Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Speed Interview – Kati Debretzeni

Thu Jan 31 2013

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Our leader Margaret Faultless is also Professor of Music at @RoyalAcadMusic. She's been investigating the hidden me… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…


In the lead up to V4: The Seasons, we spoke with lead violinist Kati Debretzeni about her fears, her heroes and the challenges of combining period music with contemporary dance.

What do you fear the most?
Injury or illness of a loved one.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
That of my babysitter. It wins hands down on that of my husband, who never hears it, and has recently learned to read an SMS (not to write one yet, but I live in hope.)

What – or where – is perfection?
In the beholder’s mind. No harm in trying to get as close as possible.

How is this performance of The Four Seasons different? 
You’ll have to come to hear/see it.

As a musician, what is it like being integrated into a dance performance and being expected to move whilst playing? 
Liberating and daunting in the same time. It’s great to feel that playing the fiddle is not an end in itself, but there is the small business of trying to get the notes right whilst sauntering around the stage. Who was it who said multitasking was what women do best?

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why? 
Usually the servant who spins the web, knows it all and laughs at the silliness. Despina, or Susanna, or Mrs. Quickly.

What’s your favourite ritual? 
Coffee with newspaper – it always feels a guilty pleasure of time snatched for myself.

Which living person do you most admire (and why)? 
All my female colleagues who managed to bring up well-adjusted children and have a family life whilst keeping their playing up.

What other talent or skill would you like to possess? 
That of better time-management. And I’d love to be someone who’s not daunted by tidying up whilst rustling up a meal for six. Oops, I can spot the connection…

What is the most important lesson life has taught you? 
To try and enjoy what I’m doing to the fullest whilst I’m doing it.

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection? 
At the moment it’s Hungarian children songs.

Is it challenging playing as well as leading a performance (as you will be on the 8 February)?
I’ll be busier than usual trying to concentrate on the dancers’ needs as well, so ask me later…

What’s the best thing about playing with the OAE? 
The variety of repertoire we tackle, and the fact that every single player cares deeply about the group.

Should the classical music world work harder to attract a wider audience?
Yes, and we do that through Night Shift, The Works, or by taking classical music to unusual places like pubs. If we don’t, who will come to our concerts in 20 years time?

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