Meet the artists
Kristian Bezuidenhout – Director/Keyboards
Our Guest Director for our performances of Bach’s St Matthew Passion next week on touring, playing the keyboard and how to relax after a long day’s work…
When did you live in Queensland?
My parents and I emigrated to the Gold Coast from South Africa in 1988, just before my ninth birthday. I left for New York in 1997.
When performing around the world, do you bring your own instrument?
I try to avoid it, although unfortunately next season my fortepiano, which lives in London, will have to travel to Berlin for a recording session.
Do you have a warm-up routine before your performances?
A long nap with nice dreams …
Do you listen to your own work?
I do but as rarely as possible.
A Dutch reviewer described you as ”Mozart reincarnated”. How did that feel?
It counts as the rarest honour to even be mentioned in the same sentence. Mozart was famously vicious in his estimation of his colleagues so he’d probably have other words but it’s very touching.
What would you say is the best composer for novices wanting an introduction to classical music?
Beethoven – the emotional furor and extremity of his music is uniquely suited.
What was the last album you bought?
Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians recorded by Ensemble Modern and Brad Lubman.
Was it vinyl, CD or iPod?
Right now I’m obsessed with [the digital music service] Spotify.
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?
When I was younger, I was obsessed with anything historical so I probably would have been some kind of XIXth century Russian historian.
But now, to be honest, to really unwind and relax, I read back issues of Elle Decor and World of interiors, I am obsessed with interior design! My brother is an interior designer and together we spend hours looking through magazines and checking out new furniture stores and going to see interiors on display. It relaxes me more than anything!
And also probably the other thing I would love to do if I weren’t involved in music would be a mixologist. I would like to work in a really trendy hipster cocktail bar and just invent cocktails.
What’s the most valuable instrument you have ever played?
My friend’s Ruggieri cello [for the] opening of the Bach G major suite.
You’re on the road travelling regularly. Where is home and how long do you spend there?
A terrace house in Chelsea. If I’m there for more than five days a month, it’s total bliss. As long as I have time to do the laundry.
What’s the first thing you do when you get home?
Depending on the time of day, of course, pour myself a super-chilled gin martini with a twist of lemon.
Any lessons you’ve learned the hard way?
Be careful what you say in interviews!