When did you first learn Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto?
The first time I heard the concerto was the girl in the lesson before mine playing it and I asked the teacher what it was and what she was doing. She was auditioning for the regional youth orchestra. I didn’t even know there was such a thing, so I decided to apply too. I was very lucky in getting a place in the orchestra and it changed everything for me. From then on it was all about doing music as a career.
When I first learned the concerto there was really only one edition of the piece. Nowadays it’s all different. There are a few editions based on the surviving parts. The original manuscript is lost. I’ll be playing a bit of a hybrid part with some of my own ideas. As for learning the piece – you never stop learning this concerto!
What are your first memories of performing it?
I feel the concerto is one of those pieces that gets more difficult the older you get. When I was at school we had a really good music department and an award-winning wind band. One of the pieces we played was the Mozart concerto, but instead of one soloist we did it with about five of us all playing the solo part.
Do you have any favourite recordings of the piece?
I still think Jack Brymer’s recording is my favourite. It’s all about the sound for me. It was used famously in the soundtrack to ‘Out Of Africa’. Nobody sounds like Jack. I’m not just saying that because he was my teacher!
Are you looking forward to performing it?
Of course! It’s a great honour to be asked to play it with such a fine orchestra. I love my job. Everyone is so supportive; I know I’m going to love it. I’ve known Stephen Bell for almost 30 years playing with the Haffner Wind Ensemble, so I’m really excited that he’ll be conducting too.