Q&A with Angela Hewitt

Angela Hewitt Performance

“Exquisite and dramatic…at once finely thought-out and exalting”  – The Sunday Times

Acclaimed as one of the world’s great pianists, everything about Angela Hewitt’s playing serves to highlight the innate beauty in each piece. Across two programs, Angela brings her emotional openness and faultless technique to masterworks by Bach, Beethoven, Chabrier, Ravel and Scarlatti.  Don’t miss her tour with Musica Viva in May, 2017.



Q&A with Angela Hewitt


Where and when did your music education start?

The day I was born (if not before). There was constant music at home since both of my parents were wonderful musicians (piano and organ).


What do you enjoy most about visiting Australia?

The audiences are very appreciative and the tours are always very well organized, almost maniacally so!


What is your most important item that you take with you on tour (other than passport, phone and sheet music)?

The hot water bottle and the travel kettle. The two go together. Though I hope the laptop is included in the necessities.


What would you say is the most challenging part about your program on this tour?

Getting through it.


If you could pick anywhere, what country would you like to perform in next?

I’ve never been asked to play in Barcelona, Los Angeles (at least downtown LA), Salzburg (though I’ve rehearsed there). I know those aren’t countries, but I’ve been to most countries already. One of my “home” countries is always nice because then I actually get to be at home (UK, Italy, Canada).


What do you like about learning or revisiting well-known repertoire?

Well-known to the audience you mean? Like Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata that I’m playing on tour? I always try to bring something fresh to such pieces, and to look at the composers’ markings in the score. What I don’t do is listen to how everybody else plays.


Who would you say has been your biggest musical influence?

My parents and my teacher, Jean-Paul Sevilla. I can’t choose only one. Plus a few other people who have given me huge inspiration but who are not necessarily performing musicians. That’s the thing: people always think that your inspiration comes from musicians. It doesn’t. It comes from life itself.


How do you handle mistakes or memory lapses (if any) during performance?

Mistakes? Memory lapses? I avoid them like the plague…..


Is there a particular piece of music that never fails to move you emotionally?

The Goldberg Variations.


How would you describe your perfect day?

No appointments. Being at home and being able to use my time as I feel fit, whether that be practising or having a massage or seeing friends.


What do you like least about the music profession?

Many of the most unfair things apply to any profession—not just classical music. But I must say, I think it’s a great profession if you can manage to make it your life. We are very lucky as musicians to do something we (hopefully!) love.


Do you have any pre-performance rituals?

I eat beforehand. Sardines, an avocado, apples, bananas, sometimes a steak…


What do you like to do best after a performance?

Go back to my hotel room and collapse. Though usually I have to pack suitcases. If I have no appointments the next day, it’s nice to go out with good friends of course whom I don’t see enough.


In your opinion, what would you say are the most important personal attributes needed to be successful in this ‘industry’?

Stamina, discipline, getting along with people, never giving up, being communicative and imaginative. To also be a good musician helps.


Where would you like to find yourself in 10 years?

Still alive.


What advice would you give to your 10-year-old self?

I’m actually very content with my life and how it has all “developed”. I had a happy childhood doing many things—not just piano (very important!). The big decisions I took turned out to be the right ones (such as going to live in Paris at the age of 20). So there’s nothing that I would tell myself at 10 years old to do differently. I was extremely lucky to have good guidance from my parents and teachers throughout my early years.


If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose this career?  Why?

Yes of course. As I’ve said, it’s a wonderful life. Damn difficult, but there’s never a boring day. It keeps me alive.


How do you think the road looks for the next generation of concert pianists starting their career?

Certainly different in many ways from when I grew up, but still….if you’re good, if you have a distinct musical personality, if people hear you play and want to hear you again….then you will have a chance at making your life in music.


Do you have a favourite musical quote?

Yes, it comes from Berlioz: “Music and love—why separate them? They are the two wings of the soul.”




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