“You need intellectual and spiritual nourishment to be a performer” – Mark Padmore, tenor

Mark Padmore 2018 Photo: Marco Borggreve

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

I am one of five siblings and their love of music in all different forms has probably been my biggest influence. My mother had a great love of music although she never learnt an instrument and my father drove me to music lessons and youth orchestra courses. 

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

The last year and a half has been devastating for many musicians and Brexit has been a disaster for the whole profession.

Of which performances/recordings are you most proud?

Having the opportunity to be artist in residence with Berlin Philharmonic and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestras – something that now seems a remote possibility for a young UK based musician.

Which particular works/composers do you think you perform best?

Bach, Schubert and Britten have formed the core of my repertoire. They wrote music I feel I can understand.

What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?

Reading and going to the theatre. You need intellectual and spiritual nourishment to be a performer

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

I have always responded to challenges and most often repertoire chooses me rather than the other way round.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

The church of St Endellion in North Cornwall (where I am Artistic Director of the Summer Music Festival) has been the scene of the most memorable music-making.

What do you feel needs to be done to grow classical music’s audiences?

We could start by persuading the Government not to cut further education in the arts by 50%!

What is your most memorable concert experience?

Death in Venice at the Royal Opera House was a highlight as was Billy Budd at the BBC Proms.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

When you get a sense that you have really captured the attention of the audience and that they love the music as much as you do.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

It is all about quality of attention – notice everything. And be generous.

Mark Padmore performs songs by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schumann, with pianist Imogen Cooper, on 20 July as part of this year’s Petworth Festival. More information here

Mark Padmore is one of our greatest interpreters of Lieder and song. Born in London and an alumnus of King’s College Cambridge, he has established an international career in opera, concert and recital. His appearances in Bach Passions have gained particular notice, especially his renowned performances as the Evangelist in the St Matthew and St John Passions with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle, staged by Peter Sellars. Mark was voted 2016 Vocalist of the Year by Musical America and was appointed CBE in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.


(Photo Credit: Marco Borggreve)