RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

Interview with Nicholas McCarthy

img  Tobias Fischer

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hi, I'm very well thank you. I'm currently at my home in Surrey.

What’s on your schedule right now?
I'm busy preparing for my recitals which are coming up later this year, and am also working on Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no.4 - it seems to be taking up a lot of my time.

What is your earliest musical memory?

Listening to Vivaldi’s Four Season’s on the radio whilst driving somewhere in the car with my Mum.

Was there a deciding moment, which made you want to become an artist?

I originally wanted to be a chef, and it wasn’t until I saw a dear friend playing Beethoven’s Waldstein sonata that I decided there and then that I wanted to become a pianist. I was fourteen at the time.

How satisfied are you with life as an artist?
Very satisfied. I love the diversity of my schedule, I enjoy doing different things and meeting different people and I don’t like being stuck in the same place. So it works well for me at the moment.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?

A good live performance for me is one that has excitement, spontaneity and an element of risk combined with poetic poise, careful consideration of the composers' wishes and of course, correct notes.

How do you balance your personal emotions and the intentions of the composer in your interpretations?
I think musical interpretation has the same elements as our day to day friendships and relationships. It’s all based on give and take and compromising, it is the same with interpreting a composers' music - understanding their wishes yet having the freedom to explore.

In which way, would you say, is your cultural background reflected in your performances?
In my eyes music is universal, so I don’t really feel my cultural background reflects on my performances as such.

How would you describe and rate the scene for classical music of the country you are currently living in?
The UK takes classical music seriously and I would rate the London classical music scene very highly.

Do you consider it important that more young people care for classical music? If so, how, do you think, could this be achieved?
I feel quite strongly about the younger generation enjoying classical music and in my experience, I am seeing more and more young people showing an interest. I think this interest could be more widely achieved if more artists would consider their appearance on stage. To the younger generation aesthetics are very prominent and I think our ‘look’ on stage is important.

How would you rate the importance of the Internet and new media for you personally?
It has been great for me, the ability to self promote and network is just a necessity for any artist and the Internet allows this with ease.

What’s your view on the relationship between musical education and music?
It is essential, to an extent - I’ve seen people who are so overly ‘educated’ that all musicality has left them as they see everything in music as an exam or a academic study.

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

I am biased on this question as obviously I would include copious amounts of left hand piano works such as Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no.4 and Ravel Concerto for left hand.

How would you describe the relationship with your instrument?

It is a love/hate relationship. I miss it when I'm away and can’t wait to play when I return, yet sometimes I wish never to see another piano for the rest of my life. I think every musician feels a dislike now and then. Though we soon get over it.

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

Haha, yes, I tried french horn when I was younger. I was utterly awful.

Nicholas McCarthy Discography:
Debut 2010

Nicholas McCarthy

Related articles

15 Questions to Ali Wood
With both a full-on solo ...
15 Questions to Marta Erdei
While the war between the ...
15 Questions to Gerhard Oppitz
When Gerhard Oppitz talks about ...
15 Questions to Mihaela Ursuleasa
Good taste is important to ...
15 Questions to Herbert Henck
Herbert Henck has been campaigning ...
15 Questions to Oksana Kolesnikova
It's a fascinating contrast: Oksana ...

Partner sites