Meet recorder player Charlotte Barbour-Condini

Hi Charlotte! In May 2012 you were the first recorder player to reach the final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year. What has this meant for you over the past year? Do you think it has changed how people may think about the recorder?

Performing in the BBC Young Musician competition is unlikely to be an experience that anyone will forget very quickly. I had a really great time preparing for it and got an unbelievable amount of support from my teacher, mum, accompanists David Gordon and Hristo Duchev, Junior Royal Academy and my school. Also, the opportunities that have come up over the past year have been amazing and I’ve had a fantastic time; I’ve been able to play in some really great venues whilst meeting and working with loads of different musicians who all have new musical ideas that I can learn from.

I do think the publicity given to the recorder through the BBC Young Musician 2012 competition has changed a lot of attitudes amongst both musicians and non-musicians. Many of my friends who were previously unconvinced now think very differently about the recorder, which is a nice change! However, these new attitudes will be forgotten quickly and certainly won’t spread unless people continue to be presented with evidence that the recorder is more than a toy instrument.

Talk us briefly through your programme for 11 June; why did you choose to perform a mix of baroque and contemporary music?

I’ve always thought the more varied a programme is, the more interesting it is! It also gives a better indication of the different styles in which composers have written for period instruments such as the recorder and harpsichord. The programme begins with the medieval and early baroque, moving on to baroque compositions from Germany, France, and also Portugal and the Netherlands. To end, our programme progresses to the contemporary recorder and harpsichord scene, including one of David’s own compositions.

What’s at the top of your iPod playlist at the moment?

Mussorgsky, St John’s Night on the Bare Mountain. Before my AS music exam I got a little bored of my set work (Beethoven’s 1st symphony, 1st and 2nd movements), mainly due to listening to it on repeat, so I listened to this instead; it would have been my set work of choice.

What do you get up to when you’re not playing music?

Mainly schoolwork, but when I’m not doing that I like reading, listening to music and going to the cinema or theatre with friends/family to relax.

And finally, what are your ambitions for the future? Are there any venues that you dream of playing in or any artists that you’d like to work with?

My immediate plans are to read History at university for an undergraduate degree, and then to do a postgraduate degree at a music college. If my future career is anything like the year I’ve had after the BBC competition I will be more than happy! I’ve been unbelievably lucky so far in meeting really inspiring musicians (especially David) this year and playing in some great venues, like Cadogan Hall and St Martin in the Fields. David and I are both really looking forward to performing in Hoxton Hall. The recorder isn’t very well suited to huge venues, so I tend to prefer smaller spaces.  I particularly like performing in old churches; the acoustics are brilliant for the recorder. I would welcome the opportunity of working with Pamela Thorby, who is one of my favourite recorder players and who has incredible musicianship.

Charlotte will be performing works by Panufnik, Bob Margolis, Bach, Castello and Ortiz at Hoxton Hall on Tuesday 11 June. Tickets are available to purchase via our website.


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