary schools’ string orchestra.

When did you realize you wanted to make music your career?
Did I ever?! I guess – some time during my undergraduate degree (languages).

What do you fear the most?
*It’s behind you*

Which mobile number do you call the most?
My girlfriend’s.

When you’re not busy practicing/performing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Lots of cooking (just successfully made some cheese), followed by eating; meeting friends (preferably with ale); walking/cycling. I’ve also recently been to; No Fit State Circus’ amazing show Bianco at the Roundhouse; a hugely entertaining Two Gentlemen of Verona at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory; British Museum’s Enlightenment room and marveled at the astrolabes.

Who’s your musical hero?
Aagh. Not sure, depends on my mood. Possibly Yo Yo Ma for his sheer versatility and warmth.

Do you have any pre-concert rituals?
Ensuring I’ve emptied my bladder. Occasionally eating a banana to calm the nerves if it’s going to be a scary gig. Not drinking coffee (bladder and nerves).

If you could choose to work in a different profession, what would it be and why?
Primary School Teaching. I’ve done a fair few teaching-related things and feel it’s both worthwhile and something I’m good at and enjoy.

What are you reading at the moment?
Salman Rushdie – Midnight’s Children. Boccherini’s Body – Elizabeth Le Guin. Yeats’ poetry. A book of historical maps of London.

Who’s your favourite musician/band at the moment? (doesn’t have to be classical!)
Angela Hewitt.

What’s the best thing about working with the OAE?
I seem to get asked to do a lot of quite wacky and challenging things for the orchestra – such as this pub gig and various Remix events over the last year! As such I’ve grown to love the feeling of my brain melting and even occasionally rebuilding itself.

Why should people come to the Night Shift?
You’ll like it! And you can take your drinks in.

One Comment

  • Hi Jon. I’m trying to get in touch to recoup your number and invite
    you to something suitably brain melting!. I’m still 07946156606 and my email is below. Be great to hear from you.

    All the best


    (Camden Society)

    Andrew Walpole Wed Nov 27 2013