In conversation with Michael Collins

One of the leading clarinettists of his generation, Michael Collin‘s dazzling virtuosity and sensitive musicianship make him one of today’s most sought-after soloists. In addition he regularly conducts and was appointed Principal Conductor of City of London Sinfonia in 2010. Michael will be conducting and performing with City of London Sinfonia at the launch of CLoSer on Tuesday 22 November, 7.30pm at Village Underground. Spitalfields Music found out more about Michael’s love for music.

Michael Collins photo credit: Eric Redmond web

Can you remember the first performance you attended?
Michael Collins: It was Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. It was a Sir Robert Mayer Concert for Children.

And what was your first audition like?
MC: It was for the Royal College of Music Junior Department. I was so nervous that my fingers shook all the way through, but they still let me in!

When and where was the first time you performed in London?
MC: I played at a Youth Makes Music concert when I was 10 at the Royal Festival Hall to 3000 people playing a Brahms Sonata.

Who was your first mentor/inspiration?
MC: On the clarinet it was Thea King from a very early age. I went to see her and asked for her autograph then carried on to study with her. On the piano it was and still is Martha Argerich, and I’ve been lucky enough to play with her on several occasions.

What was it like stepping into conductor’s shoes for the first time?
MC: It seemed a natural progression from the clarinet as I had been doing a lot of directing from the instrument. City of London Sinfonia (CLS) is the first orchestra I ever played with – as Principal Conductor I’m really looking forward to exploring ways of engaging our audiences more closely, which is why I’m super excited about the launch of our new informal concert series CLoSer.

Michael Collins

What was the last piece of music you listened to?
MC: John Adams’ Atomic Symphony. I can’t wait to tackle his Shaker Loops with CLS at CLoSer this month.

As a conductor and a performer when did you last feel truly challenged?
MC: I suppose whenever I walk on the platform it’s a challenge as I am trying all the time to make the experience the very best, not just for me but for the audience as well.

Who was the last person to offer you some sage advice?
MC: Actually it was my 12 year old son who told me not to worry so much and take it easy!

Michael Collins will be performing at the CLoSer: Strings Masterclass event on Tuesday 22 November 2011 at 7.30pm at Village Underground

Tickets: £15 (includes a free drink)

Box Office: 020 7377 1362/spitalfieldsmusic.org.uk  

Check out the CLoSer Concert Playlist for a preview of the music to be performed.

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