He wants to put 400 singers in a railway station, and he loves a bit of Barbra Streisand … composer and conductor Bob Chilcott shares his musical passions
How do you listen to music?
At home I listen on a CD player with speakers. I sometimes listen on my computer with headphones but I’ve always liked having the sound of music in our house.
What was the last piece of music you bought?
Winterreise sung by Jonas Kaufmann. I love it. I have bought a lot of German lieder CDs over the past few years, mostly sung by Christian Gerhaher and Bernarda Fink.
What’s your musical guilty pleasure?
I listen to all types of music and have never felt guilty about it! If you mean music that I keep going back to, it would be Mahler’s Five Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Daniel Barenboim, Stile Antico singing John Sheppard’s Media Vita and the Barbara Streisand Broadway album.
If you found yourself with six months free to learn a new instrument, what would you choose?
I would like to be able play good jazz piano. I have always been able to do it badly but if I could have six months I think I could get better.
Is applauding between movements acceptable?
It’s never bothered me.
What single thing would improve the format of the classical concert?
The key I think is to educate your audience. Everyone is capable of enjoying classical music. The single thing that would improve the format of the classical concert and concerts in general is to commit proper funding to music education in schools and make it a core subject. It would make us nicer people and maybe help good cultural values to be more widely appreciated.
What’s been your most memorable live music experience as an audience member?
On a weekend in 1983 I heard Randy Newman solo at the Dominion in London on the Saturday night and on the Sunday heard Rostropovich play unaccompanied Bach Suites at the Royal Festival Hall. Both those experiences changed my life very much for the better.
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