A Cunning Blog

Long words. Short words. Words that say something.

A walk on the dark side


Much looking forward to the ACO’s upcoming tour with Alina Ibramigova. There’s another micro-feature interview in SMH here.

There are some artists who give great interview. They talk in seemingly unselfconscious soundbites and you just have to nod and listen as you hear the piece writing itself. You come away from the interview feeling like you’ve been let into their most intimate secrets, until you have a little terse chat with yourself and remember that that’s their job and you’re not special.

There are others, like Ibramigova, who, while they are completely lovely and friendly, are unselfconscious in another way. Ibramigova’s answers are to the point. They are thoughtful. But I get the sense that she would rather let her violin do the talking. Which sounds like her approach to directing the ACO, as well. Why talk when you could play?

So here’s a brief but thoughtful bonus q and a.

Gut or steel?


Gut. For string quartets I use open gut half and wound gut the other, but for this I tend to use wound gut strings except for the E which is steel.

Vibrato or no?

Vibrato when you need it. No when you don’t. But no automatic vibrato. Vibrato when it needs to be.

Felix or Fanny?

[Thinks a long time]

Dunno. Very similar, actually. Probably Felix in the end, but Fanny is great. We just played her quartet recently and it’s great. Can I have both?

What do you do when you’re not playing? Do you listen to music?

No. Silence. Yoga. Just being at home. That calms me down the most. Home is London. Just finding my own space, my own rhythm. Those days are very special.

What would you do if you couldn’t play the violin?

I have no idea! That’s all I do these days. I have no time for anything else. It’s realy hard to imagine. I would love to paint. I’ve always wanted to paint. But I still don’t paint.

Alina Ibramigova leads the ACO playing Schubert, Hartmann and more, from 17-26 March 2018. No painting. 

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