For our Q&A this month we interviewed esteemed pianist Kathryn Selby ahead of her next tour, ‘By Arrangement‘ at the end of May. ‘By Arrangement’ is a truly extraordinary glance back to another era when composers and their colleagues arranged popular orchestral works for piano trio in order to allow music lovers to enjoy their favourite music in their own home. Rarely performed, this is a truly unique experience for the chamber music lover!
Where and when did your music education start?
My music education began at home with my parents’ great love of music and their desire to pass on that love to me and my brother. Concerts were attended from a very young age and radio and recordings listened to avidly at home. From there it wasn’t long before I wanted to take up an instrument myself and of course my choice was the piano! Finding a wonderful teacher was the next step and off I went – here in Sydney which is home.
What is your most important item that you take with you on tour?
Haha! Ok, that would be my phone charger!
What would you say is the most challenging part about your program on this ‘By Arrangement’ tour?
Not sure really to be honest. Probably pretending to be a full orchestra!
What do you like about learning or revisiting well-known repertoire?
Oh it’s terrific! Playing repertoire with different people, especially repertoire you know well, is one of the best learning tools possible. Being open to new ideas and being willing to explore new paths is key to evolving as a performer.
Is there a particular piece of music that never fails to move you emotionally?
Schubert Cello Quintet
How would you describe your perfect day?
Spending it with my family!
What do you like least about the music profession?
Jealousy. There is no place for it but it is part of the human condition.
Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
Not really – just try and be rested and calm.
What do you like to do best after a performance?
Be with people I like. Takes some time to relax after a performance so spending time with great people is wonderful.
In your opinion, what would you say are the most important personal attributes needed to be successful in this ‘industry’?
Dedication, discipline, perseverance, the ability to be alone a great deal of the time, innovation, generosity, kindness.
Where would you like to find yourself in 10 years?
Still playing concerts, organising concerts for lots of young people, teaching and coaching and being as helpful to my kids as possible.
What advice would you give to your 10-year-old self?
If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose this career? Why?
Yes, probably because I love music, I love the piano and I love live performance. I think I am fortunate indeed!
How do you think the road looks for the next generation of concert pianists starting their career?
As positive as it did for my generation. There are music lovers everywhere, people who love live music and love to hear great music played well by new performers.
To purchase tickets to Kathryn’s upcoming performances, click here.