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15 Questions to Sharon Kam

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Hi! How are you? Where are you?
I am fine and am at the moment in Hannover, where I live.

What’s on your schedule right now?

I am playing Brett Dean’s “Ariel’s Music”, a concerto for clarinet and orchestra with the Hamburg Opera orchestra next weekend.

If you hadn’t chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?

I would definitely be a scientist!

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?

I would say the musical life around the Israel Philharmonic orchestra, where my mother still plays. I listened to so many wonderful orchestra and chamber music concerts as a child. I wanted to be part of this fascinating world!

What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
The hardest part is the traveling and being far away from the ones you love (children, husband, parents, friends). The best part is being able to touch people which my music and seeing their happy faces after a wonderful concert. I really still believe, that music makes people better!

What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
I don’t think there is a crisis. I see wonderful education projects happening everywhere, making sure we will have an audience in the future. I also visited some schools and was positively surprised to find out how many children play an instrument. But I think the media (especially TV) is not using its incredible power to reach so many non-concert-goers and inspire them to take interest in classical music. Except the special arts channels, no channel has classical music as part of it’s regular program. And since so many people do nothing else than watch TV in their free time, I feel this is a big mistake.

Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them?
Young artists must establish themselves by recording ‘normal’ repertoire, which of course exists a thousand times on the market. Since thisphase in my career is over, I try to record at lease one piece per CD, which is rarely or not at all recorded. This gives a legitimation to producing a new recording.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
After a good performance one can’t just go to bed. The music keeps ones mind and soul busy for a while. One feels full of feelings to the point of exploding. A great performance stays in ones heart forever!

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?
A musical Interpretation is just like a recitation. When a text is well read, we not only understand the

True or false: It is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions into the music he plays.

True, but also never to forget, that the composer and his musical will must always be more important than the artist’s ego.

True or false: “Music is my first love”

Well, as a teenager I would probably say yes. Now, a wife and a mother of two, I must say no- my first love is my family.

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
False- one can walk into a museum without ever seeing a Picasso and still find the painting fantastic or horrible. Great art  evokes emotions. That is what art is about.

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?

I would put Hindemith’s clarinet concerto somewhere in the season. In general, I would try to mix some wonderful but less known pieces with all time bestsellers.

What’s your favourite classical CD at the moment?

I never listen to classical music in my free time! I listen to Sting quite a lot though.

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?

I played the violin as a three year old, the Piano with five and recorders with seven. I was a miserable violinist, quite a bad pianist but a wonderful recorder player. I guess I was born to blow! As an adult, I bought myself am alto Saxophone. I am not quite good YET, but I never have time to practice. When I do practice an hour, I feel I could get there soon, if I only had the time…

Works for Clarinet and Piano (1997) Teldec
Weber Concertos (1997) Teldec
Mozart and Krommer Concertos (1998) Teldec
Krzysztof Penderecki (1999) Teldec
I got rhythm (2002) Teldec
Artist Portrait (2003) Warner
Works for Clarinet and Orchestra (Berlin Classics) 2005

Sharon Kam

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