I have a vivid memory of my first music performance – singing The Bear Necessities at school. I forgot the lyrics at one point and insisted that we start again from the top, so even at that stage, I was taking music fairly seriously. Singing was the main focus for me and I was lucky to be at a school which had a brilliant music department and a very busy choir. When my voice broke and singing became more difficult the clarinet naturally took over and became something I really loved, with the invaluable help of my teacher David Fuest and my mum who also played the clarinet.
When I was at the Royal Academy of Music I was involved in many exciting projects and had the chance to play with the Philharmonia, the London Chamber Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. At the Academy, I recorded Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale under Oliver Knussen, a favourite piece of mine, and played the Brahms clarinet quintet with Maxime Vengerov. I also did a lot of bass clarinet playing as it has always been a sound which I have been drawn to. A very fond memory of mine is the last concert I did at the Academy which was Mahler’s Symphony No.2 under Semyon Bychkov. I was on bass clarinet which is a relatively quiet part except for a beautiful solo with cor anglais in the first movement. The piece is incredibly moving and it was a great way to finish.
Outside music, I am a huge rugby union fan and am always in awe of the All Blacks when they play. I also enjoy playing tennis and being on trains with a book.
Royal Academy of Music
What is your favourite piece of music, and why do you love it?
Music for 18 Musicians. It was the first piece of “classical” music I could really connect with. I love the rhythmic drive of it and the harmony is so heart warming. My teacher at school actually organised a performance of it and we ended up playing it to Steve Reich himself!
What do you do with your time when you’re not playing music?
I watch a lot of Netflix – was a huge Breaking Bad fan and am now getting in to Better Call Saul – but I try to be active and I enjoy running and tennis. I also love catching up with friends over a pint.