steven osborne tackles 10 questions

dear readers: *mr. steven osborne will be the guest soloist with the oregon symphony on saturday 11/5 (national bank transfer day!) and monday 11/7.  please go see him one or both of those nights.  you won’t regret it.  and here he is now just chillaxin’ with the beav, tackling 10 queries… 

steven, you’ll be playing benjamin britten’s piano concerto ~ how would you describe this music?

It’s a very exciting piece, not too serious, with lots of energy and colour.  The first movement goes at a breakneck pace, the 2nd is a kind of twisted waltz, the 3rd is a really beautiful, elegiac piece, and the last a rather funny, pompous march.

since you were raised on the same isle as mr. britten, do you somehow identify more closely with his music?

I don’t think so really.  Most of the composers I feel closest too aren’t British. And there’s a world of difference between Britten, Tippett, and Elgar.

tippett, huh?  i will have to write that one down.  hey, one of the best hikes i’ve ever done is the west highland way.  have you made this extremely sweet-ass scottish trek yourself?

Oh, this is my favourite part of the world.  I’ve never done the whole trek, but I’ve done the section around Glen Coe many times.  I proposed to my wife there.

aww… that’s awesome!  um, in your opinion, what’s so great about hearing classical music live?

It’s an enormously rich world of feeling.  So much of our culture is really shallow and unsatisfying, and I think people deep down crave meaningful experiences – from TV, from art, from politicians actually engaging with our problems, from relationships based on openness and honesty.  I feel the US gives us the best and the worst of this, from astonishing TV like The Wire to a culture of political commentary which I find truly disturbing in its idiocy. Classical music is one of the good guys: it has an emotional complexity which reflects who we actually are; it can help put us back in touch with ourselves. And something incredible can happen in live concerts, a sense of a shared experience which at times can be overwhelming.  I’ll get off the soapbox now.

mr. osborne, you may stand on that soapbox for as long as you’d like.  amen, brother!  oh, man… so, how often do you attend concerts as an audience member?

Roughly every couple of weeks.  In Scotland we’ve got some great orchestras and I often go to hear them.

if you could drink only one single malt for the rest of your life, what would it be?  [btw, *colin currie went with benmore back in january.

Tough one, and I’m not a real connoisseur, but I think Lagavulin.  It’s got to be peaty.

mmm… peaty.  i’m a talisker rodent myself.  yo ~ i read you often perform chamber music with alban gerhardt, who’ll be playing with the oregon symphony like two weeks from now.  what should we expect from this cellist?

He is absolutely awesome, a completely committed performer, and a great guy too.  Expect intensity, virtuosity, integrity, and conviction.

those are a few of my favourite things ~ can’t wait to hear him!  hey, how did you celebrate birthday #40 this year?

I went to see Maceo Parker.  [check out the link steven provided here!]  One of the best gigs I ever heard.

aw man, totes jealous!  wow… that’s the funkiest link i’ll click on all week.  um, if you could invite 3 composers to dinner, who would you choose?

Beethoven, Schubert, and Tippett.  It might be hard to keep Schubert in the same room as Beethoven though.  I’d have them here at home so with a bit of luck Beethoven might improvise something on the piano.

now that would be a night to break out the lagavulin!  alright, wrapping it up here: what are your expectations for playing with carlos and the band?

It’s always fun playing this piece, and Carlos is a great musician.  I haven’t played with the orchestra before, but I know how high the level of playing in the US is.  Should be a blast!

can.  not.  wait.  my-oh-my, i don’t know about you faithful readers, but the beaver is reeaally looking forward to this concert!  and a big, big thank you to mr. osborne for the perfectly brilliant responses!!


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